No Clean Slate: Why the legitimacy of the Security Council isn’t what it used to be

 

If you were to sit down and design a new international organization whose job it was to “maintain international peace and security,” and you came back with the design for the current United Nations Security Council, you would be handed your hat.

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Learning from Catalonia: To secede or not to secede. What criteria should be used to judge the legitimacy of independence bids?

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

The standoff over Catalan secession from Spain continues, with independence leaders in jail and in exile and the Spanish government administering direct rule over Catalonia. The unsettling situation has split not only Catalans and Spaniards, but Europe as a whole. Yet beyond the ongoing pyrotechnics, if we pull back to the ten thousand meter level, we can see that this issue raises a number of bigger questions: When is it appropriate for a region of a larger geopolitical entity to secede? What criteria should be used to decide the legitimacy of an independence bid? These questions are relevant not only for the Catalan situation, but for other regions of Europe where secessionist tensions flare up on a regular basis.

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