About Omniatlas

Influence and Control

There are two kinds of man: the ones who make history and the ones who endure it.

- Camilo Jose Cela

One of the goals of Omniatlas is to try to provide an objective and timeless display of political power. To that end we have a check system to determine whether or not a given country is under another's influence or control.

In Omniatlas, a political entity is considered to be fully independent if it is self-governing, manages its own foreign relations, has complete rule over a territory, and is not under the authority of an outside power. If it fails in one of these points, it is considered to be under the influence of another power. If it fails in two or more, it is considered to be under another power's control.

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Figure 1. The independence of Canada: In 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion with its own armed forces. However Britain still retained control over its foreign policy and held legislative authority, so at this stage Canada is not considered independent. Following World War I, Canada asserted its independence by signing the 1919 Treaty of Versailles separately to Britain. From this point on, Canada was in charge of its foreign relations and thus had three of our four signs of sovereignty, marking it as an independent country under British influence. That last vestige of British influence, the ability to legislate for Canada, was abolished with the signing of the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Canada was now a fully independent country, albeit one that still held pro-British sympathies.

These four signs are based on the classical definition of a sovereign state, except that a sovereign state must have a permanent population and defined borders. By eliminating these last two conditions, we allow for a definition of sovereignty which covers not just states but factions, tribes, insurgents, and other independent political organizations.

Self-government

Who is the government?

If representatives of an outside power occupy the highest levels of political power, a polity is considered to lack self-government.

Foreign relations

Who signs treaties? Who determines war and peace?

If an outside power conducts or supervises its foreign relations, a polity is considered to lack control over its foreign relations.

Territorial control

Who are the police?

If an outside power handles law enforcement, a polity is considered to lack territorial control.

Ultimate authority

Who is the real power?

If an outside power has either the legal right to or the unbroken precedent of writing laws and overriding governmental decisions, a polity lacks ultimate authority.