International Boundaries: A Study of Boundary Functions and Problems

International Boundaries: A Study of Boundary Functions and Problems

International Boundaries: A Study of Boundary Functions and Problems

International Boundaries: A Study of Boundary Functions and Problems

Excerpt

Across more than 100,000 miles of international boundaries neighbors face one another today, some friendly, others suspicious or even hostile. Men are asking what boundaries are, how they work, and how current problems may be solved. In this brief introductory study, boundaries are considered from both larger and smaller aspects than those in which they are usually regarded: (1) larger, in order to observe how and why boundaries and boundary problems vary from continent to continent and from century to century; and (2) smaller, in order to perceive what actually happens at international boundaries and what functions they perform.

Each continent is found to differ appreciably from all the others in the origins of its boundary problems, in the manner in which its boundaries operate, or in the stage of development of its boundaries and their functions. No similar study by continents appears to have been attempted. The perspective gained by this approach to the subject may help to reveal why the boundary problems of Europe are so much more acute than those of any other continent and how greatly they differ in nature, as well as in degree, from those of the New World.

There are pressing boundary problems in several continents; to be solved effectively they must be solved peacefully. When new boundaries are made, widely divergent opinions may be expressed regarding desirable and undesirable types of boundaries. A common-sense viewpoint is that whether a boundary is "good" or "bad" depends upon whether it is adapted to serve the purposes for which it is maintained, with maximum efficiency and minimum friction and expense. To understand the contemporary problems it is therefore necessary to ascertain what happens because the boundaries are there and because of' the prevailing ideas regarding the purposes which they should serve.

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