Monday, December 30, 2013

The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend?

The political and ethnic landscape of Caucasus is very complex. On a world map, you see only three countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. But there are also three other "countries" with limited recognition. The map at the lower left is a political map, while the map at the lower right is an ethnic map.

When I read about how the international community responded to these self-declared "countries", I remembered the old proverb "The enemy of my enemy is my friend". But because the relationship is too complicated, too many parties are involved, I decided to make a recognition/non-recognition graph to help myself understand.

From the graph above, we learn:
  • There is no single "principle" that applies to all cases. "Self-determination" and "respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity" are both nice words. But they contradict each other. Any party in the graph that has a blue line and purple line coming out of it is not consistent.
  • While the saying "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is usually true, nothing is black and white, just like interpersonal relationship. Because the U.S. and Turkey are among the first to recognize Kosovo, I put them on the left. Northern Cyprus is basically a Turkey-made product, so it is on the left as well. But the U.S. is in a good relation with Cyprus too. Also, there was a rumor that Turkey and Russia would trade recognition of Northern Cyprus with recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This rumor is denied. But if true, then there would be no clear boundary between the left and the right in this graph.

I do not pretend to be an expert on the politics in Caucasus. The graph is an oversimplified representation. I'm sure the reality is much more intricate than that. As for "countries" with limited recognition, the graph has yet to include Somaliland, Western Sahara, and Palestine. This is merely a product of my interest in making diagram.

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