Independent South Sudan ponders future

South Sudan became the world’s newest nation over the weekend, a process that, unfortunately, likely will not end decades of misery and conflict in the sub-Saharan region.

To the credit of Sudan, from which South Sudan broke as the result of a 2005 peace pact and a subsequent referendum, it was the first nation to officially recognize its new neighbor.

However, it’s probable that much in the way of hard times remain for the fledgling state. South Sudan’s independence follows decades of conflict with the north in which some 1.5 million people died, according to the BBC.

The new country is rich in oil, but is among the least developed in the world,  and one in seven children dies before the age of five. In addition, unresolved disputes between the north and south, particularly over the new border, have also raised the possibility of renewed conflict.

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Habsburg represented enlightened Europe

Ottawa Citizen columnist David Warren ponders the life of the late Austro-Hungarian crown prince Otto von Habsburg by mulling what might have been.

Instead of focusing on the potential romance of court life in Vienna – think Winter Palace on the Danube – Warren goes through the intellectual what ifs of how the world would have been different over the past nine decades had Habsburg been able to assume the throne upon the death of his father Charles I in 1922.

… think, for a moment, of the alternative world, where wise statesmen were able to avoid the First World War, in the wake of Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination at Sarajevo. ‘Imagine,’ for a moment, a world in which that war-to-begin-all-total-wars did not happen, and in the upshot of which, that Austro-Hungarian Empire did not disintegrate, the Bolshevik Revolution could not occur, Adolf Hitler had no opportunity to rise, and so many vast slaughters could not follow from the triumph of ‘nationalisms’ and ‘socialisms,’ having been deprived of their root cause.

Think thus of a ‘backward’ world in which ‘Western Civ.’ were still fully intact, and in which Emperor Otto might have reigned these last 89 years.

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