Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 24 Nov '10 11:05
    It is now more than fifteen years since these two territories became de facto independent from Georgia, albeit with heavy Russian influence. However, they are recognised only by a handful of states. Do they have a case for self-determination? Should the world move to recognise their independence?
  2. 24 Nov '10 12:09
    They should organize referendums on whether the people there want independence and then the world should respect the result.
  3. 24 Nov '10 12:24 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    They should organize referendums on whether the people there want independence and then the world should respect the result.
    "The people there" is a problematic concept though. A lot of Georgians were driven out during the wars after the fall of the Soviet Union; and as I recall, they actually constituted the majority in Abkhazia beforehand.
  4. 24 Nov '10 12:57
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    "The people there" is a problematic concept though. A lot of Georgians were driven out during the wars after the fall of the Soviet Union; and as I recall, they actually constituted the majority in Abkhazia beforehand.
    The people who are currently living within the borders. A hundred years ago a lot of Germans were living in what is now Poland but they hardly have (or should have) a say on Polish matters, do they?
  5. 24 Nov '10 13:15
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    The people who are currently living within the borders. A hundred years ago a lot of Germans were living in what is now Poland but they hardly have (or should have) a say on Polish matters, do they?
    Doesn't that mean that the Abkhaz are being rewarded for an act of violence? Also, a hundred years is different from fifteen years; and the postwar German government made strenuous efforts to resettle the Baltic Germans and to compensation them for their loss.
  6. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    24 Nov '10 20:47
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    It is now more than fifteen years since these two territories became de facto independent from Georgia, albeit with heavy Russian influence. However, they are recognised only by a handful of states. Do they have a case for self-determination? Should the world move to recognise their independence?
    There is absolutely no way to rationally decide what should or should not be a country. All countries in the world are the result of accidental/deliberate combinations of geography, war, culture, and politics. Boundaries are completely arbitrary in most cases. A country persists solely due to the military presence it can muster to defend itself.

    No country has an inherent or natural "right" to exist. Some countries like France and Kuwait are reinstated by other nations after they have been abolished. Some others like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, East Germany, and the Confederate States of America are not. Reinstatement is not related to a universal right granted and defended by all other nations -- but simply according to the mood and politics of surrounding nations.

    There are, though, conditions the world should not tolerate -- for example when all of the people cannot vote, or when some of the people cannot vote. Examples of the first category would be North Korea, Burma, and Zimbabwe. Examples of the second would be former South Africa and the Palestinian territories.

    As far as I know, Georgians in Ossetia, Serbs in Kosovo, and Tamils in Sri Lanka are able to vote. Therefore the world should take no action of any kind on the basis of people's desire to have/not have a separate country -- regardless of how any of those conflicts have ended/will end. The only thing outside nations should do is check each other and prevent each other from tampering in civil wars. Civil wars should be fought without any outside interference -- outside interference only prolongs the agony.

    Russia should therefore be threatened by other nations not to send troops into South Ossetia (arms and supplies: OK). If the South Ossetians can fight and win their independence given the right tools -- then so be it. If not, as long as they have the same rights as any other Georgian, they have nothing to appeal.

    But when people are deprived of their rights, that is a totally different situation. In ALL such cases, the world has an immediate obligation to take strong direct action, including sending troops as needed: for example against North Korea, Burma, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, China, Zimbabwe, Libya, Pakistan, and Israel.

    ===

    You might say, so by what right does America send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan? That's simple. In both cases, people were being deprived of their rights -- In Iraq by Sadam Hussein, in Afghanistan by the Taliban. America had not only the right but the obligation to intervene. So did every other democratic nation.
  7. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    24 Nov '10 21:42
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    It is now more than fifteen years since these two territories became de facto independent from Georgia, albeit with heavy Russian influence. However, they are recognised only by a handful of states. Do they have a case for self-determination? Should the world move to recognise their independence?
    I'm sure everyone who believes Israel belongs to the Jews because of history will agree that South Ossetia and Abkhazia should be given to the Mongols.
  8. 24 Nov '10 23:01
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    The world should take no action of any kind on the basis of people's desire to have/not have a separate country -- regardless of how any of those conflicts have ended/will end. The only thing outside nations should do is check each other and prevent each other from tampering in civil wars. Civil wars should be fought without any outside interference -- ...[text shortened]... f not, as long as they have the same rights as any other Georgian, they have nothing to appeal.
    Interesting post, and I agree with your basic premise - borders are basically arbitrary. However you kind of imply that there's a continuing civil war in Georgia, and this is only kind of true; fighting has been sporadic, small-scale and confined to a small number of localities since the mid-1990s; the upsurge in 2008 affected Ossetia but not Abkhazia; and indeed Abkhazia, as I understand it, has sustained most of the institutions of a functioning state for more than fifteen years. So in a way, it is not true to say that Abkhazia already has staged and won its revolution?
  9. 24 Nov '10 23:15
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    Doesn't that mean that the Abkhaz are being rewarded for an act of violence? Also, a hundred years is different from fifteen years; and the postwar German government made strenuous efforts to resettle the Baltic Germans and to compensation them for their loss.
    In general I would say that as long as people's rights are not violated I don't really care about country borders. People who have been treated unjustly in the recent past should be compensated.
  10. 24 Nov '10 23:29
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    There is absolutely no way to rationally decide what should or should not be a country. All countries in the world are the result of accidental/deliberate combinations of geography, war, culture, and politics. Boundaries are completely arbitrary in most cases. A country persists solely due to the military presence it can muster to defend itself. No country has an inherent or natural "right" to exist.
    OK, so these two territorities are no more or less arbitrary than any others. But the question asked if "we" (ie, the rest of the world) should give them official recognition, and this is a political and moral decision, based on whether we feel that they deserve, at this stage, to be given legitimacy.
  11. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    25 Nov '10 01:20
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    There is absolutely no way to rationally decide what should or should not be a country. All countries in the world are the result of accidental/deliberate combinations of geography, war, culture, and politics. Boundaries are completely arbitrary in most cases. A country persists solely due to the military presence it can muster to defend itself.

    No c ...[text shortened]... ad not only the right but the obligation to intervene. So did every other democratic nation.
    The idea that any "democratic nation" can attack any nation it deems is violating its own people's rights thus inflicting massive amounts death and destruction on the unwilling populace (for their own good apparently) is demented. It is a principle that does not exist and is indeed contradictory to long established international law.
  12. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    25 Nov '10 02:32
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    The people who are currently living within the borders. A hundred years ago a lot of Germans were living in what is now Poland but they hardly have (or should have) a say on Polish matters, do they?
    What about ethic Germans who are Polish citizens?
  13. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    25 Nov '10 02:34
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    I'm sure everyone who believes Israel belongs to the Jews because of history will agree that South Ossetia and Abkhazia should be given to the Mongols.
    Mongols have Mongolia. It's not an analogous situation.
  14. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    25 Nov '10 07:43 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    The idea that any "democratic nation" can attack any nation it deems is violating its own people's rights thus inflicting massive amounts death and destruction on the unwilling populace (for their own good apparently) is demented. It is a principle that does not exist and is indeed contradictory to long established international law.
    Show me where under "long-established international law" a dictator can legally murder, torture, and degrade his people -- and in addition deprive them of every one of those "natural rights" that you and Locke love to warble on about.

    And then I will show you where "long-established international law" is an ass.

    Don't pretend to be naive. Our system of governing international relations is primitive at best. Perhaps in 200-300 years after one or two more World Wars (and once the UN is a democratic institution) we can begin talking about respecting that toothless, senile institution you refer to as "long-established international law" -- as if that thing was currently worth more than a warm bucket of spit.
  15. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    25 Nov '10 07:54
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    Interesting post, and I agree with your basic premise - borders are basically arbitrary. However you kind of imply that there's a continuing civil war in Georgia, and this is only kind of true; fighting has been sporadic, small-scale and confined to a small number of localities since the mid-1990s; the upsurge in 2008 affected Ossetia but not Abkhazia; and ...[text shortened]... rs. So in a way, it is not true to say that Abkhazia already has staged and won its revolution?
    The only thing worse than a civil war is a "kind of" civil war.

    "To be in hell is to drift; to be in heaven is to steer." George Bernard Shaw

    If either Abkhazia or Ossetia can hold off the Georgians indefinitely, establish a border, and impose at least a defacto stalemate without outside troops, then yes, they should be recognized as a new nation. I'm not sure how many existing nations need to recognize them -- perhaps a UN vote WITHOUT a Security Council veto (for all that's worth; but we have nothing else). Once recognized, the Georgians would be told to back off.