Superstates

Chirol’s previous post on the dynamic between nation and state reminds me of this map from Strange Maps.

Although drafted recently by a Russian nationalist Mikhail Yuryevas a work of fiction in his book Third Empire, the belief that the world was heading towards political consolidation similar to this map was widely believed 30 to 50 years ago. With the Soviet Union, a unified India, growing European cooperation and talk of an African Union, many believed that “superstates” were the wave of the future. Today, with the grow of ethnic nationalism over state nationalism the opposite trend is in effect. But the back-and-forth between the nation and the state will continue to flucutate, and the future may someday see a return to great state conflicts and eventually superstates.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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7 Responses to Superstates

  1. Adrian says:

    Looks kind of like Sam Huntington’s map in Clash of Civilizations. Also like George Orwell’s world in 1984.

  2. This misses the key things. The major distinctions are not so geographically determined by continguity. Within Western Civilization there is the common law world and the civil law world. In other words, there is the Anglosphere, which is North America, Australia, NZ, Britain, and outlying smaller locales. Then there is Europe and a few offshore dependencies. Eastern (orthodox) Europe is Russia and a few outlying areas. Then there is Ibero-America. There is Islam, a civilization with a distinct geographic zone. Subsaharan Africa is a marchland. There are India, Japan and China — each a civilization. Then there is the rest of Asia, a grab bag. Huntington was pretty much on the money as far as how the world breaks down into zones. The key geopolitical fact of the 21st century may be that the educated classes of India speak English.

    I don’t think we will have superstates. We will have aggregations of smaller units, with delegated powers for defense and security at the higher level.

  3. That is serious Russian wishful thinking for the “Russian Empire” to stretch from Land’s End in England to Vladivostok. I can’t imagine that happening, or having happened, without a lot of factors being completely reversed.

  4. nospam says:

    Reminds me of the Game of Risk.

  5. My version of that would have Russia’s empire stretching from Vladivostok to Vladivostok :D

  6. j voldal says:

    That map is rediculous, none of its lines are even close to whats happening or likely to happen in current union formation.

    This statement is also problematic:
    “Today, with the grow of ethnic nationalism over state nationalism the opposite trend is in effect.”

    While there are trends toward traditional states breaking up/giving way to autonomous regions, this is in direct parallel (sometimes in mutual support) with the trend toward loose econo-political unions. “loose” in comparison to empires or nation-states, but tighter than the UN, WTO, or even the British Commonwealth.

    These new unions are really a new development. the nearest precursors would be the Hanseatic or Hellenic leagues, both of which were loose unions of free city-states, nothing like the scale or power of these new regional unions.

  7. folks, you are missing the point “whats happening or likely to happen in current union formation”. This guy’s novel is about a 3 way world war between America, Russia and China that results in this setup (e.g. with China conquering Australia and Russia Europe). More specifically, it is about a world some time after the world war which showcases his pet theories about the “truly Russian” way to setup a totalitarian regime.

    Fiction about a coming nuclear war, invariably with Russia fighting and (to various degrees) defeating America is common nowadays in Russia. This particular novel, as you can see on the map, is quite charitable in this regard.