Top Lists created an interesting video, wherein it gives its verdict on which 10 countries may not survive the next two decades. This piece will attempt to examine the validity of its argument.
It should be noted that Top Lists does not seem to differentiate between events that could cause the end of a nation as it stands, and events that would only cause the overthrow of a government. These two are very different scenarios, and the assumption that the overthrow of a government would lead to the end of a country puts the cart before the horse- many countries have outlasted several governments, and indeed to some extent the election cycle of a Democracy means the perpetual overthrow and reelection of a new incumbent.
The list starts with Spain, and it correctly points out the high debt to GDP ratio (93.9% in 2013, 86% in 2012), high unemployment rate, strong independence movement in Catalonia and Basque. There is a case to be made here, but it is likely that Spain would carry on being… Spain, even if it loses two regions.
9) North Korea
The video makes the assumption that at some point North Korea will need to leave its isolation because everyone else is much more technologically advanced than they are. This means that Kim, who cannot stay hip with the times, loses power.
However, as long as Kim receives the support of China, I doubt anything would unseat him, short of actual invasion.
Cultural differences may play a role, with the South of Belgium being French-speaking. Calls have been made to have the south become independent, or join France. The north consists of ethnically Flemish people who also want independence- these people have allegiances with the Netherlands, not mentioned in the video.
Environmental destruction, pollution are supposed to bring about the end of China via social unrest according to the video- it should be noted that the end of the Chinese Communist Party does not mean the end of China, and thata the pollution angle is a superficial one.
China’s real cause for concern would be its restive Xinjiang province, Muslims in an otherwise secular nation. The sheer number of different ethnic groups that reside within. If cultural differences meant division, then that would be the cause of China’s end. China’s history is dotted with government overthrow and reallocation of power. As recently as 1916, a power vacuum in China led to its division between several warlord fiefdoms and rival governments.
On the other hand, all the ethnic groups have remained Chinese throughout China’s long history- even when China had dissolved into warring factions, it would eventually be reunited into… China.
Iraq was created by colonial powers without regard for the ethnic and cultural differences of its constituent people.- only Saddam was strong enough to keep the people together by using sheer brute force and oppression. Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds each have their own game plan and want their own faction to rule/ secede(in the case of the Kurds). With ISIS apparently working with the Sunnis, and the Kurds having a measure of autonomy, this apparent powder-keg could lead to the destruction of Iraq.
This one is already in the midst of being proven wrong, however- ISIS is currently being driven back by Russia, which has shown an interest in making sure that Iraq and Syria remain in one piece. Too much credit is given to “ethnic division” as being a root cause of a country’s demise.
The video discusses the ethnic divisions between three factions in Libya as the root cause; this however, is not the main reason for Libya’s demise.
While Qaddafi was in power, Libya was one of the richest nations on the African continent. It was not ethnic divisions that unseated him but foreign intervention via NATO bombing and the arming of “rebels”.
ISIS isn’t a real country… anyway, apparently the US and Saudi Arabia are stated as threats to its existence… I would take issue with that.
The arrival of yet another “threat” is Russia, which more or less guarantees ISIS’s end by actually bombing it and not supplying it.
3) The UK
The Scottish independence movement… which has failed. Though wouldn’t the UK without Scotland still be the UK? Not much explanation is given as to why any other part of the UK would choose to secede.
2) The US
Tensions from the Civil War, and apparently the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions to secede from the Union color this argument.
However, more pertinent and well-known points to note would be the growing rift between whites and blacks (income-wise, education-wise, and treatment at the hands of the police-treatment-wise), the growing rift between the rich and the poor as wealth gets redistributed upwards and the sheer level of debt the country possesses- 94.3% of GDP in 2012, higher than Spain’s 2013 number.
The growing police state counters this rift, and may be able to prevent greater division by suppressing dissent.
1) The Maldives
Swallowed by the ocean thanks to global warming, the only nation that actually (maybe) gets destroyed on this list.
Greece and Syria are obvious contenders for this top ten yet for some reason did not make the cut.
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