A Map of the Exclaves of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan, Exclaves Map.png

Divide and Conquer

Although most of my map research focuses on the geography or history of an area, I often stumble on other topics of interest. In this case, it was the strategy of "Divide et Impera" (Divide and Rule) and how this strange set of exclaves relates to Joseph Stalin, James Madison and contemporary USA politics.

Under the former Soviet Union - Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were all united despite being composed of a number of different ethnic groups and regions. Today's exclaves are a holdover from the Soviet days when Stalin sought to keep the various factions in the area at bay by implementing "divide et impera". The strategy is essentially the same as "divide and conquer." and includes getting local rulers to turn against each other in order to distract them from their conqueror. Another technique is to introduce impediments that divert local resources that could otherwise be used for military revolt. This seems to have been the case here. Farmers living in an exclave who want to sell their crops must deal with hostile border guards, extra transportation costs and tariffs in order to sell their crops back in the mother country. Exclaves are a formidable tool in the divide and rule arsenal.

The exclaves became official in 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union. To keep the map simple, I focused on these five exclaves, four belonging to Uzbekistan and one belonging to Tajikistan. There as many as four more in this region, the Fergana Valley, described by "Chirol" in the Coming Anarchy as, "a virtual archipelago of enclaves". Two of the exclaves are little more than a square kilometer in size and hard to find on many maps. One is described as "the immediate area surrounding a train station". Another might have no inhabitants.

Caesar, Stalin, and Napoleon all made use of divide et impera in their various conquests. Research on the topic led to references to James Madison's 'Federalist Paper No. 10' written in support of the US Constitution (and against the potential for independent states to implement defacto divide and conquer strategies. Madison believed that a strong federal government was key to overcoming the problems of independent factions arguing for their own interests at the expense of others. No. 10 is considered by many to be the most important and influential of the Federalist Papers. According to the Wikipedia entry "Madison argued that a strong, big republic would be a better guard against those dangers than smaller republics". This is a debate that continues today.

During the American Civil War, the South's stated position was not in favor of slavery but in favor of the States' rights to choose. At the end of the day, it was about slavery but arguing for the right of each state to decide on its own is classic "divide and conquer" behavior. This strategy, intentional or not, continues today on topics like healthcare and immigration policy. These are difficult issues. Local control often satisfies local opinions but can keeps an issue from being fully resolved and has the potential to create enclaves of policy.

Sources: The Economist , Webs.com , Wikipedia , Caravanistan