Be Careful What Precedents You Set…
August 14, 2008
Bingo. We must learn that consistency in our positions, even unpopular though they may be, will win us more friends, and lead to more predictable relations with ally and rival alike.
…This will echo in places other than the Balkans and the Caucasus, however. The lesson separatists took from Kosovo is that any ethnic group has a right to secede from a sovereign nation simply by being different from their countrymen. As Meany and Mylonas note, that could apply to almost every nation in the world, including the US, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, France, Germany, and so on. That precedent undermines the concept of sovereignty as understood since at least the Peace of Westphalia, and leads the world into dangerous territory, especially in an age of terrorism.
Ed Morrissey nails this analysis. Don’t set precedents, even when it’s a “unique” situation.