– The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says there are 206 Nations
– The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has 211 nations
– Lonely planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, lists 221 Countries.
– While the majority of people use the United Nations list of Member States, this list is also the most disputed list. United Nations says there are 206 states, with 187 non-disputed member states, 6 disputed member states, 1 observer non-disputed states and 1 disputed observer state and 2 non-disputed other states and 9 disputed other states.
The most fair and reasonable way to list countries is to include all 206 listed states in the United Nations, all 206 Olympic Nations, all 211 FIFA Nations and all 221 Lonely Planet Countries. If you combine all of these, you get 236 Countries. This is the fairest and least political way to list countries.
There are still places that want/claim independence missing on the list like Kurdistan, Catalonia, and Crimean Peninsula, but the line must be drawn somewhere.