Op het zonnig Cyprus – hoewel dat dezer dagen met de dramatische klimaatverandering in West Europe niet zo gek veel mensen meer jaloers kan maken – is een bedrijf gevestigd dat het libertaristische gedachtengoed zoveel mogelijk in praktijk probeert te brengen. Freemont Group / Haags Juristen College biedt oplossingen aan bedrijven die gebukt gaan onder het gewicht van overheidslasten. Maar de goede werken houden daar niet bij op.
Marnix, medewerker van Freemont, trommelt elke vrijdagavond collega’s, vrienden en bekenden bij elkaar om bij een biertje van gedachten te wisselen over een voorstel tot het stichten van een libertarische staat. Na vijf voorstellen te hebben besproken kregen we afgelopen vrijdag een overzicht en een scorebord met als doel te peilen naar de haalbaarheid van ieder voorstel. Hier is zijn verslag:
Sofar I have presented 5 possibilities for starting up a freestate, which I think are all quite plausible. But like on Idols, only a few of them can go to the next round.
The failures of the freestate projects in the past are evident: none of them succeeded, moreover, they failed utterly. They failed because they lacked a solid business plan. There are certain economic reasons for that: the opposition you face when starting up your own country is of a military order beyond private investments. In a free world, costs would never justify a privately invested war. It is only with the enforcement of taxes that nations can enter into armed conflicts with one another. Therefore it is essential that you avoid major armed confrontations with existing states when you want to start up a freestate.
Secondly, you must be able to achieve full recognition by existing states. Otherwise you won’t be able to attract major
investors to you newly formed country. A piece of desert from a poor African country won’t do, this is easy to ignore. This also means that you have to confront the world in one way or another so that they have to accept you.
Thirdly, it’s important that your plan doesn’t become too far fetched. Artificial islands, platforms or stranded ships look like an easy way for achieving your purpose, but in the end they are costly and useless as a country.
There are three ways in which you can look for possibilities: historical anomalies, separatist movements/countries, and unclaimed or multiple claimed territories.
Most countries didn’t grow spontaneously, but were formed out of other countries, by war, marriage of royals, or (re)unification. Not always does this leave all claims settled. From time to time, sovereign entities are ignored with these deals. Afterwards it can either lead to suppression, peaceful co-existence or the formation of a new country. And within this shadowy area, you can sometimes find some pleasant surprises.
Separatist movements & countries
In international law, every populace has a right to self-determination. Therefore when it comes to separatist movements, there’s always a chance they’ll get recognition. Of course only after too much blood has been shed, so timing is essential.
Unclaimed or multiple claimed territories
Very little in the world is unclaimed, but you’ll be surprised how many border conflicts exist, even within ‘civilized’ countries. If you’re gonna settle in a disputed area, who will limit your liberties?
The potential areas discussed in the past few weeks all met the requirements for the formation of a freestate, and all of them had downsides. Here’s a short description and my personal ratings for them.
I. The Spratly Islands
are a disputed group of approximately 100 reefs and islets in the South China Sea. Part of the South China Sea Islands, the Spratly Islands are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and gas and oil deposits, whose true extent is unknown and disputed, also it’s next to the worlds busiest shipping lane. The People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Republic of China on Taiwan, and Vietnam each claim sovereignty over the entire group of islands, while Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines each claim various parts. Several of the nations involved have soldiers stationed in the Spratlys and control various installations on different islands and reefs. The Republic of China occupies one of the largest islands. Still, there are some unclaimed Isles and reefs left.
Bullet factor: 6
Chances of achieving sovereignty: 8
Realistic rate: 6
is a small island off Sardinia, Italy. The island is a limestone massif 5 kilometres long and 1 kilometre wide, with steep cliffs except at its ends. Its highest point is 565 metres above sea level. Currently, the island is inhabited by only a handful of families, and has a small cemetery and summer restaurant. The water around the island is a popular spot for scuba diving.
Most of the population of the island was displaced in 1962 when a NATO radiogoniometric station was constructed on the eastern half of the island. The aerials from the station can be seen from quite a distance, and that entire half of the island is restricted to military personnel.
Tavolara was one of the smallest kingdoms on the planet, but is now simply part of Italy, although it was never formally annexed.
In 1833, King Charles Albert of Sardinia visited the island and acknowledged Giuseppe Bertoleoni as an independent sovereign monarch. When he died, his eldest son became King Paolo I. After Paulo’s death in 1886 the island became a republic, but the monarchy was reinstated again in 1895.  Since that time the island’s kings have all come from the Bertoleoni family, recognized as the rulers of Tavolara by the Kings of Sardinia. Documents dating to 1767 affirm that Tavolara had never been a part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
The present King Carlo II of Tavolara is an Italian citizen named Tonino Bertoleoni, who runs Da Tonino, the only restaurant on the island. Politically, the interests of the island are represented in its external dealings by Prince Ernesto Geremia di Tavolara, of La Spezia, Italy
Bullet factor: 9
Chances of achieving sovereignty: 9
Realistic rate: 9
III. The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta
(also known as the Knights Hospitaller, Knights of Malta, Order of Malta, Knights of Rhodes, and Chevaliers of Malta) is an organization that began as an Amalfitan hospital founded in Jerusalem in 1080 to provide care for poor and sick pilgrims to the Holy Land. After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade it became a Catholic military order under its own charter. Following the loss of Christian territory in the Holy Land, the Order operated from Rhodes, over which it was sovereign, and later from Malta where it administered a vassal state under the Spanish viceroy of Sicily. Although this state came to an end with the ejection of the Order from Malta by Napoleon, the Order as such survived.
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, better known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta or SMOM, remains a Catholic order which claims sovereignty under international law and has been granted permanent observer status at the United Nations. The Order of Malta has diplomatic relations with 96 countries and 12,500 members (Knights and Dames.)
Bullet factor: 10
Chances of achieving sovereignty: 10
Realistic rate: 4
is a de facto independent republic located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, bordering the Russian Federation to the north, and within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia. Abkhazia’s independence is not recognized by any international organization or country and it is regarded as an autonomous republic of Georgia აფხაზეთის ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა, with Sukhumi as its capital.
A secessionist movement of Abkhaz ethnic minority in the region led to the declaration of independence from Georgia in 1992 and the Georgian-Abkhaz armed conflict from 1992 to 1993 which resulted in the Georgian military defeat and the mass exodus of ethnic Georgian population from Abkhazia. In spite of the 1994 ceasefire accord and the ongoing UN-monitored CIS peacekeeping operation, the sovereignty dispute has not yet been resolved.
Abkhazia covers an area of about 8,600 km² at the western end of Georgia. The Caucasus Mountains to the north and the northeast divide Abkhazia from the Russian Federation. To the east and southeast, Abkhazia is bounded by the Georgian region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti; and on the south and southwest by the Black Sea.
Abkhazia is extremely mountainous. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range runs along the region’s northern border, with its spurs – the Gagra, Bziphi, and Kodori ranges – dividing the area into a number of deep, well-watered valleys. The highest peaks of Abkhazia are in the northeast and east and several exceed 4,000 meters (13,120 feet) above sea level. The landscapes of Abkhazia range from coastal forests and citrus plantations, to eternal snows and glaciers to the north of the region. Although Abkhazia’s complex topographic setting have spared most of the territory from significant human development, its cultivated fertile lands produce tea, tobacco, wine and fruits, a mainstay of local agricultural sector.
Bullet factor: 8
Chances of achieving sovereignty: 8
Realistic rate: 8
V. Rehoboth Basters
The Rehoboth Basters live in an area in central Namibia of about 14.000 km2. From 1870 to 1990 this area was called Rehoboth and had an autonomous status. Currently it is divided in the Namibian administrative provinces of Hardap and Khomas.The climate is dry and warm.
The Rehoboth Basters are the descendants of European Colonists and the Indigenous Khoi-People of Southern Africa. As a consequence of the social and political structures of the times they were neither acceptable in white communities as in the Khoi tribes. Eventually they decided to emigrate to South West Africa. A few years after they reached their destination they succeeded in buying a large piece of land from the Swartboois with the consent of all the Central and Southern Chieftains of the country.
They developed their own political system which was in use for more than one hundred and thirty years and which guaranteed to them the right to self-determination throughout the colonial periods and was recognized by the German Empire and the Government of the Union of South Africa.
During the German Colonial period a Treaty of Protection and Friendship was concluded between the German Kaiser and the Rehoboth Basters in which his Excellency the German Kaiser recognized the rights and freedom the Basters had acquired for themselves.
The Government of the Union of South Africa in 1915 superseded the German Colonial Government. Right from the beginning of the South African Military Administration they tried to deny the Basters the right to self-determination. General Botha however was adamant that the Basters should keep their rights as exercised under German Administration.
On 2nd July 1979 the Basters received Self-Government based on their Paternal Laws by means of an Act of South African Parliament Act 56 of 1976. From 1979 to 1989 Rehoboth developed, grew and prosper on all levels. When the Swapo Government came into being the situation was reversed.
Rehoboth Traditional Land was confiscated and transferred to the Government of Namibia on the strength of paragraph 1 of schedule 5 of the Constitution of Namibia.
Bullet factor: 8
Chances of achieving sovereignty: 8
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