Mapping True Nature of Political Borders?
Most any map of the political division of the planet use heavy thick lines to designate borders. This gives the impression that borders are absolute entities with true unarguable reality. It’s really more complicated, and I wonder if any geographers or political scientists have ever attempted mapping political borders with political reality?
Most obvious are territorial disputes (and Wikipedia does a great job here of categorizing these disputes): from Kashmir to Gibraltar to Western Sahara to South Ossetia. Some borders are very loose to the movement of people and stuff, like the European Union member states, the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Others are extremely tight, like the fortified and scrutinized US/Mexico border. (Though San Diego and Tijuana have lately been cooperating cross border in interesting ways).
Technically, borders exist within airports; prior to immigration is international territory. Territorial waters are often in dispute, and have been arbitrarily extended to encompass oil reserves and fishing grounds. I wonder, if sea levels rise under climate change, will states argue that there territorial waters are defined by their prior coast lines plus 12 nautical miles, or will this territory shrink as well?
Anyone standing on a border can see the deep imprint different state policies have on the landscape. But we know these borders are porous, and often assymetrical. Economic refugees one way, pollution the other. Ultimately pollution knows no borders and we must be aware of their arbitrary construction.