Not all borders make sense. But changing them is dangerous

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Break for the border

Invisible Countries: Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood. By Joshua Keating. Yale University Press; 296 pages; $26 and £20.

VIT JEDLICKA spent five years trying to reshape Czech politics in his own libertarian image before he had a better idea. Why change his country when he could just create a new one? Thus the Free Republic of Liberland was born, on 2.7 square miles (7 square km) of riverbank between Croatia and Serbia. Liberland has a constitution (taxes are optional), an ersatz embassy and an online citizenship application form. So what makes it different from the United States, or Bangladesh, or Malta? Joshua Keating, an American journalist, visited several aspiring countries to understand which make the cut, and why.

For much of human history, boundaries were temporary, shifting as empires rose and fell. But since 2000, only a handful of countries have joined the world map. This status quo is…Continue reading

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