International law and politics have long distrusted secession, viewing it as chaotic, destabilizing and illiberal. But what if unchanging borders are the problem? Drawing on his forthcoming book, and drawing on the continuing dispute over Kosovo, Waters examines the untested assumptions behind the current orthodoxy around borders, argues that a more flexible approach to secession might actually reduce instability and violence, and be more consistent with European values of justice and subsidiarity. As the Kosovo example suggests, a more flexible regime is also politically possible.
“Timothy William Waters is a professor of international law at Indiana University. A graduate of Harvard Law School and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a former Humboldt Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut in Heidelberg, he teaches and writes on international criminal law, conflict, and the formation of states. His book ‘Boxing Pandora: Rethinking Borders, States and Secession for a Democratic World’ will be published by Yale University Press this fall.”