Many of the central challenges in international law arise from bad relationships between regions and the nations in which they are located. Some scholars and advocates argue for a right of remedial secession for regions facing oppression. Should states be able to claim an analogous right of “remedial expulsion” against malefactor regions? If it is an act of “self-determination” for the people of a region to leave a nation against the nation’s wishes, is the same thing true when they wish to stay against its wishes? Since acquisition and possession of territory is no longer the national priority it once was, can nations simply let go of undesirable regions — including former colonial outposts — that are proving too expensive? We argue that the traditional rules, based on the acceptance in international law of the legitimacy of imperial conquest, should be modified with a market-type system that permits forced secession in some circumstances, but imposes a penalty on the expelling nation. 




Joseph Blocher & G. Mitu Gulati, Forced Secessions, 80 Law & Contemporary Problems, 215–247 (2017).