Courtesy Reuters


In the twentieth century, the great powers allocated territories and permitted the creation of new states on the basis of the Wilsonian principle of self-determination. They invoked ethnic principles for the equitable distribution of territories. The central element in this approach was the division of territories. Yet most of the national and ethnic conflicts that remain today cannot be settled by changing the boundaries of states to give each national community a state of its own.

States bent on extinguishing smoldering embers of ethnic strife without the traumatic surgery of secession must make it possible for restive nations

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