The Next 10 Countries: The World's Most Likely New Nations
In the coming years, we may see some of the nations-in-waiting move from the farm leagues to the big time, and hopefully with less loss of life than we’ve seen in the past.
Transnistria has operated as an unrecognized state within Moldova with tacit Russian support, and has become an infamous hub for arms and human trafficking sometimes dubbed a ‘Mafia state’.
The major argument against recognizing Somaliland for many in the international community has been that recognition of an independent Somaliland would further devastate Somalia’s efforts at organizing a functioning state.
Looking for a quiet, never changing job? In recent history, barring tectonic shifts in global politics, internationally recognized states rarely come into (or out of) existence and therefore the world map has stayed relatively unchanged. While cartography is seemingly the most consistent (read: boring) occupation as of late, maps aren't always that quiet.
The two World Wars, decolonization, and the fall of the Soviet Union are examples of events that have altered world politics, and at the time, kept cartographers scrambling to keep up with ever-shifting borders. We appear to be witnessing two similarly important (though smaller scaled) phenomena – the localization of Europe, and the ‘unthawing’ of states frozen in the aftermath of the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.
With the expansion of the European Union and the maturation of its institutions, nations within member states that have held on to historic ties with their parent states are finding incentives to seek autonomy. These rewards include retention of economic and political benefits of E.U. membership, while attaining greater sovereignty and, consequently, more control on internal affairs such as taxes, education, and localized government.
Post-Soviet frozen states have operated in a de-facto pariah status since the early 1990s, making little headway toward international recognition, receiving only tacit support from Russia. However the declaration of independence of Kosovo from Serbia in 2008 caused an abrupt change in Russian foreign policy, serving as pretext for war in Georgia the same year, and for the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the continued Russian support of the rebellion in Ukraine presently. Russia’s endgame remains unclear but looks to potentially result in the ascension of several newly independent states to the world stage.
Some independence struggles such as those in Tibet and Palestine have achieved constant worldwide recognition and media support, yet difficult political circumstances have rendered them ineffective in their goals, decade after decade. However, less geopolitically significant independence struggles have come to fruition, as we have seen in the past decades with Timor Leste and South Sudan.
In the coming years, we may see some of these nations-in-waiting move from the farm leagues to the big time, and hopefully with less loss of life than we’ve seen in the past.