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Whose Interests Do International Borders Serve?: Left of Center View

Whose interests do international borders serve? Well like most things it all depends on who put Ďem there and why. There are some borders that make a lot of sense and are beneficial and then there are others that are simply ridiculous.

Good rule of thumb when it comes to international borders: if the guy who drew the border hasnít ever actually lived in the area, 9 times out of 10 the border will be in the wrong place. Borders made by map and empire makers tend to ignore the natural and social borders that are already in place. International borders that split tribes or cities in half are a great example of this. This isnít just something that happens in the Congo, literally, either. ďIch Bin Ein BerlinerĒ.

There are however some borders that make sense. These are usually borders that are negotiated for any by the countries that are directly affected by them. These usually come about by war, but at least they come at the end of the war, unless of course they were the cause of the war and or continued hostilities. The Gaza Strip / Israel dispute for example. It doesnít really matter where the border is placed, someone will be upset about it. Really, really, take up arms upset, which means that in addition to being a border, it also has to be fortified.

Which brings us to the mother of all borders; the 38th parallel north the DMZ. A border that is 160 miles long and 2.5 miles wide the most heavily fortified border in the world and splits Korea into two very different nations. This is in addition to the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border separating the two Koreas, the exact location and fairness of which is also heavily disputed. Artillery, torpedo fire disputed. And even though this is the line that in essence defines many Koreans, they, the Koreans had very little to do with the borders actually placement, that was done by the U.S. and U.S.S.R. at the end of WWII beginning of the Cold War.

So who exactly do these international borders serve? Nobody and everybody. The world needs borders to function and no matter how close they are, they will never be perfect. Somebody will always have a problem with where the border is Ė itís just human nature to see that greener grass on the other side of the fence. The only thing we can hope for, is that since they arenít literally etched in stone, as the world evolves so too will the borders that define her human population.

Thanks for listening,

Bill


Berkeley Bill - California | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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Whose Interests Do International Borders Serve?: Right of Center View

Truth be told, Iím not sure about all borders but some of them serve you and me pretty well most of the time. The people of South Korea probably think their border to the north serves them fairly well also. With the crazy Kims running things in North Korea it seems to me that anything that keeps them out of South Korea is good for South Korea. The sad thing is that even with the best of borders one crazy can mess up the whole region and end up negating all the good the borders ever did.

They say that good fences make for good neighbors and I would tend to agree with that. Our border with Mexico is in a bad state of repair and we have some bad neighbors coming in from Mexico every day selling drugs and committing crimes. Perhaps if our fences were in a little better shape we could devote our law enforcement dollars to dealing with our own criminals and Mexico could deal with theirs. In the case of the Mexican-American border, the poorly maintained border serves the interests of the drug cartels who can come over here, wreak havoc and then scurry like little cockroaches back across the border to Mexico where we canít touch them.

So I guess the short answer is that borders serve different people at different times and how well the border is maintained often is the determining factor of how well it serves decent, hard-working folks like you and me. Until recently the border between North and South Korea has kept the peace for decades keeping our soldiers from having to go back there by the boatload and fight another war to protect our allies from an aggressive neighbor. Now with North Korea testing the border it seems we might be headed toward a fight where we have to re-establish the border but overall that border has served us well for over 50 years.

The Canadian border has served us pretty well for years but the Mexican border is a bit of a problem. It comes down to how well you guard the fences and gates and whether or not people on both sides follow the rules. Itís hard to say in a general sense whose interests borders serve because not all borders were created equal. Some do a lot more than others and some do pretty much nothing at all. At the end of the day I would say that our borders serve us all as well as they can be expected to given what resources we devote to maintaining them. You kind of get what you pay for when it comes to borders.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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