Feb 8, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Nations & States: Southern Sudan

These last weeks have been full of history defining moments for followers of international relations and concepts of governance.  At this point even if one were uninterested, it would take a great deal of channel hopping and willful ignorance to remain uninformed over the climes of political change in the Middle East.  Receiving significantly less TV time so far has been the effective formation of a new state around an old nation.

In the wake of last month’s referendum over secession, by the will of near 99% of voters Southern Sudan is set to become its own state.  The democratic nature of this decision to split as well as the Presidency’s respect for the results without further conflict should be subjects to take pride in.  At the same time, the expressed desire positive relations between the states is a hopeful example of the positive impacts of democratic choice.

A great deal more might be said about the separation of Sudan on an international scale.  The situation might be observed in part as an example of clashes over influence and resources between other nations.  On the other hand it might be observed as an example of the ability to change states through diplomacy, development and forms of “soft power” rather than warfare.  For the moment I’d rather focus purely on the issue of statehood, and wish the people of South Sudan luck in their democratic experiment.


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Founded in 2004, Democracy and Society is a biannual print journal published by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. The D&S Blog provides web-only content, including special reports and investigative series, on issues relating to democracy and development.

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