Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breaking Up is hard to do...

 (International Law doesn't require Neil Sedaka, but why not...)

In 2011 the world's map has changed. A surprising amount, in fact. 2011 saw the emergence of South Sudan onto the world stage, the failure of Palestine to be accepted to UN Membership - though Palestine is now a UNESCO member - and lots of unhappy (but now largely frozen) conflicts rumbling on (e.g. Balochistan, Kurdistan, West Papua, Puntland, Somaliland, Transnistria, Tibet, and East Turkestan, to name but a few). In other words, the international system is anything but static; the problem is that our international legal system makes it quite difficult.

Given that finding a route out of these otherwise intractable conflicts, this constitutes a problem. A major problem, in fact.

(Fwags required. Honestly!)

But, I hear you cry - "Tobbes, so what? This stuff has been going on for years. And?"

And that's fine. There's clearly more to this independence business than designing a flag and starting a pro-independence party, with the option of having a small war (or indeed a large one) to get your people's freedom. But the problems are significant:

     - How does the outside world decide who to back?
     - What is the territory that needs to be "liberated"?
     - What role is there for democracy?
     - Is a simple majority enough?
     - Who gets to vote?
     - What guarantees are in place for the minorities that are likely to remain in any secession?*
     - How are these enforced?
     - Ultimately, What is "Justice"?

The questions go on and on.

Which is good, as ideally I'd like to do some PhD work on this at some point. Thoughts, anyone?

 (But it does work, occasionally.) 

*We're assuming here that mass population movements are no longer being contemplated - Turkey / Greece in 1922/23 and India / Pakistan in 1947 are experiments that don't need repeating.

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