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Recognizing StatesInternational Society and the Establishment of New States Since 1776$
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Mikulas Fabry

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199564446

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199564446.001.0001

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New States in the Post‐Cold War Period

New States in the Post‐Cold War Period

(p.179) Chapter 6 New States in the Post‐Cold War Period
Recognizing States

Mikulas Fabry (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 reveals how developments of the last twenty years have expanded norms of state recognition beyond the ex‐colonial world, as evidenced in the dissolutions of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Recent recognition practice reveals two major problems with self‐determination as positive international right. First, since the right cannot be universal for obvious practical reasons, its necessarily selective application is paradoxically bound to result in the denial of popular will. Those peoples who beyond any reasonable doubt have relinquished loyalty to a particular state are nevertheless obliged to remain part of that state, such as the people of Bosnia. At the same time, recent practice has excluded from recognition peoples who have actually managed to form and maintain their own de facto states, such as the peoples of Somaliland. Second, unqualified insistence on the positive right of self‐determination is bound to undermine the basic reason for sovereignty: self‐government. States whose governments are unable to thwart secessions yet do not consent to loss of any of their territory are destined to endure permanently unsettled domestic conflict (e.g., Georgia) or to require coercive intervention and massive, long‐lasting foreign involvement to keep them together (e.g., Bosnia).

Keywords:   self‐determination, positive right, popular will, intervention, conflict, de facto statehood

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