What we know so far…
There are three competing parties. We have the Khemedians, the Syldavians and the Bordurians. All of them, for different reasons, want to be the exclusive sovereign over Khemed.
They have all realised that fighting or going to war would not bring about a good outcome for any of them. In fact, they would waste precious time and many of their valuable resources, including people. They have concluded that cooperation in finding a solution is the best way to proceed. And they have agreed that for different reasons, all three parties have at least a colourable claim over Khemed. From there, they all accepted to be part of the negotiations in which they will finally decide who the sovereign is.
Before going into the negotiations, the parties will have many questions. Amongst these questions we may have:
- Who will represent each population?
- What kind of procedure will the negotiations follow?
- How are the representatives going to allocate the sovereignty over Khemed? Only to one of them? To some? To all?
- If the representatives decided to allocate the sovereignty to only one of the parties, would the others receive any sort of compensation?
- If the representatives decided to divide the sovereignty amongst them, how would they do it? Would they opt for equality or for different shares of sovereignty?
We may think of many other questions. However, we can already see the parties in the negotiations over sovereignty will have to deal with many points. Not only is that because we have more than one party but also because sovereignty is a multi-level concept that includes aspects related to many areas such as territory, people, government and law. From there, the representatives in the negotiations will have to agree on issues relates to exploration and exploitation of natural resources, borders, defence, human rights, immigration, criminal law, language, and many others. Indeed, we all belong to plural societies. Pluralism is a fact and has to be addressed when discussing the sovereignty of any populated territory.
Negotiations: We need representatives
In order to start the negotiations about the sovereignty over Khemed each party will have to select their representatives. That is to say, Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria will have to conduct internal procedures and select who will represent them in the negotiations. Each party is completely independent of the other. From there, each party will follow its internal procedure without any interference from the other two.
Once Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria select their representatives the negotiations will start. A main problem the representatives will face is that unless they are all impartial, each of them will result in simply supporting the claim of the party whom they represent. That is to say, the Kemedian representative will want a decision that guarantees the best possible outcome for Khemed. Similarly, the Syldavian representative will want to reach an agreement in which Syldavia takes it all. And finally, the Bordurian representative will try to make sure that Borduria is the one resulting in the complete holder of the sovereignty over Khemed. With this in mind, how can we make sure these representatives avoid taking a stance only because they aim to reach an agreement by which the party whom they represent result in the sole winner?
These pages have to do with an imaginary story, one in which three peoples the Khemedians, the Syldavians and the Bordurians have selected representatives amongst them to go into negotiations in order to decide the sovereignty over Khemed. Because this is an imaginary story and therefore, the negotiations are also imaginary, we can think of any condition the representatives will have to comply with. Because the main problem we can identify for these negotiations will be the fact that each representative will take side and think only of the peoples they represent, let us neutralise this point. How? Simply by assuming the representatives will not know whom they represent.
In short, the representatives of the three populations: Khemed, Syldavia, and Borduria, will go into the negotiations without knowing whom they represent but with access to any other information about the three parties, their claims, and anything and everything related to Khemed and its sovereignty. By proceeding in this way, we attain two very important things.
First, none of the parties represented in the negotiations will be in a better position at the set out since they all have access to the same information and none of the representatives can take a biased stance. This way of proceeding guarantees that none of the parties is in a comparatively better or worse situation when presenting the information in the negotiations. This information will be explored, examined and evaluated by impartial representatives.
Second, all the parties are represented and therefore, all the voices will be heard and all the parties will have a vote in the final agreed decision. That means that although the representatives do not know whom they represent, they still do know that all the parties are being represented.
Finally, it is important to make evident that the outcome will be a decision in relation to the sovereignty over Khemed only. All the representatives know this. Whether the parties have quantitative and/or qualitative differences amongst them will not be taken into account by the representatives. For example, we know Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria have different levels of development, different means of defence, their populations are different in size, also their territories, and their capacity to explore and exploit natural resources, and many other. Any quantitative and/or qualitative difference amongst the parties have to do with issues that are independent of the sovereignty conflict or dispute and will not form part of the negotiations.
Having made clear who may be part of the negotiations (colourable claim), who may represent Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria, the facts these representatives know and will not know, the next post will introduce the way in which the representatives select a rule to allocate the sovereignty over Khemed.
Jorge Emilio Núñez
05th October 2017