I've seen a few questions along the lines of "Can a country do X".

Most recently, this one.

The answer to every single one of these is always going to be yes unless the following conditions apply.

  • They're bound by a treaty and aren't willing to break it.
  • They can't physically/technologically do it.
  • Another country prevents them from doing it by force or other means.
  • Their own citizens otherthrow the regime and prevent the action taking place.

Given that (IMHO at least) the above premise is true, surely these questions don't really add anything to the site.

Perhaps we should create one canonical answer for this and just close the rest as dupes of that?

1 Answer 1


I think you're phrasing that type of question a bit too literally. A more interesting way of phrasing it would be:

What, if anything, prevents a country from doing X?

While the four reasons you mention are good starting points, actual answers should be more specific. For example, we'd want to know which treaties exactly apply or how and why another country would prevent one from doing X.

As such, I don't see how you'd be able to create a canonical answer that gives enough detail to answer more specific duplicate questions. So, no, I wouldn't say this type of question is off-topic.


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