“Successor to a sinister inheritance, reared among fierce conditions and moving through ferocious times, he supplied those qualities of action and personality without which the foundations of Irish nationhood would not have been re-established.”
– Winston Churchill describing Michael Collins
Secession is the rule and not the exception throughout history.
Uti possidetis juris, as it stands at the present, is based on two ideas: self-determination and the non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. It emanates from the Treaty of Westphalia and flows forward in history. The Treaty is often cited as a touchstone of First Generation Warfare. In the end, all secession comes down to self-determination at the lowest level. Many in libertarian circles, including myself, insist that secession begins at the atomistic level and succeeds from there. The very distillate of secession is the freedom to choose and opt-out from circumstances that negate your ability to be free.
So the Queen is concerned that a Scottish secession would change the United Kingdom? The First Flatulence in the White House is wondering why the IS fighters are refusing to recognize Western-penciled borders? The Ukraine and Russia fight over a partition that serves one or the other. In the last disagreement, the US is firmly in the camp of keeping the statist quo intact. This in spite of official flip-flopping on when secession is good and when it isn’t..
One of the reasons the US has such a conflicted relationship with secession is the muddled history that teaches contemporary Americans that secession is bad after the American Revolution (1775-83); the divorce from the UK then was good but the Confederate aspirations to mimic that success would not be tolerated under any conditions. Similar displeasure was expressed at Texan ambitions to separate from the Union and all succeeding secessionist movements within the US have been discouraged and crushed where necessary. Silly wankers in Alaska actually wanted to put it to a vote; this was, of course, declared illegal by the Federal courts.
The US frowns on secession when it suits their needs and encourages it otherwise such as the wholesale calving of the former USSR and Yugoslavia in the last decade of the twentieth century. With few exceptions, most nation states, particularly in the West, fight the calving off of constituent parts. While I would be hard-pressed to justify any military intervention by the US since 1893, a brief look at the adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan provide many primers on how not to conduct a conflict. Both cases show a dogged determination to maintain Western-penciled borders in the aforementioned countries agnostic to tribal and blood clan division that make the forced cohabitation a powder keg in the best of times.
Afghanistan is an imaginary country and during my year-long sojourn there in 2013, a mere dozen years after the American folly began in 2001, no western country much less the Afghans themselves could settle on the total number of districts or provinces in the country. The infrastructure was still fifth world and the absurd dysfunction of all the security forces made light of the six districts in solid Taliban control since 2001. Outside of Kabul, the central government doesn’t exist except in the raw form of brute violence visited by government security forces in concert with the NATO ground forces’ occasional forays outside heavily Westernized compounds or ill-conceived operating bases located at the bottom of valleys.