Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Am I The Only One Who Is Bothered By This?

I don't know what, but something got me thinking about the Micro-States of Europe the other day.  And, frankly, I'm growing suspicious of the little fuckers.  Just what might they be up to?

You know the places I'm talking about, right?  Places like Andorra, and Lichtenstein...mere little accidental pinpricks on the map.  I mean, first of all, with centuries of warfare all over Europe; with nations rolling over each other again and again, absorbing each other and spitting out the parts they don't like, how, on Earth, do those little places continue to exist? And why are they there to begin with?

Let's start with the easy ones, shall we?  Monaco, for instance is easily explained.  First of all, it's all glamorous and shit on the Mediterranean, but without all that French snottiness.  It gives us somewhere to send glamorous movie stars when someone needs a proper breeding program for the next generation of Royalty.  And Monte Carlo is tres important!  Where else would James Bond go to play Baccarat?  or Roulette with only one "zero" on the wheel?  Hmmmm?  And half those other casinos around the world don't even care if you wear the proper evening clothes any more.

But let's think about the more evil side of things for a moment.  If I were to ask you to tell me exactly where The Principality of Monaco is located, most of you would probably make some vague waiving gesture the Mediterranean coast of France.  But would you put it nearer to Spain or to Italy?  Would it matter?  If I actually tried to tell you Monaco actually is on the Italian coast instead of France, I bet it wouldn't take all that long to convince you.  I mean, really, just how much do you have invested in keeping Monaco attached to France?

And that's kinda what got me thinking.  These are truly sneaky little places -- stealth nations.  They could pop up anywhere tomorrow and you'd never know the difference.  Now, granted, where Monaco chooses to be on any given day of the week really makes no never-mind to me, but what if Vatican City decides to re-assert some ancient something-or-other and pops up in Byzantium tomorrow?  I could see where that might be somewhat disruptive.

Lichtenstein is kinda wedged in between Austria and Switzerland. I'm betting that's been useful sometimes.  Say, for example, Austria and Switzerland are having some sort of border dispute over who actually owns some historic rock in the middle of a river.  Or maybe the river alters it's course just a little and suddenly some little podunk town is on the Swiss side of the river instead of the Austrian side.  You just let Lichtenstein ooze up into position and suddenly the entire disputed portion of the border in Lichtensteinian property and no-one's the wiser.  Border dispute diffused.  Hell, I bet Lichtenstein could make sure that Austria and Switzerland are actually separated along the entire border if they ever needed a proper time-out.  I bet little old Lichtenstein could even slide down around the corner to Italy or Slovenia if they'd come in handy there.

And I'm not particularly worried about San Marino either.  First of all, Italy's got them completely surrounded. (Although, I'm betting San Marino could sneak away in the middle of the night without Italy noticing.)  But they're also, officially, The Most Serene Republic of San Marino.  It was named that before George Orwell wrote 1984 -- they must be telling the truth.

OK, so it's not really these little places we know about that have me worried.  Hell, most of them have militaries consisting of 12 guys wearing velvet pantaloons and carrying crossbows. But if we can't keep track of the Micro-States we know about, just how many more of them are there out there and what are they up to?  I'm sure some of them are completely altruistic at heart --- little super-hero countries.  But for every one of those, I bet there's another little tiny country harboring an evil genius.

(P.S. My internet connection at the moment is not behaving.  I'm going to hit "publish", and I have no idea what will actually happen.  If, however, this post is filled with typos, or nonsense, or is in any other way, sub par, blame it on the denizens of The Most Beneficent Tyranny of the Moveable Geography of Glendorrianna.)


Steve Buchheit said...

You forgot to mention my favorite micro state, Sea Landia. Hell, and they were hit by Pirates once.

Nathan said...

Ah, but Steve, today's discussion was meant to be restricted to European Micro-States...the ones who would have you believe they're all cutesy and have nothing but goodwill in mind toward their fellow man.

Sea Landia, is clearly up to something...hiding out there in the Ocean (or wherever it is---I neglected to look it up). I bet your Island Micro States are constantly moving around, just to prevent Kevin Costner or someone from the Studio showing up and telling them their budget has been revoked.

Jeri said...

I've always been very concerned about Finland. Or is it Norway? No, I'm pretty sure it's Finland. Those Finns are DANGEROUS and we need to ensure that their nuclear missiles, special ops forces and covert operatives do not gain a foothold over here.

And don't even get me started on the Finnish Navy!

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

The Finns fought against the USSR in WWII, just saying.

My favorite micro state is the Grand Duchy of Fenwick.

Nathan said...

I'm not going to choose between Norway and Finland during or after WWII. I'd be rooting for Lappland anyway.

And, I Too, have a particular fondness for Fenwick.