2019 and 2020 books are in the
Odds and Ends
Brexit to the right
8 7, 2:41am
"Well, why stop with the Aegean Sea? Why not the entire Mediterranean Sea? I mean, the Aegean could be considered a small part of the overall Mediterranean, and since we have the north coast of the Mediterranean in Europe, why not the south coast?"
If you cross from France to Algeria, from Spain to Morocco, Italy to Libya, there is a noticeably HUGE cultural shift. Even a huge physical geographic shift.
If you cross from Athens to Izmir, there is not.
The question obviously becomes, "Where do you draw the line?" Is "Europe" based on physical location, or is it based on culture? No matter where the line is drawn, yes, it'll be completely arbitrary. This much is true. We could go with political borders, declaring that Russia is entirely Europe, (even though it's geographically in Asia),"
There is no definition that describs Russia as geographically in Asia, just that the majority of it is.
" and then arbitrarily decide that Mongolia and Kazakhstan are not Europe "just because", even though they border a European nation."
Mongolia and Kazakhstan border Asian Russia, and in the latter's case kinda sorta European Russia (though not with a populated area on both parts. The major cities and capials of Kaz are deep in Central Asia, and Mongolia isn't even on the table.
You say all this like Russia has to be an either/or proposition, which it doesn't.
"Going back to the second sentence of the preceding paragraph, whether the arbitrary line that is drawn is political, geographic, or cultural, something's going to get cut off in the middle. Like, if we go with the cultural demarcation, do we include East Thrace as part of Europe but not the rest of Turkey, cutting the country into a European and a Middle Eastern part? What about with Russia? The farther east one goes, the farther away from Moscow and the rest of Europe, how culturally European are the locals? In fact, what does it even mean to be "culturally European"? (I don't think there is such a thing as "culturally European" - Europe has many different cultures and subcultures, but there is no overarching culture that is "European". The Portuguese are quite different from the Finns, the Irish from the Ukrainians.)"
I agree with most of this, but perhaps part of my problem is the insistence on demarcation in the first place. Why can't certain countries be considered transitional, both at once. Rather than awkwardly tossed this way or that way.
"And for a geographic/geologic interpretation, using water as a border has been done for countless generations. Mountains, too."
Yes, but usually with actual importance and heft to them. I've been to the Bosphorus, its not remarkable as a border in the slightest. No more than the lower Hudson river anyway.
"You're absolutely right. It is silly. What's also silly is including a large portion of a country that is not European in the EU "
Your all over the place here. You were talking about how the cultural definition is vague and subjective, and that the Bosphorus if anything was just a convenient bit of unimportant standard setting, and yet all of a sudden now Turkey can't join the EU because "it isn't in Europe". This is completely inconsistent. By your own arguments you have no reason to sharply exclude the nation of Turkey from the EU, you refused (even here) to exclude it culturally, and the idea that the semi-arbitrary physical standard decides the fates of a matter of human geography is completely ridiculous. The logic your following isn't leaning toward exclusion, and it's self admitted shallow grounds for it.
"Since whatever decision is made will end up being arbitrary, I say we combine the political and geographic aspects. Exclude Turkey and Russia from "Europe", and let the rest of the western nations on the Eurasian Plate (plus Iceland, and Greenland if they want) be "Europe"."
Except there's a little issue here that above all else highlights the absurdity of Turkey being excluded.
Malta and most of all Cyprus are in the EU. And are not on the Eurasian plate. Malta at least has heavy proximity to Italy, Cyprus isn't even close to Greece by the distance standards of the region. The majority of Turkey is farther northwest toward Europe than it is.