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"Libanization" and "Balkanization" as Indicative Notions for Similar State Boundaries' Shifting Process


Associate Professor Vladimir Chukov, Ph D


    A boundary establishment process is explicitly related to the politogenese of the appropriate State. The matter in question depends from a multitude of complex factors. One of them is the majority's religious confession. Its conceptual outlook for territorial integrity and State sovereignty is one of the leading components of the process bearing in mind the internal contradiction of the religion itself (schismatic movements, heresies, sectarian deviations, main denominations, etc…). Sometimes, a religious specificity combined with grim geomorphologic factors (mountain relief, lack of water reserves, rigorous climate, etc…) and ethnic heterogeneity provoke exceptions within a framework of the well known State building process, which is characteristic of the three big monotheistic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism).

    The Southeast Europe (Balkans) and the Middle East are neighboring regions with similar social "tectonic" activities concerning the State boundary establishing process despite both of them belong to different civilization and religious blocs. We may summarize the following common elements for the existence of non-interrupted boundary shifting process:

  1. "Eastern" outlook and characteristics for State building process and Statehood tradition due to the fact that both the Balkans and the Middle East were part of the immense Ottoman State during 4-5 centuries. The Turk Ottoman type of bureaucracy and public law logic impacted on the reestablished National State mechanisms including the manner to draft the boundaries.


  2. "Ethnization" of the boundary outlines' perceptions is provoked by the existence of the so-called "resistant pockets" within the Islamic Middle East monolith (Christian and Jewish exceptions) and the Christian Balkans with Islamic enclaves (jouib islamie) with military or urban origin. They generate the most important internal clashes. So, often the internal functioning "ethnic" borders are pushed towards external political, internationally non-recognized ones through breaking down the international law standards.


  3. Unstable degree of social, psychological, demographic and political admissibility between the main dominating religious denominations within the both regions. As a whole, the Orthodox Christianity remains strongly decentralized and does not succeed to build a leading center recognized without conditions by all Orthodox Churches in the instance of Catholic Vatican. So, it creates aggressive nationalism fed by nostalgia for dismantled Empire (Yugoslavia, Greece, etc…). In the Middle East we witness another type of discrepancy. The local Muslim "Protestants", the Shiites inherited the implanted nihilistic and obstructionist instinct from the past and adopted permanently reflexive opposition behaviour towards the newly founded Jewish State. Thus, the minority denominations on the international level, which are involved in the local religious coexistence within the both regions (Middle East - Shiites, Balkans - Christians Orthodox) became permanent sources of tension and revision of the drafted after the Second World War political boundaries. They elaborated and implemented specific Statehood models, which are based predominantly on the "ethnic" or "political nation" concept.

    Thus, " Libanization" and "Balkanization" are symptomatic terminological notions issued from the Political Geography field. They suggest similar internal social backgrounds and external political processes including the boundary establishing and shifting processes.