It was once the dream of starry-eyed proponents of globalization that the increasing pace of trade, travel, and exchanges of ideas would lead to a “borderless” world of reduced conflict and cosmopolitanism. Instead, the opposite has happened, as the lines and demarcations between nations struggling to manage their conflicts have become paramount and subject to escalating risk.
Whether it’s China building islands in the South China Sea or Russia seizing the arctic or even the UK having a Northern Ireland problem after Brexit, borders are increasingly becoming more hostile environments. Professor Klaus Dodds explores the issue with tremendous clarity in his fascinating new book, “The New Border Wars: The Conflicts That Will Define Our Future.”
Joining Robert Amsterdam on this episode of Departures, Prof. Dodds argues that even though we have international legal frameworks such as the Law of the Sea, it has already been demonstrated that some countries pick and choose legal principles as lawfare (such as building islands), we don’t always choose to penalize violations, while there is a constant reshaping and reinterpretation of borders making it much more difficult to separate and demarcate sovereign territories with clarity.
Dodds’ book provides a fascinating look into the future, where climate change, pandemics, and digital surveillance are all contributing to changes in our physical world that are certain to be the source of challenging conflicts in the years to come.