Fairness to 'Peoples' and their Right to Self-Determination
The explosion of nationalities, which is dividing countries with many ethnic groups, is a new challenge to peace and security.
The beginning of the last decade of the twentieth century has seen the end of a distinct era in international relations. Such a change usually heralds a forthcoming transformation in international law.
The departing era, encompassing the years 1945-1990, was defined by two major historic tendencies: the cold war and third world decolonization. Together, these dominated world politics after the end of World War Two and each helped to transform the normative structure which is international law. During that era, both politics and law had to address important issues: how to manage and restrain the direct and indirect use of potentially devastating force, how to promote the demands of colonies for independence, how to respond to newly insistent calls for justice--between states, persons, and generations--in the distribution of a burgeoning cache of goods and in the conservation of dwindling resources.
None of these issues has been fully resolved, but they now re-emerge in a new political context which may require new normative guidance.
With the advent of the 1990s, a new era began. The cold war had ended and the decolonization of the third world had been virtually accomplished. While the direct and indirect use of force continued and even accelerated, and while conflicting justice-based claims to land, water, air, and their resources proceed unabated, these perennial conflicts now began to appear in a new political context: the global phenomenon of postmodern neo-tribalism.
Why postmodern? Because the revival of the sentiment for tribal self- determination in the 1990s is a direct challenge to what had hitherto-- rightly or wrongly--been widely perceived as an irresistible modernist trend____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Fairness in International Law and Institutions. Contributors: Thomas M. Franck - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 140.
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