Thu Nov 30th, 2006 at 04:41:28 AM EST
I've been thinking about the possible impact of Scottish independence for a while now, and I've come to the conclusion that a Europe of the nations would have consinderably more flags than the current set. Very few member states of the EU are not suspectible to fracture by active European automonous movements. So I started to map out what a Europe where stateless nations were given independence would look like. The Europe of the 25 ballons to 75+. Here's what it looks like.
From the diaries - whataboutbob
From the United Kingdom are born Scotland, Orkneys, Shetlands, Isle of Man, Wales, England, Cornwall, and a united Ireland.
From Spain come a rump Spain centered on Madrid, Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Basque Country, Navarre, Aragon, Cataluna, Valencia, the Balearics, Andalucia, and the Canaries.
France fairs much better losing only Brittany, Normandy, Alsac-Lorraine, and Corsica. Leaving what remains of France the largest country on the continent.
Germany disunites, the federal states going their own ways.
Belgium splits in three parts, Wallonia, Flanders, and the free city of Brussels.
In Italy, Venice is a state once more, along with Padania, Aostia, Sud Tirol, Fruilla-Venezia, the Latin Republic centered on Rome, the Napolitan Republic centered on Naples, Siciliy, and Sardinia.
Even the Sami get their own state.
While this is all interesting we have to ask, does this make any sense? Will the states of Europe sit by idly while they are dismembered from within? Yet, before we dismiss the posibility out of hand, let's consider the impact of Scots indepenence. If the Scots have their way, what of the Welsh, Basques, and Catalans.
Very real nationalist movements exert political power in Europe. And others that we take less seriously like Padania might be empowered in an enviromenment where the European state system is disinentegrating.
At the same time, if the European national states disentegrate even more of the functions of the national state will have to rise to the European Union. While Europe faces few external threats, it will dissappear from the world stage as a player if it has no military power. By what right should a England sit on the Security council? And who gets the nuclear weapons?
Only the European Union can step into the vacuum. So as the structures of the nation state collapse, a United Europe rises from the debri. The world's leading economy, and a near peer to the United States militarily. In the end Europe is able to exercise far more power as a whole at far less cost than when the states of Europe duplicated their efforts.
In the long term everyone just might be better off, but in the short term what's the cost in blood and treasure. Will the UK allow Scotland to leave peacefully, or would they occupy Scotland and end Scots home rule? When the Basques proposed an indpedence referendum in 2005, polls showed 54% of Spanish favored a military occupation of the province if the local government made an effort to hold a poll. And the limited yet significant violence by Scots and Welsh nationalists against "white settlers", English who made homes in Scotland and Wales, is disturbing.
It is reminiscent of the ethnic terror let loose on Irish Protestants during the 1910's and 1920's. Through intimidation, discrimination, and assimiliation the Protestant population of the Republic of Ireland has declined by more than half since seperate figure for the South and North became available.
In the long run, Europe might be better off with 75 states instead of 25, but in the short term that might carry high costs. And once tribal warfare of the type that devolution by revolution of the sort we're looking at from a cascade inititiated by Scots independence is let loose, can it be put back into the bottle? Or will Europe divide into hostile blocs without an external threat to unite the Continent?