States, Nations, and Borders: The Ethics of Making Boundaries

States, Nations, and Borders: The Ethics of Making Boundaries

States, Nations, and Borders: The Ethics of Making Boundaries

States, Nations, and Borders: The Ethics of Making Boundaries

Synopsis

This volume examines comparatively the views and principles of seven prominent ethical traditions on the issue of the making of state and national boundaries. The traditions represented are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, natural law, Confucianism, liberalism and international law. Each contributor is an expert within one of these traditions and demonstrates how that tradition can handle the five dominant methods of altering state and national boundaries: conquest, settlement, purchase, inheritance and secession. Readers range from upper-level undergraduates to scholars in philosophy, political science, international relations and comparative religion.

Excerpt

Allen Buchanan and Margaret Moore

This volume is concerned with one of the most pressing issues facing us today: the making and unmaking of boundaries. Even in this age of globalization – by which is usually meant capital mobility, extremely rapid methods of transportation and communication, the liberalization of economic markets, the advance of multinational corporations to many parts of the globe, and increased global economic trade – boundaries are enormously important. It matters to people’s education, level of health, opportunities and lifeprospects, rights and liberties which states they live in. People who migrate from one area of jurisdictional authority to another often taken great risks: Some prospective migrants die in the attempt. the coercive power of the state is often employed to prevent the migration of people across boundaries, and some states expend huge sums of money on military hardware and large armies and sacrifice their soldiers’ lives, mainly in defense of existing boundaries.

One of the most destabilizing aspects of the post-Cold War period has been the alteration of boundaries, which takes place outside the rule of law and often by force. For nearly fifty years following the end of the Second World War, there was only one successful case of secession – Bangladesh, which was created out of a separatist movement, and in unique circumstances, particularly since its secession was supported both militarily and politically by India. Since the end of the Cold War, a number of new states have been created in the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Czechoslovakia, and there is little prospect of boundary stability and peace in the ethnically mixed, recently independent states of the first three regions, as there are a number of secessionist groups seeking to further carve them up. the former Soviet Union has become fifteen new states, and there are armed state-seeking groups in Chechnya, as well as the Crimeans in the Ukraine, and the Abkhazians and South Ossetians in Georgia. East Timor has won independence from Indonesia, and the Acehnese and West Papuans are agitating for similar, separate status. the former Yugoslavia has been . . .

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