In a paper released last week entitled Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence, the case is made that creating boundaries and borders is key to reducing ethnic violence. The study focuses on the peaceful and stable country of Switzerland: a linguistically and religiously diverse country that has surprisingly managed to avoid the ethic violence that has torn so many other diverse countries apart over the centuries. From the paper’s abstract:1
Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups. Mountains and lakes are an important part of the boundaries between sharply defined linguistic areas. Political canton and circle (sub-canton) boundaries often separate religious groups. . . .
Our analysis supports the hypothesis that violence between groups can be inhibited by physical and political boundaries. A similar analysis of the area of the former Yugoslavia shows that during widespread ethnic violence existing political boundaries did not coincide with the boundaries of distinct groups, but peace prevailed in specific areas where they did coincide. The success of peace in Switzerland may serve as a model to resolve conflict in other ethnically diverse countries and regions of the world.
Although Switzerland, until recently, was ethnically homogeneous, the Swiss ethnicity is divided up amongst German, French, and Italian speakers, and split between Catholics and Protestants.
To find out how all these differing groups found a way to get along, the team looked at the geography of the country (mainly mountains and lakes) and how its regions are subdivided. In Switzerland, areas of the country are partitioned into what are known as cantons, which are similar to states in other countries except that each has much more autonomy than is usual. After careful study, the team found that the main reason the groups all manage to get along, is because they are separated from one another. Each canton is comprised of almost all the same types of people, essentially ruling themselves, thus, there is very little overlap. Other areas are separated by lakes or mountains. The end result is that people of differing cultures very seldom run into one another (except in the larger cites of course) and thus friction is averted. The one exception appears to be a little area north of Bern, where violence did erupt in the 1970’s. That problem was apparently fixed by simply redistricting the cantons in that area.2
The group then applied their findings to the Yugoslavia breakup and found that the results confirmed their findings. Where the political borders matched ethnic borders, the violence was decreased or nonexistent; however, where political borders did not match ethnic borders, the political borders did not reduce violence. Tribalism and ethnonationalism work.
Our results suggest that these [ethnically aligned] political borders were instrumental in reducing ethnic violence, whereas the violence in other areas of Yugoslavia was not prevented because of poor alignment of borders with population groups.3
I pointed this out six months ago in my post discussing Bosnia, the most ethnically diverse Yugoslav country. Recently, the country of South Sudan broke away to place a border between different religious and ethnic groups in Sudan in an effort to stop the violence there. This study provides even more evidence that such is the correct solution to the problem.
Once again, it must be said that ethnonationalists are really the ones promoting interracial and interethnic peace, happiness, and stability, and the multiculturalists and multiracialists are the ones pushing for violence, hatred, and distrust.