Politics

Gen Z Believes These 16 Countries Are Going Away

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Generation Z—people born between 1997-2012—are currently the object of intense scrutiny in the media. The oldest members of this generation are already in their late 20’s and their spending and voting habits are beginning to be felt in the culture. Members of this generation are lauded for their technological savvy, are considered less socially and politically conservative than previous generations, and generally have more sedentary, quiet lifestyles than their predecessors. They’re a generation marked by school shootings, the pandemic, and economic problems, so they tend to be rather pessimistic about the future.

This attitude extends to the future of entire countries. A recent Reddit thread invited Gen Z members to comment on the question, “What countries do you believe will not exist within our lifetime?” We’d like to share with you some of the more interesting responses, alphabetically by the name of the country, with some of our own observations from a 24/7 staffer with a graduate degree in foreign affairs and 20 years of teaching on the subject at the college level. Keep in mind that this thread includes responses from young people all over the world, including those in the countries in question.

1. Andorra

Source: gbarm / iStock via Getty Images
Peaceful, prosperous, idyllic Andorra is doing just fine.

Gen Z: “I will not rest, I will not die, until I see the demise of Andorra.” – Yodamort

24/7: Hahaha! Gen Z has a sense of humor, that’s for sure. Andorra is a tiny landlocked principality in the Pyrenees Mountains and surrounded by France and Spain.  It’s been around since 1278 and is administered by a Spanish bishop and the President of France, who are considered “co-princes” of this micro-nation. This secure, stable little country, protected by two great powers, is not going anywhere.

2. Belarus

Source: Ryhor Bruyeu / iStock via Getty Images
Belarus has a long cultural affiliation with Russia and does not have a particularly strong sense of independent nationalism.

Gen Z: “Belarus (annexed by Russia after Lukashenko dies). – Joseph20102011

24/7: “The former Soviet republic of Belarus sits in a dangerous neighborhood, wedged between NATO countries Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia on the West, Russia on the East and the battleground country of Ukraine to the south. Dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko stays in power only by virtue of Russian support. In return, he has bound Belarus as a member of the “Union State,” a transnational organization widely seen as a cover for Russian annexation of post-Soviet states. He has also permitted Russia to use Belarus as a staging area for its war on Ukraine and has allowed Russian nuclear weapons to be placed in his territory. While it is likely that an entity known as “Belarus” will continue, there is a good possibility that it will be strong-armed into a more formal unification with Russia whenever Moscow thinks it is in its own best interests to do so.

3. Haiti

Source: La_Corivo / iStock via Getty Images
Poverty is endemic in Haiti, but the people still use the resources they have to create beauty and culture.

Gen Z: “Haiti is more or less the closest thing to a truly failed state in the Americas. None of their governments have ever really been able to reign the country in . . . Haiti might not cease to exist, but I wouldn’t bet against it either.” – the_gopnik_fish

24/7: Haiti has suffered from hurricanes, earthquakes, coups, and foreign occupations throughout its history. Foreign assistance has sometimes done more harm than good by fostering dependency and inadvertently supporting corrupt power-holders who siphon aid off to enhance their own power and wealth. International intervention may be the only thing that can stabilize its security situation and create an environment where international investment can take place, creating jobs so that the people can support themselves with dignity.

4-7. Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia

Source: Noctiluxx / Getty Images
Tripoli, the Libyan capital, does not have a firm grip on the country.

Gen Z: “Ooh this is an interesting one. Libya and Yemen could well stop existing, at least as unified countries, same with Sudan and Somalia . . . ” – imuselesstbh

24/7: This redditor went for the extra credit, suggesting four countries that may no longer exist in the future. They actually share a lot of similarities and the suggestion that they might not be able to survive as united countries actually carries a lot of weight. All four countries are colonial creations with artificial borders mapped out by Europeans with little attention to the local geography and ethnic groups. And all four have weak, unstable central governments.

Four Unstable Countries

Yemen | traditional Yemen houses - Sanaa
Source: zanskar / iStock via Getty Images
Sanaa, the capital of Yemen is a rival for leadership with Aden, the country’s major port and former capital of an independent South Yemen.

Libya has fought two civil wars since its dictator was toppled and has rival power centers based on opposite sides of the country in its two largest cities: Tripoli and Benghazi. Yemen is still fighting a civil war. Prior to 1990 there were two separate countries: North Yemen and South Yemen. The current union could very well collapse into that same division or a different one. Sudan has already split, with South Sudan becoming one of the world’s newest countries. And Somalia is a combination of British and Italian colonies that could split, just as neighboring Eritrea split off from Ethiopia. So yes, any of these four countries could ceast to exist in their current form within the next couple of decades.

8. Maldives

Source: SHansche / iStock via Getty Images
The loss of such beauty in the Maldives would truly be a tragedy for the whole world.

Gen Z: “Maldives is gonna sink.” – AyiHutha

24/7: Located in the central Indian Ocean off the Southwest coast of India, the Maldives is an archipelago of over a thousand coral islands with some of the most beautiful beach resorts and unspoiled islands in the world. Some climate models predict that the country will be entirely underwater by 2100 due to polar ice melt and rising sea levels. The country’s population of over 500,000 will need to be resettled over time. No doubt, some of the islands may be shored up if they are seen as having economic and strategic value to justify the tremendous expense. The Maldives could conceivably be annexed by India or a great power from outside the region that desires access to military basing rights and oceanic resources through the exclusive economic zones that extend 200 nautical miles into the ocean from the shores of every mainland coastal country and around every island in the world.

9-10. Moldova and Kosovo

Source: Calin Stan / Getty Images
Moldova enjoys close cultural ties with its neighbor Romania.

Gen Z: “Moldova and Kosovo: they will willingly join their respective ‘ethnic motherlands’ Romania and Albania.” – generalisofficial

24/7: This reader has chosen two countries that have not been independent for very long, and that face existential threats from their neighbors. Moldova is a former Soviet republic with a breakaway region known as Transnistria that hosts an unknown number of Russian troops. As this borders Ukraine, many analysts think that Moldova may be the next project in Putin’s plan to rebuild as much of the Soviet Union as he can. Moldova was a part of Romania in the past and speaks the same language. Joining this NATO member would be a strong move for its future security.

Kosovo is an ethnically Albanian region that was detached from Serbia in 2008 when NATO intervened to stop ethnic cleansing atrocities by the Serbs. NATO continues to maintain 4,500 troops there. Joining Albania, a NATO member, could further strengthen its security.

11. Northern Ireland

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Most people in the UK support the reunification of Ireland, but the opinion that really matters in this question is that of the citizens of Northern Ireland.

Gen Z: “Northern Ireland.” – MysticCherryPanda

Gen Z: As a Brit, most people I know would be very happy to see the whole of Ireland reunified.” – Azikt

24/7: The future of the United Kingdom as a whole is in doubt, especially following Brexit and the demise of the immensely popular Queen Elizabeth II. Scotland wanted to remain in the EU but was dragged out of it by the votes of more populous England. Support for independence in Scotland has been strong in recent years.

Brexit Leading to More Exits?

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Rugged, independent-minded Scotland did not appreciate being dragged out of the EU with all its economic opportunities.

Brexit created difficulties for Northern Ireland (now non-EU) and Ireland (EU) that required special accommodations to avoid shutting down trade. If Scotland does decide to leave the United Kingdom, this may energize secessionist movements in Northern Ireland and Wales as well. Recent polling indicates citizens of England, Wales, and Scotland support the reunification of Ireland, but in Northern Ireland itself support is not as strong.

12. Russia

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Most of Russia’s development is concentrated in Moscow and other large cities. Putin’s policies have not benefited outlying regions as much.

Gen Z: “I feel like Russia could go in a couple [of] different ways. Putin has essentially been in power since nearly the collapse of the Soviet Union in some form or another. When those dictators die, there is a huge power vacuum. Usually, the problem is that those people don’t want anyone in a position to be able to take over because that makes them vulnerable. When he dies, there might be a civil war that rips the country into pieces. I also wouldn’t be surprised if, when he passes, other nations carve it up with promises of aid, like Germany after World War II.” – nomappingfound

24/7: It’s always unpredictable to try to read the crystal ball of what will happen in Russia. Certainly, no one expected the dramatic and relatively peaceful collapse of communism there. Putin’s demise would likely set off an internal power struggle in Moscow and possibly even a succession of leaders who cannot consolidate power and would meet their end after short stints in power. It is unlikely that these will be pro-western, democratically-oriented leaders. However, it is possible the wealthy oligarchs of Russia will support a leader who will negotiate with the West, end the war in Ukraine, and get sanctions lifted so they can enjoy their jet-setting lifestyle again.

New Post-Russian Countries?

Source: Tatiana Gasich / iStock via Getty Images
Sakha in the Russian Far East is a vast, frozen, mineral-rich region with a distinctive indigenous culture.

Some ethnically distinct regions of Russia, like Sakha, Tatarstan, or Chechnya, might take advantage of the turmoil to declare independence. This could be short-lived, however, as when a strong enough leader regains control of the central government, they could forcefully retake secessionist regions. To prevent this, resource-rich areas of the Russian Far East might cut sweet economic deals with China in exchange for Chinese recognition of their independence and various levels of support in maintaining it.

However, Western countries might not actually want Russia to break up. After all, it has many thousands of nuclear warheads all over its territory that might fall into the wrong hands during civil conflict. If the West thinks that a united Russia would be better for Western security—by keeping central control over nukes and by preventing Chinese expansionism in northern Asia, for example—then it is conceivable that Western intelligence would even pass information to Moscow to help a new government quickly restore control in some of its breakaway regions. The point is, it is not a foregone conclusion that the breakup of Russia would be a desirable outcome for the world’s peace and security.

13. Syria

Source: koto_feja / Getty Images
Multiple foreign countries have intervened in Syria to assist friendly factions and degrade the power of their rivals.

Gen Z: “As a Syrian, I hope Syria. I swear if the country gets conquered, it’d be better off for it.” – RAAAAHHHAGI2025

24/7: Syria did indeed erase itself from the map, so to speak, from 1958-1961 when it joined Egypt as the United Arab Republic under the leadership of the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. In more recent years, it has collapsed into a brutal multi-faction civil war with interventions by regional powers as well as Russia and the United States. This war appears to be slowly resolving in a way that will keep dictator Bashar al-Assad in power.

Local Military Powers and Their Limitations

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Israeli is militarily powerful but has no interest in taking over more Arab lands with restive populations.

Locally, Turkey or Israel have the military power to occupy Syria if they wish, but neither would do so. Turkey and Israel already have their hands full with their Kurdish and Palestinian populations, respectively, that are seeking independence. Plus, Russia maintains a large permanent military presence in Syria. Turkey and Israel are both allied to the United States, which is their major military supplier. None of these countries is willing to start World War III by trying to completely take over a shattered, divided, and ungovernable country.

15. Ukraine

Source: 3sbworld / iStock via Getty Images
Ukraine has a distinctive culture and national identity from Russia.

Gen Z: “Looking like Ukraine at the moment.” – louisianapelican

24/7: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has happened in stages, starting with its annexation of Crimea, its sponsorship of rebels in the Donbas, and a full-scale invasion in 2022. Part of Russia’s design in all the post-Soviet states has been to foment territorial disputes and civil war to make them ineligible for NATO membership. This has been its strategy in Moldova, Georgia, and in its balancing act between feuding Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is likely that its long-term game in Ukraine is to outlast the West while it holds on to what it has and gradually bites off more chunks of the country as it is able.

Ukraine’s Uncertain Future

Source: 200mm / iStock via Getty Images
The Crimean peninsula is the real sticking point in the war in Ukraine. Both sides see possession of it as non-negotiable.

The facts on the ground have shown that Russia does not have the military power to conquer Ukraine, both due to the Ukrainian’s motivation to defend their homeland and the modern training and armaments provided by the West, along with Western sanctions on Russia. The United States has also signaled that any use of Russian nuclear weapons in Ukraine would bring about an overwhelming NATO conventional military intervention on Ukraine’s side.

So far, this has been enough to produce a battlefield stalemate. However, maintaining this status quo and even extending it into a Ukrainian victory will depend on who is elected President in the United States, what policies they implement, and how long Putin lives and clings to power in Russia. Our bet is that Ukraine will survive as a country, but only at the cost of some permanent loss of territory. It’s also quite possible the conflict will go on for decades without a permanent settlement, as is the case in Korea and Cyprus. As long as Ukraine is kept out of the EU and NATO and Russia is holding Crimea, Moscow’s main objectives have been met.

16. United States

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments In Moore v. Harper
Source: 2022 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
Multiple social issues are inflaming the American public, but none are likely to become existential threats to the country’s survival.

Gen Z: “The United States is like two election cycles from a complete collapse.” – Ill_Library9653

24/7: Ah, yes. This is the one we were looking for. The Trump Presidency and reelection campaign have been so unorthodox that, for many people, it has called into question the stability of our system of government entirely. As always, during times of political turmoil, we have individual citizens threatening to move to Canada (never considering whether Canada would even want them) and suggestions that entire states like California or Texas should secede. The 2024 movie Civil War plays dramatically upon this idea. Honestly, the reality is that most Americans enjoy the good life too much to do more than talk about such things. The U.S. will go through times of unrest but has already been through far worse in its history without a complete collapse. We’re placing our bets (in American dollars) on the U.S.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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