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There is no acknowledged standard for how and by whom borders should be set.

Reader comment on item: The "Shocking Document" that Shaped the Middle East Turns 100
in response to reader comment: This sound like Left-wing Utopianism

Submitted by Michael S. (United States), May 13, 2016 at 14:35

Daniel,

That is what is so puzzling to me. Westphalian countries definitely need boundaries; they are set in every case by an outside power, and they are always set for some political expedient. Do I need to cite examples?

1. The USA. Our boundaries were originally set by the Peace of Paris in 1783. Obviously, Paris is not in America. Most of the boundary areas were Indian areas, occupied by the Abnakis, Sioux, Creek, etc., and were arbitrarily drawn along rivers and lines of lattitude. The Canadian colonies were separated from the others as a political expedient, to establish a place of refuge for displaced Tories.

2. China. The present PRC boundaries were essentially set in 1959, with the forceful annexation of Tibet. The Uighurs, Tibetans, Mongolians and others are essentially non-Chinese people, and they are divided between China and neighboring countries such as Mongolia and Kazakhstan. Taiwan is also recognized as part of China by most countries; but as a political expedient, it is given de facto recognition. The South China Sea islets are not, but China has occupied them.

3. Russia. Vladivostok is over 4,000 miles from St. Petersburg, about the same as from London to New Delhi. The vast eastern reaches were annexed largely during the 1800s, around the same time that India was annexed to the British Empire. The boundaries of Russia have been drawn and re-drawn many times during the past 100 years; and there are still many conflicts. Many minorities are included in Russia, such as Mongols, Chechens and Ossetians. The Ossetians have been arbitrarily divided between Russia and Georgia, in a state of legal limbo.

4. Israel. Need I say more?

There are no "pure" states. Even the Swazis and Sothos are divided between countries, and they both have states named after them. The "British" are now black, white, brown and yellow, as are the French. French speakers are in Belgium and Switzerland, and Germans in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The world's youngest state, South Sudan, was arbitrarily carved from North Sudan along lines drawn by the British; because other than those lines, there WERE no boundaries other than the points of competing spears. Two major peoples are included in that country, the Nuers and Dinkas, each with languages, religions and DNA that are unique in the world; but there is no satisfactory boundary between the two.

You know that during World War I, the Turks were engaged just as much as the British and French, in a struggle of aggrandizement; yet you've singled out the Christian British and French. The Turks did some dividing and conquering of their own, overriding the Sykes and Picot boundaries. They massacred and drove out the Armenians and Greeks, and subjugated the Kurds. Later, just before World War II, the French puppet Syrians handed over Hatay Province to them, which contained few Turks.

According to UN Resolution 242, Israel was guaranteed "secure, defensible borders". Most of these were settled by subsequent treaties between Israel and its neighbors, Egypt and Jordan; yet no country in the world, including the US, Jordan and Egypt, recognizes these as the boundaries of the Jewish State. If your article is implying that modern-day Sykeses and Picots in Britain and France have no business messing with Israel's borders, I wholeheartedly agree; but neither do the Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians and Lebanese. The strength of Israel's borders lies in the character of the Israeli people who defend them. Without that, there would be no borders and no Israel.


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Reader comments (39) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
In the words of David Ben Gurion when he appeared before the British Peel Commission in Palestine in 1937: [229 words]YJ DraimanAug 15, 2017 01:45240475
It does not get much worse than this! [96 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Stuart SchoenbergerDec 16, 2016 13:05234705
Hilarious [168 words]EvaJun 9, 2016 01:02229895
Nationalism vs. Imperialism [436 words]There is NO Santa ClausMay 17, 2016 08:39229499
1ENOUGH [4 words]1776partIIMay 13, 2016 19:15229454
3This sound like Left-wing Utopianism [384 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Michael SMay 12, 2016 18:46229423
3There is no acknowledged standard for how and by whom borders should be set. [583 words]Michael S.May 13, 2016 14:35229423
Borders are Drawn by Armies [85 words]SAKOVKTMay 16, 2016 13:33229423
I don't advocate any "better" way [292 words]Michael SMay 20, 2016 03:41229423
Creating space for ME Christians [176 words]DaveSMay 12, 2016 10:58229422
advice to the EU [25 words]mythMay 12, 2016 09:35229421
1The Moral of Sykes Pikot [163 words]SuchindranathAiyerSMay 12, 2016 00:48229415
A sane and mature choice [46 words]Michael JacobsMay 11, 2016 04:01229404
1Political and economic sickness is endemic to Islam [111 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Michael SMay 10, 2016 17:43229398
Indeed, you will be dealing with a people who worship God, Fire and the Devil. [323 words]Michael SMay 13, 2016 03:15229398
Thank you for a Breath of Fresh Air and some uncommon colmmon sense on this subject [243 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Phebe AdamsMay 10, 2016 16:09229397
hurrah no one else remmebered sykes picot ... [145 words]oded yinonMay 10, 2016 10:19229392
Adults? You mean Israel? [85 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Fran├žois GravelMay 10, 2016 06:31229390
racist? .. no .. [184 words]Anne JulienneMay 13, 2016 00:25229390
'Perfidity"? [381 words]SAKOVKTMay 10, 2016 06:25229389
Berlin Conference 1884 [264 words]SAKOVKTMay 13, 2016 11:48229389
I agree, so does ISIS [50 words]MikeMay 10, 2016 03:01229388
McMahon letters [191 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Avinoam Ben DorMay 10, 2016 02:13229387
and your point? [80 words]Anne JulienneMay 13, 2016 00:09229387
6You mean the Muslims weren't paranoid before it? [614 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
UNCLE VLADDIMay 9, 2016 23:57229386
1Correction [93 words]DajjalMay 13, 2016 19:11229386
why not work together? [250 words]Anne JulienneMay 9, 2016 22:31229384
Israel [49 words]ConradMay 9, 2016 14:23229378
Blame Local Hatred, Not Sykes-Picot [253 words]DaveMay 9, 2016 14:02229377
A short synopsis of Jewish History and the Arab Israeli conflict r6 [1320 words]YJ DraimanMay 9, 2016 12:43229375
The sick region [52 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
PezDispenserMay 9, 2016 12:13229374
Don't allow a torch in an anthill [99 words]PhiliorMay 9, 2016 11:50229373
The Sykes-Picot Myth [260 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Gideon RemezMay 9, 2016 11:21229372
Sykes-Picot [241 words]Martin SchaffelMay 9, 2016 11:17229371
What about the treaties of Sevres 1920 and Lausanne 1923 and the League of Nations mandates? [609 words]Daniel BamfordMay 9, 2016 10:52229369
The Faisal Weizmann Agreement of January 3, 1919 [64 words]YJ DraimanMay 13, 2016 16:32229369
1A Deeper Cause [272 words]Ron ThompsonMay 9, 2016 10:05229367
Off topic [79 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
ECAWMay 9, 2016 08:54229366
1SO, SUBJECTIVE OPINIONS TRUMP OBJECTIVE FACTS?! [21 words]UNCLE VLADDIMay 13, 2016 18:05229366

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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