Thursday, January 26, 2012

Small countries

Scotland is going to vote on whether it should become independent of the United Kingdom. The measure to consider independence was just introduced by the First Minister Alex Salmond in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, coincidentally on Robert Burns Day, a national holiday in Scotland. In 1707 the measure to unify Scotland into the United Kingdom was passed by the British Parliament in London, although this was made possible when the English forces defeated the Scottish forces at the Battle of Culloden (the last battle fought on British soil) in 1746. Since then Scotland has had no independent existence, although it now has its own Parliament as a result of the "devolution" of the United Kingdom introduced by PM Tony Blair in 1997. Now that the Scottish National Party (SNP)has a majority in the Scottish Parliament, the time has come to consider voting on the question of Scottish independence. Scotland has all the attributes of an independent country, it has its own culture, language (although Scottish gaelic has been overtaken by English), law system, schools, universities and most importantly its own national drink (scotch). Next maybe Wales (conquered by England in 1282) and Northern Ireland (conquered in 1690) may choose to disassociate themselves from the UK, leaving England alone. Note all of these former English colonies are smaller in population than Israel is today.

PM Netanyahu's recent successful visit to Holland should be the first step in a new initiative to establish a "Coalition of Small Countries" at the UN. Since Israel is among the most successful of small countries economically and technologically, Israel could play a leading role in such a Coalition together with such countries as Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania, Uruguay, Scotland and so on. Such a diplomatic move would replace the outdated system of "Third World" countries and Islamic countries voting as a bloc, and could lead to a revitalization of the UN. After all, giving small countries at the UN the same vote as big ones was intended to stop such processes as colonization and imperialism. Powerful large countries, such as Iran, would have to watch their step before they threaten and try to destroy smaller countries like Israel. If it happens to Israel it could happen to many other small countries in the world, including Georgia (threatened by Russia), Taiwan (China), East Timor (indonesia) and South Sudan (Sudan).

Israel is about to test a set of three inter-connected satellites. Together they are greater than one larger satellite, that would cost a lot more to launch. Combining small countries (less than 10 million people each) into a coalition would give them all greater power and would protect their rights from the large countries. Remember there is strength in numbers!


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