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Boxing PandoraRethinking Borders, States, and Secession in a Democratic World$
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Timothy William Waters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300235890

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300235890.001.0001

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The Measure of Nations: Testing the Assumptions behind the Classical Rule

The Measure of Nations: Testing the Assumptions behind the Classical Rule

(p.92) 3 The Measure of Nations: Testing the Assumptions behind the Classical Rule
Boxing Pandora

Timothy William Waters

Yale University Press

This chapter examines what people think the prevailing model actually does. The current, classical rule of self-determination is historically bounded: Its borders are history's borders; it favors the outcomes of historical processes over current realities. Under the classical rule, whenever a conflict arises within a state, people are compelled to look for solutions that work within the fixed borders they already have. This constraint is thought to be a virtue. The explicit purpose of the system put in place at the end of the Second World War—territorial integrity, self-determination, human rights, and prohibition of aggression—was to stabilize global politics and reduce the resort to war. Rigid borders were an intentional part of that project. But has that been the result? Have fixed borders produced a more peaceful world? What if territorial integrity has not reduced violence but increased it? To answer these questions, one has to measure the effects of the classical rule. The chapter does that, and suggests borders are not doing what people think they are.

Keywords:   classical rule, self-determination, fixed borders, territorial integrity, human rights, global politics

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