Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence
also in the Arxiv
Switzerland is recognized as a country of peace, stability and prosperity. This is surprising because of its linguistic and religious diversity that in other parts of the world lead to conflict and violence. Here we analyze how peaceful stability is maintained. Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups, allowing for partial autonomy within a single country…. 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.
Compare this to the Middle East, where the borders are either the cease-fire lines from wars (Israel-Palestine), or are simply how Britain and France carved up the remains of the Ottoman Empire (Lebanon-Syria-Iraq-Saudi Arabia-…) after World War I.