Fareed Zakaria said on CNN a few days ago that the Kenyan Ambassador to the UN gave the best response to Putin’s assertion about national borders. Basically, he said that all the borders in Africa were created by the colonial powers, but Africans have agreed to live with them because the alternative would be endless war.

Murtaza Hussain of The Intercept agreed.

He wrote:

AS EUROPE FACES the grim prospect of a land war on a scale it has not seen since World War II, it was Kenya’s ambassador to the United Nations, Martin Kimani, who delivered a message that struck at the heart of the crisis: a lingering nostalgia for empire.

At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, called to discuss the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Kimani did not just condemn the threat to Ukrainian sovereignty by President Vladimir Putin’s government. He went further, highlighting how an unceasing obsession over territory and borders is continuing to drive violence around the world, long after the European empires that drew those demarcations have vanished from the map. He offered an alternate vision of peace through acceptance of the borders created by the collapse of empires and nations in the 20th century, calling for economic and cultural integration instead.

“Kenya, and almost every African country, was birthed by the ending of empire,” Kimani said. “Our borders were not of our own drawing. They were drawn in the distant colonial metropoles of London, Paris, and Lisbon with no regard for the ancient nations that they cleaved apart. Today, across the border of every single African country live our countrymen with whom we share deep historical, cultural, and linguistic bonds. At independence, had we chosen to pursue states on the basis of ethnic, racial, or religious homogeneity, we would still be waging bloody wars these many decades later. Instead, we agreed that we would settle for the borders we inherited.”

Kimani’s remarks, which went viral on social media and in the African media, also criticized what he called the “dangerous nostalgia” for empire that leads countries to redraw borders by force to reunite with citizens of other nations with whom they share cultural affinity — the exact argument the Russian government has used to justify its invasion of Ukraine in support of Russian speakers there. Instead, Kimani called on Europe to follow the rules of the U.N. charter as the African Union countries have sought to do, respecting the sovereignty of neighboring countries “not because our borders satisfied us, but because we wanted something greater forged in peace.”

Now, let’s do a thought experiment and consider what it would mean if we reverted to the borders of olden times.

We Americans might start by returning Texas to Mexico, as well as large swaths of the Southwest, including the southern half of California.

Then we could give Florida back to Spain.

And if we are being truly considerate of historical claims, we should give everything else back to the Native Americans/American Indians who originally lived on the land.