All constitutions—including our own, as Lysander Spooner pointed out—have similar legitimacy problems. They can nevertheless be useful as restraints on government power and protections against the tyranny of the majority. But it makes no sense to cite one of these documents as a reason to accept a particular government's dominion over a particular territory.
Obama also claims to be "standing up for the principle of state sovereignty." But that principle is little more than deference to the status quo, including the territorial claims of the most brutal and oppressive regimes on earth. And although such deference may help maintain order and discourage war, it tends to fall by the wayside when it proves inconvenient (in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, for example).
In this case, Russia, which controlled Crimea from 1783 until Nikita Khrushchev arbitrarily assigned it to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954, could argue that reversing the transfer upholds the principle of state sovereignty, even as it respects democracy and the right to self-determination. We like all of those things, right?
segunda-feira, março 24, 2014
the Irrelevance of Constitutions
Crimean Secession and the Irrelevance of Ukraine's Constitution por Jacob Sullum: