07 August, 2006

The Kuril Islands and WWII

Since WWII, the Russian-occupied Kuril Islands have been a point of contention with the original owners, the Japanese. They are, in fact, the northernmost islands of the Japanese chain. Negotiaions over the status of the islands has been an on again/off again proposition for years, and tends to parallel the overall relationship. The Eurasia Monitor reports that the long negotiations have been going nowhere, and the Russians are talking about making serious investments in the local infrastructure. Since the status of the islands has been the big hurdle to jump prior to signing a peace treaty (Japan and the Soviet Union never signed a peace with one another) it looks like, technically, World War II is going to keep going for the indefinite future.

This is all the more interesting for "democratic peace" proponents, since we have two (nominal) democracies in a (technical) state of war. Define war operationally, as it should be, and it doesn't really mean a thing.

1 comment:

John Ciganik said...

Speaking of islands, what might eventually happen to the Spratly Islands? I have read a few articles over the past couple of years indicating that this dispute could heat up due to the possibility of resources in and around the islands. Is this true?