Courtesy Reuters

In international politics, sovereignty still rules. Recent crises in Kosovo, Georgia, and Gaza are reminders that recognition as a sovereign state is the golden ring that political leaders hope to grasp. Recognition offers even small and weak communities a wealth of benefits, including international status, diplomatic protection, possible control over natural resources, seignorage (the right to print money and sell other assets such as flags of convenience and Internet domain names), and access to foreign aid from richer states and international financial institutions. 

International recognition is not contingent on such physical attributes as geographic size or population. Nor does it

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