How to Create a Country

There’s no one definition to what makes
something a country. What decides if a country is a country essentially is whether or not
other countries agree that the country is indeed a country. For this reason, counts
of the number of countries in the world range from 189-196. Each country decides which other
countries they recognize. If 100 UN member states suddenly recognized your basement as
it’s own country then it generally would be accepted that your basement is it’s own
country. There are, however, a number of steps that any prospective country founder needs
to take if they want to have any shot at gaining international recognition. Make a Claim
The first thing any one needs to begin creating a country is a piece of land. One way to get
it is to steal it. Of course, this involves having enough guns to defend your territory.
This would also be problematic for when your country gets to the stage where it’s legitimacy
is reviewed by other nations, but this method has worked before. The easier method is to
claim unclaimed land. However, with the advent of satellite imaging and modern cartography
there really are no islands or large pieces of territory that are not known. Despite this,
there is a small number of places not governed or claimed by any recognized government. One
of the better known recent claims happened in an area unclaimed by both Croatia and Serbia
along the Danube river, the border between the two countries. This micronation, known
as Liberland, has not received any international recognition and has been denounced by a number
of nations, but it still affirms it’s legitimacy based off the lack of previous claim to it’s
land. Its land is actually 17 times larger than the land of the smallest recognized country,
the Vatican. Serbia did agree that Liberland did not infringe upon it’s territory, but
also dismissed the endeavor as “frivolous.” Other new nations have had more success at
international recognition. Most of these are partially recognized nations that split away
from a more recognized state with the backing of the people within the territory. An example
of this is South Ossetia, which split away from Georgia in 1990 and currently is recognized
by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru. Probably the best known and most hotly contested
recently formed nation is the State of Palestine. 136 nations recognize the Palestine and in
2012 it was designated by the United Nations as a “non-member observer state.” One
other option for unclaimed land is Antartica. A large section of land known as the Marie
Byrd land has not been claimed by any recognized nation. One issue with this option is the
United Nations’s “Antartica Treaty” which states that “No new claim, or enlargement
of an existing claim, to territorial sovereignty shall be asserted while the present Treaty
is in force.” There are claims that pre-exist this treaty by seven different nations, although
the legitimacy of these claims is disputed given the treaty. In addition to the Antarctic
Treaty issue, establishing a sovereign nation in Antartica would be difficult because of
the next step in the process. Establish a permanent population
A nation is created to serve it’s people, and without people there is no nation. Antartica
has no permanent population. There are always people in Antartica, but these people do not
constitute a permanent population because they are primarily there for research or tourism
and none stay in Antartica for more than a few years. Interestingly 11 babies have been
born in Antartica, but they generally have taken the citizenship of their parents’s country.
A permanent population is one of the most basic qualifiers for statehood. A sustainable
independent nation would be near impossible in Antartica. Any settlement would have no
real economy and no way to naturally produce food. However, there are talks of Antartica
having oil and, if this is the case, a sovereign and potentially prosperous nation could be
established in the hostile environment, much like the United Arab Emirates. Similar to
the dozens of Antarctic micronation claims, Liberland struggles with a lack of permanent
population. The founder’s attempts to re-enter the territory have been blocked by both Serbia
and Croatia. At this point, it seems unlikely that a permanent population will be established
in the near future and for this reason the future of Liberland is bleak. 3) Form a Government
A well formed government is probably the most important aspect dictating the success of
your new country. There are tons of forms of government, but considering you’re forming
this country in the 21st century you’re likely to base the government on John Locke’s
principles of government. Locke’s principles essentially say that, in nature, everybody
has the right to “Life, health, Liberty, or Possessions.” You might notice a similarity
between this and another famous document. According to Locke, in a natural society,
that is without a government, these rights are not protected because there is no higher
power to do so, so in exchange for taking away a part of these rights, for example liberty
when imprisoned or property when taxed, the government acts to protect the very same rights.
Locke also states that government only works when there is a common belief in the abstract
idea or illusion of government, and therefore a government can only really exist when the
people are behind it. This is the reason that autocratic or absolutist governments rarely
work in modern society. So now keeping these principles in mind, you need a constitution.
Every single recognized country in the world either has a constitution, or some substitution
to it. This is not a complicated process, so I won’t go into too much detail, but
essentially any country must have a set of laws, principles, and entities that make up
the country and the constitution works to define and specify these. 4) Gain International Recognition
This is where all you work comes under scrutiny. Gaining international recognition is by far
the most difficult step in the country creating process. It takes potentially hundreds of
years for new countries to be fully or near fully recognized. Chances are that, unless
you have overwhelming backing from the people within your country, a good reason for the
establishment of your new nation, absolutely undisputed territory, and a well-balanced
democratic government, you won’t be recognized by any UN member states. The chances of a
new well recognized nation outside of Africa or the Balkans is unlikely. The governments
are too well-established or stable outside of these areas. The final step to gain undisputed
recognition is to be admitted to the United Nations. Any application is reviewed by the
security council—composed of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, and a rotating group
of 10 others. If 10 of the 15 vote in favor of your country, congratulations, you’ve
just joined the United Nations! By most metrics, you’re now a country. Of course, other United
Nations members still can fail to recognize you,and there are plenty of UN member states
that are not fully recognized, however that’s a topic for another time. So good luck with
your new country, thanks for watching, and see you next time.

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