The Ethics of Secession and Postinvasion Iraq [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 20.1 (Spring 2006)

April 24, 2006

This article outlines the two central theories in the ethics of secession and examines whether or under what conditions these normative theories would be satisfied in a post-invasion Iraq. I argue that the two dominant normative theories of secession focus on the secessionist group, which national self-determination theories conceive as a nation holding a right to self-determination, and just-cause theories conceive as having a remedial right to secession as a victim of injustice. The Iraq case suggests that this is a flawed way of thinking about the issue. I argue that secession is more legitimate when fair multinational arrangements are not on offer; and that the fairness requirement involves examining constitutional arrangements from the point of view of all groups.

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