In recent weeks, there has been a good deal of extended and sometimes heated comment on this blog about political, military, and international affairs. Today, I am going to pose a question and invite responses. Let me say two things at the outset. First, this is a serious question, not a rhetorical question assuming an answer. Second, I am going to tip my hand by saying that I do not think there actually is a defensible answer to the question. The question sounds perfectly comprehensible, and much of the commentary here seems to presuppose one answer or another to it, but in fact I do not think the question has an answer, and that fact is extremely important for the sorts of discussions we have been having.
Before I pose the question, I will tell you that tomorrow morning, before dawn, I shall leave for an overnight trip to Amherst, Massachusetts. The occasion is a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the doctoral program in Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, a program that, as many of you know, I played a role in establishing and running for its first twelve years. I shall return to Chapel Hill early Saturday afternoon, at which point I shall respond to whatever comments this question has elicited.
Here is the question: What, in your view, is the appropriate, or right, or justifiable, or progressive, or suitable or defensible shape of the world order? What ought the borders of nations be? Which nations ought to come into existence or go out of existence or continue to exist?
Should Tibet be a part of China or an independent nation? Should the former Soviet Socialist Republics be reincorporated into Russia or not, or perhaps should some of them be reincorporated and others not? Should the Czech Republic and Slovakia be reunited? Should Hawaii and Alaska be states of the United States or not? What about Texas? The states formed from the Louisiana Purchase? Should the lands of the Native American nations be separated out from the United States? Should the Middle Eastern nations created at the end of World War I continue to exist with their current borders? Should the Kurds have their own nation? What about the Zulu? The Xhosa?
Should these matters be decided by the United Nations? By the General Assembly or by the Security Council? Should each nation have its own military forces and be responsible for their size, maintenance, and use, or should there be a world military force superseding national forces? If these matters should be decided by the United Nations [or some other world body], who should have a seat on that body? All the present members? All the present members plus the Kurds? The Palestinians? The Arapahoe? The Chechens?
I am quite serious about this question, and I urge you to try to answer it, from whatever ideological or geopolitical perspective you wish. Obviously, none of us has the slightest capacity to actually change the world order, so the question is for that reason purely hypothetical. But some answer or other clearly underlies the comments that have been posted lately on this blog, so consider this an invitation to bring your implicit answers into the open.