The Right to Self-Determination in International Law and Practice

I delivered this brief talk to a Model UN conference at Dartmouth on March 28. Here is the text of my remarks. ************************************************************************************************************** My topic for tonight is "The Right to Self-Determination in International Law and Practice." The right to self-determination is one of the most controversial concepts in international relations today. The government of … Continue reading The Right to Self-Determination in International Law and Practice

The Five Biggest Myths About Secession

With the ongoing tension over Russia's annexation of Crimea, now would be a good time to talk about the biggest myths people believe about the origins of secessionist movements around the world (even though Crimea is a case of irredentism not secessionism). Myth: Secession is contagious. Back in the 1990s, journalists worried a lot that … Continue reading The Five Biggest Myths About Secession

Quote of the Day

What’s most interesting about this new international order is how the world’s rogue states and flouters of international legal norms are deploying the language of the human rights community with gusto to achieve their revisionist ends. That's from this piece at by Lionel Beehner. I recommend the whole thing, even though I would answer … Continue reading Quote of the Day

Morning Links

Catalans reject comparison with Crimea (WSJ) Your humble servant is quoted therein. Mike Konczal tries to persuade us that Social Security and unemployment insurance make sense. To my mind, his chief errors are the equivocation between, on the one hand, private charity and mutual aid, and on the other, social insurance and poor relief (redistribution). … Continue reading Morning Links

Liberty in the Belly of the Beast

Rand Paul traveled to Berkeley to give a speech yesterday, where he received a standing applause ( likely becoming the first person to get this reception at CPAC and at Berkeley) As Carla Marinucci (SFGate) notes: Cheered by a youthful audience in one of the country's most liberal enclaves, Sen. Rand Paul - one … Continue reading Liberty in the Belly of the Beast

What Would a Negotiated Settlement to the Crimean Crisis Look Like?

On Monday, Russia made a non-serious offer to settle the ongoing Crimean crisis. The key points involved international recognition of Crimea's annexation by Russia, military neutrality and federalization of Ukraine, and establishment of Russian as a second state language of Ukraine. The offer is not serious because it would give Russia far more than it … Continue reading What Would a Negotiated Settlement to the Crimean Crisis Look Like?

A Pariah State

Today Vladimir Putin signed a treaty with the self-styled independent government of Crimea, annexing Crimea to Russia. I did not see this coming. It is an unprecedented deviation from the post-World War 2 international norm that force and the threat of force shall not be used for conquest. Article 2 of the United Nations Charter … Continue reading A Pariah State

Quote of the Weekend

From Meet the Press (March 16): GREGORY: You know, when we deal with Vladimir Putin, this issue of hypocrisy comes up. And the United Nations spoke of this this week. The United Nations pointedly criticized the U.S.' human rights record over drone strikes, NSA surveillance, the death penalty. Does it make it hard to deal … Continue reading Quote of the Weekend

Why So Little Decentralization?

Some of these developing countries are both huge and ethnically and regionally diverse, India and Indonesia most notably. One might think that these governments would have even more reason to decentralize than would the governments of comparatively homogeneous Western democracies. Therefore, the relative lack of decentralization in developing countries remains a puzzle.

Keep and Fix

Jonathan Chait has an interesting piece on the “keep and fix” solution for Obamacare (New York Magazine).  One of the more interesting points: the parts of the Affordable Care Act that people like the most are also the parts that are least widely recognized as being part of Obamacare. Example: 81 percent have a favorable … Continue reading Keep and Fix

What Does FL-13 Mean?

The special election in the FL-13 U.S. House district has apparently been won by Republican David Jolly.  Here is what Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics had to say about this race before voting ended: My sense is that the Democratic candidate, former state chief financial officer and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink, will probably win. … Continue reading What Does FL-13 Mean?

Climate Change and the Oil Barons

The Senate spent last night—all night—focusing attention on climate change and the need for new legislation. As The Hill reports, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the opportunity to attack the Koch brothers: “It's time to stop acting like those who ignore this crisis — the oil baron Koch brothers and their allies in Congress … Continue reading Climate Change and the Oil Barons

Crimea: Competing Homelands

Russia's annexation of Crimea, de facto or de jure, is likely to spur violence in the peninsula. "Crimean Tatar representative" in Lviv, Ukraine Alim Aliyev is quoted as saying, "Tatars will launch a guerrilla war against the Russian forces if they do not pack up and leave the region." While he could be communicating a … Continue reading Crimea: Competing Homelands

Any Surprises?

With midterm elections approaching, the White House has again delayed some of the more unpopular portions of the Affordable Care Act. As the NYT reports, the announced delays go much further than the earlier reprieves, “essentially stalling for two more years one of the central tenets of the much-debated law, which was supposed to eliminate … Continue reading Any Surprises?

Quote of the Weekend

My favorite quote from this weekend came from Secretary of State John Kerry (Meet the Press, March 2). The subject: Russia and the Ukraine. This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It's really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century... you just don't invade another country on phony … Continue reading Quote of the Weekend

“Infiltrating municipal and state elective office to make radical and anarchistic changes”

Are libertarians and classical liberals who move to New Hampshire radical extremist anarchist colonizing subversive treasonous subhuman alien life forms? There's been some nasty politics in Bedford, New Hampshire, where a member of the local political establishment has been hurling epithets on his cable access show at two locals of libertarian views who moved to … Continue reading “Infiltrating municipal and state elective office to make radical and anarchistic changes”

What’s Happening in Ukraine Is Irredentist Interstate Conflict, Not Secessionism (updated) reports that the majority of the Crimean parliament did not vote in favor of a referendum on independence, but that armed men prevented a quorum from attending, allowing a pro-Russian rump to pass the measure. (For my translation, I am relying on Jacek Rostowski on Twitter.) In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian crowds face determined Ukrainian … Continue reading What’s Happening in Ukraine Is Irredentist Interstate Conflict, Not Secessionism (updated)