The Kurds in the former Iraq have voted–let them go! The Catalans want to vote–let them! What is this mentality that the borders are sacrosanct? By all means, split these “countries” up into viable entities that can thrive and be trading partners and good neighbors to the Arab part of Iraq, to the rest of Spain, the rest of Europe. Think outside the box! Split Libya up, split up the South Sudan, Syria, the Ukraine and yes, Turkey, the UK, the USA if that’s what the people in one region want. It will be expensive and confusing at first, but then, with good will on all sides, it will be better.
Self-determination has been a watchcry of democracy for eons. The problem is defining at what level the self-determination will take place: the city? the county? the province? There will always be a tension there, but this bullying, chest-thumping attitude has no place in the 21st century. I had a Spanish student who told me that if the Catalans tried to break away he would be there with a gun to make sure they did not. Is it worth even one life to keep the border as it is now? Do we think we’re locked into the political map of the world that exists today? Folks, get out a historical atlas and take a look at the shifting borders over the centuries. There will always be changes and the question should be, how will we facilitate them so that no one gets hurt, no wars flare up, no dictators seize power in wars of aggression.