Scotland Can Break the World

This week I asked, Can Scotland Break the World?

George Friedman of Stratfor says yes indeed, Scotland can break the world.

Scottish Independence Would Shake Up the Global System
The Scottish issue -- the claim that the Scots are a separate nation and that all nations have a right to self-determination -- simply cannot be asterisked. Having this happen in the heart of Western Europe would set a clear precedent that would expand geographically and conceptually. It would legitimize similar movements globally and force a reconsideration of what a nation is. Ultimately, a nation would be whatever the majority says it is.

U.S. foreign policy explicitly supports separatism and U.S. policy is Western policy and to some extent global policy where the U.S. can apply pressure. The U.S. opposes separatism when it doesn't suit it, such as in the Ukraine currently or within its own borders, but the U.S. has no inoculation against separatist movements per se, rather the U.S. declares separatist movements invalid if it opposes U.S. interests (this includes internal secession movements) or U.S. ideology. For example, if for some reason a nation wanted to break away and form a monarchy for whatever reason, the U.S. would probably oppose it unless it furthered U.S. interests.

Still, the default U.S. position is the Wilsonian position of self-determination. A successful Scottish independence vote will reignite nationalist movements in Canada, Spain, Belgium and Italy to name a few with extant or developing separatist movements. It will also breathe life into the growing separatist movement in the United States, which is not driven by geography, but by ideology. The emerging political debate in the U.S. will not be over voice——giving people a say in politics——but the right of exit, the ability to leave the current political arrangement and form a new one. Or as the Declaration put it, "...it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..." This new debate is not about borders entirely, it is also about allowing choice in government (where possible) within a single jurisdiction.

The Right of Exit
I argue that a right of exit is important in order to limit government power. I sometimes think that what kept the U.S. government small in the early 19th century was not so much the Constitution as the fact that people kept leaving the then-current United States for adjacent territories. The option to exit would have made it quite difficult for government to grow large and intrusive.

1 comment:

  1. Also what limited the power of the government was that we were a union of essentially independent states (countries), rather than just one giant country with various lines in the sand we call "states" (provinces).

    If you didn't like the nutjobs running your state you just took a wagon to the one next door - this is now impossible since every state is almost identical except for a few minor differences (state income & sales taxes, both of which are dwarfed by massive federal taxes). And because every other country in the world has closed its borders, its almost impossible to immigrate without paying millions of dollars or getting a second useless college degree.