Sorites paradox: illegal territorial acquisition & recognition

Aug 2013
613
Pomerium
#1
Suppose there's a country called Xyz (where the population self-identify as Xyzans); a country called Big (where the population self-identify as Bigese) conquers and annexes Xyz -

after how many years of Bigese annexation of Xyz and what percentage of the population in Xyz (if still called Xyz) self-identifies as Bigese, should Xyz be recognized as an integral part of Big?

1 decade and less than 10%? Too soon and too small for the impartial and disinterested. ‎
5 decades and less than 25%? Probably not long enough and not high enough. ‎
1 century and more than 50%? Still no enough?
5 centuries and more than 75%? Come on!
1 millennium and close to 100%? A no-brainer?
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,453
Portugal
#2
Suppose there's a country called Xyz (where the population self-identify as Xyzans); a country called Big (where the population self-identify as Bigese) conquers and annexes Xyz -

after how many years of Bigese annexation of Xyz and what percentage of the population in Xyz (if still called Xyz) self-identifies as Bigese, should Xyz be recognized as an integral part of Big?

1 decade and less than 10%? Too soon and too small for the impartial and disinterested. ‎
5 decades and less than 25%? Probably not long enough and not high enough. ‎
1 century and more than 50%? Still no enough?
5 centuries and more than 75%? Come on!
1 millennium and close to 100%? A no-brainer?
I think that there are not enough laws written to answer that. Besides, international laws don’t mean nothing if there is no force that can sustain them.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,930
Dispargum
#3
The UN recognizes the principle of self-determination. Time has nothing to do with it. It's strictly about the democratic principle of the majority. Whenever more than 50% of Xyzers say they wish to be part of Big, then that's the end of the debate.
 
Jun 2016
1,831
England, 200 yards from Wales
#5
The UN recognizes the principle of self-determination. Time has nothing to do with it. It's strictly about the democratic principle of the majority. Whenever more than 50% of Xyzers say they wish to be part of Big, then that's the end of the debate.
So if the Bigese evict 51% of Xyzans and replace them with their own people the place is officially their own?
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,930
Dispargum
#6
I can only define self-determination. Tullius was right about international law meaning nothing without force to back it up.

Ethnic cleansing is something completely different than self-determination. If Bigese evict Xyzers, that doesn't change the wishes of the Xyzers. People have a self. Real estate does not. It's not the land that gets to choose which country controls it. People have the right to decide. Of course, people only have the rights they can defend.

I assumed that when I said UN everyone understood I was talking about an impotent organization. Maybe I shouldn't have assumed.
 
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Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,937
Korea
#7
The underlying problem with this question is the problem of property. People, as individuals, want to feel like they "own" things, not in the weak sense of, "If anyone tries to take this from me, I'll fight them off," but in a stronger sense of, "I have a genuine entitlement to this, and anyone trying to deprive me of it is automatically in the wrong." This intuition is more or less illusionary, and said illusion is strengthened and reinforced by our lifestyle, wherein society at large acts so as to support and validate the intuition in question through law, court action, and so forth. It is no surprise, then, when people who live in the thrall of that intuition try to apply it to entire countries as well, but the factors that keep individuals in check when they ignore the consensus about "ownership" are much weaker at keeping entire countries in check when they do the same.

The government of Xyz has no intrinsic right to govern any territory at all, nor does the government of Big. If Big has both the capability and will to conquer Xyz, the people of Xyz lack the capability to resist, and no other government in the world is willing to stand up and interfere, then Xyz is likely to become a part of Big in perpetuity. Those are the facts of the situation, and while an individual can say, "I don't think Xyz should be a part of Big," that's really little more than personal opinion, as weak as, "I don't think Crimea should be a part of Russia," or, "I don't think Tibet should be a part of China," or so forth. Some such opinions are based on compassion (occupations are often cruel and brutal), some are based on principles (people believing in something like self-determination), and some, especially those espoused by other governments, will be based on perceived interests. Yet the question, "Who should govern that land," still ends up with no real, objective answer; even the answer, "Whoever can hold it," ascribes a degree of normativity where none seems to exist. And nothing about the amount of time passed seems to change any of these facts, beyond perhaps lessening the degree to which individual people might object to Big's annexation of Xyz.

Personally speaking, I fall into the "compassion" camp: I'm far more concerned with human welfare than with abstract country boundaries. In a case like Crimea, where Russia managed to annex it in a fairly smooth, painless fashion, I don't take much issue. I would put this concern far above concerns regarding sovereignty, and even above concerns regarding self-determination. The people of the American South at one point attempted to exercise their self-determination, and their failure in this regard was probably the more conducive result to human welfare in the long term, so I view their failure favorably, despite the fact that it means opposing self-determination as a principle. But even then, this is my view on the matter, which arises from the peculiarities of my own essence, and is not universally normative.
 

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