OPINION: “Nation building” not a game of mindcraft

By: FAITH TURNBULL (The Guardian) and JUDY PERPOSE (Financial Times)

Delegates in the Paris Peace Conference are in heated debate as they strive to define at what point a region may be internationally recognized as a sovereign state.

Members of the committee seem to think that state-building is simply an act of building a couple new government buildings and having a fancy road.

Except in this case, the committee hopes to get creative on the game rules. Italy when speaking on the economic development of States saw a major issue with draft resolution “Kick Acts” that failed to include a framework that promoted greater incentive to complete development projects at a more rapid pace.

Italy may have an edge in this debate as they urged committee members to include a “sunset clause” on all development related qualifiers to obtain recognition from the international community as a sovereign state.

But it’s not as simple as requesting a state to build official buildings and “appear” to be developed for international recognition to be granted.

The buildings that get pieced together into neighbourhoods like in popular video games, does not reflect the social implications of newly defining this space.

In a game of mindcraft you can certainly create a region, but you cannot anticipate the impact of regionalism. In essence, the regions have a complex social structure that are not captured by a minimum quota for government buildings.

Bearing this in mind, it is clear which resolution should be the one that wins out, the “BUILD” plan. This plan is one which focuses on the individual territories and how they can grow themselves. As opposed to the “Kick Acts” resolution which uses blanket policies without individual concern to smaller territories that wish to gain statehood.

The more specific and individualized “BUILD” plan, despite it being written by larger countries with a history of Imperialism, was clearly written with the ravaged countries and territories in the Middle East in mind. Though, because of their Imperial history, these countries had a hard time getting the support they needed to get this draft resolution up and running. It is this prejudice which let “Kick Acts” win out.

“Kick Acts,” despite its good intentions, lacks a comprehensive plan moving forward. In the long run, there is an understanding of what should and would happen under their proposal, but there is a large question put forth that counteracts even their best intentions. Belgium put forth, “where is the money coming from?” This question poses a significant issue with “Kick Acts” which could not be aptly answered by the delegates which stood behind it: The Hejaz, China, Japan, and Canada, among others.

The prejudice which stopped the “BUILD” plan was unfairly attributed. France stated: “If they actually took the time to read the policies, our resolution would go through.” It is a shame that the personal offenses of years ago have affected this peace conference so much. Even with the strife of Imperialism (which is not being denied here) the delegates in this committee should have been able to look past that into the actual draft resolutions at hand. If they had done that, the “BUILD” plan would have succeeded with flying colors.

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