Relatively low support for independence on Catalonia’s Mediterranean coast has caused some to wonder: why not split the cities of Barcelona and Tarragona from the rest of the region?
Spanish media like 20 minutos, El Confidencial, El Mundo, El País, Libertad Digital and La Razón — eager to belittle Catalan nationalism — have given the tongue-in-cheek proposal, dubbed Tabarnia, disproportionate attention.
It is not entirely without merit. Rural Catalonia is more separatist than cosmopolitan Barcelona and its suburbs.
China and Russia are making common cause at a time when Donald Trump’s America is turning its back on the world. Are we seeing the beginning of a global partnership? Or is this only a marriage of convenience? Experts disagree. Read more
If Poland believes it can make up for its poor relations with neighboring Germany by deepening ties with France, it is making a mistake. Read more
As late as 1987, two years before the Berlin Wall fell, the United States seriously considered the possibility that the Soviet Union might start World War III.
This Defense Department map shows the broad outline of a two-pronged Soviet attack on Western Europe. Planners expected one army to march across the Northern European Plain into the Low Countries and another to dive across Bavaria into France and the Iberian Peninsula.
At the time, the Soviets had thirty forward-deployed divisions in Eastern European to spearhead an invasion force with another 94 in Western Russia. NATO was outnumbered and counted on the threat of massive nuclear retaliation to deter the Reds.
Atomic weapons played a different role in Warsaw Pact planning. Far from a last resort, they were envisaged as something like big artillery pieces that could clear the way for a ground invasion. Read more
A century ago, a British member of Parliament and geographer, Halford Mackinder, wrote one of the famous books of geopolitics, Democratic Ideals and Reality. The book discussed the tension between what nations want (“democratic ideals”) and what they often get (geographic “reality”).
That tension seems especially topical this week. Read more
The world could soon add two new countries. In Catalonia and Kurdistan, referendums have been held to secede from Spain and Iraq, respectively.
Neither would be universally recognized. Spain doesn’t even recognize a Catalan right to self-determination. Iran, Iraq and Turkey all oppose Kurdish statehood.
International recognition is often a stumbling block for would-be states. Consider the likes of Kosovo, Somaliland, South Ossetia and Transnistria.
Others don’t even get to that point. Here is a selection of countries that remained on the drawing board. Read more