A timely and provocative challenge to the foundations of our global order: why should national borders be unchangeable?
The inviolability of national borders is an unquestioned pillar of the post–World War II international order. Fixed borders are supposed to encourage stability, promote pluralism, and discourage nationalism and intolerance. But do they? What if fixed borders create more problems than they solve, and what if permitting people to change borders would create more stability and produce more just societies? Legal scholar Timothy Waters examines this possibility, showing how we arrived at a system of rigidly bordered states and how the real danger to peace is not the desire of people to form new states but the capacity of existing states to resist that desire, even with violence. He proposes a practical, democratically legitimate alternative: a right of secession. With crises ongoing in the United Kingdom, Spain, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, India, and many other regions, this reassessment of the foundations of our global order is more relevant than ever.
Timothy William Waters is professor of law and associate director of the Center for Constitutional Democracy at Indiana University. Author of numerous scholarly articles and op-eds on international law and politics, he also edited The Milošević Trial: An Autopsy.
“Written with the logical and stringent approach of a legal scholar, the book offers an analysis of the underlying assumptions and processes of first the current system and then his alternative proposal.”—Sara Svensson, European Political Science
"Tim Waters’ book is truly audacious, offering a full-throated—and fully thought out—defense of what might be termed secession-at-will. The book merits discussion, especially as secessionist movements around the world become more significant."—Sanford Levinson, author of An Argument Open to All: Reading The Federalist in the 21st Century
"Boxing Pandora provides a fresh, compelling and elegant treatment of a consequential question: What ground rules should govern separatist claims? Policy-makers, diplomats, and opinion leaders will rethink assumptions they had long thought unshakable, and general interest readers will savor its invigorating argument and captivating style."—Diane Orentlicher, American University Washington College of Law
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