And today East Timor is independent. This will not go away. An expensive UN mission was set up and remains to administer that referendum. Seventh, in all recent cases of contested self-determination, the United States is crucial. Kosovo and South Sudan became independent because the US decided it so, and brought the rest of the international community with them. In this realm, the multi-polar world has yet to manifest itself — at least not yet. As a sort of counter to Kosovo, whose independence Moscow formally opposed but in fact privately acquiesced in , Russia encouraged the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Those would-be statelets have been recognised by a grand total of five other countries, including Russian satraps Venezuela and Syria. But whether the determinative importance of the US will endure its current decline of influence is another question. Somaliland is a democracy and a beacon of stability in the wartorn Horn of Africa. It has a strong legal case for statehood as it pre-existed the creation of Somalia.
Its population has voted overwhelmingly for independence. In all that time, it has refused to return to a liberation struggle by military force, despite many provocations including the purported annexation of the territory by Morocco. They have shown depthless patience and commitment to a peaceful resolution. The result? No referendum and little prospect of one. The Frente Polisario was not invited to speak but waited with them outside the private chamber. The SPLM leader stopped by and I made introductions: two liberation leaders meeting, both former guerilla fighters, both demanding independence.
Some lesson, but the very same I had learned in Kosovo. There was a lot of talk but no movement to resolve the question of the independence sought by the majority Kosovo-Albanian population. In , there were deadly riots in Kosovo that were caused, in part, by the intense frustration over that lack of progress. Fourteen people were killed. The province seethed with violence. Various senior officials from the US and EU visited with grave faces. I was there at the time I had been seconded to the UN by the British government and told them: make this place independent or you will get more of this, and worse.
Others said the same. The lesson could hardly be clearer, but perhaps needs spelling out.
Log in to Wiley Online Library
There needs to be some kind of international consensus and forum to address the many, and potentially violent, demands for self-determination across the world. The arbitrary drawing of borders by feckless and inept colonial officials in the Middle East, Africa and Asia has left behind an awful lot of unresolved self-determination crises. Kashmir, a source of conflict between two nuclear-armed countries, is not merely of local interest.
We need some accepted criteria to assess the legitimacy of such demands, including for instance the protection of minorities, non-interference by outside powers and democratic endorsement a requirement for non-violence might also help , and we need a place to talk about them sensibly. Not a court, as these disputes do not lend themselves to legal arbitration.
They are political matters to be resolved by political means: negotiation, negotiation and more negotiation. So this was the advice I gave the independence leader. He took it well, but gravely, for not all these observations were welcome. Although embroiled in war, he is a man of peace and reason. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.
- Better Than Good Hair: The Curly Girl Guide to Healthy, Gorgeous Natural Hair!?
- Systematic Methods of Chemical Process Design.
- Human Nature After Darwin: A Philosophical Introduction (Philosophy and the Human Situation).
- U.S. Relations With Taiwan?
- Logic colloquium 84: Proceedings Manchester, 1984.
- The economic evaluation of projects: papers from a curriculum development workshop?
Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? Try Independent Premium free for 1 month. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more.
The European Revolutions of 1848
Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium.
Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later?
Lessons from Europe's History before the Sovereign State
Try Independent Premium free for 1 month to access this feature. Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile.
- Brexit is a revolt against a German-run European super-state!
- Probabilistic Inequalities (Concrete and Applicable Mathematics).
- James J. Sheehan | AHA.
- The Problem of Sovereignty in European History.
- Stability Without Statehood.
Subscribe Now Subscribe Now. Final Say. Long reads. Lib Dems.
War, Trade, and State Formation
US Politics. Theresa May. Jeremy Corbyn. Robert Fisk. Mark Steel. Janet Street-Porter. John Rentoul. Chuka Ummuna. Shappi Khorsandi.
Gina Miller. Our view.
Sign the petition. Spread the word. Steve Coogan. Rugby union. Motor racing. US sports. Rugby League. Movers List. Geoffrey Macnab. Tech news.
From conflict to compromise: Lessons in creating a state | The Independent
Tech culture. News videos. Learn more.