State Formation: When Power, Legitimacy, and Action Align or Collide
Arend, Anthony C.
Self-determination claims to statehood continue to be the basis for war, strife and contention. Often state power interests can either align or collide with legitimacy claims for self-determination. How, when and why is the noise made by such claimants accorded the space to become the voice of legitimate political aspirations, and under what conditions can the legitimated actors then attain their objectives of statehood? What are the international costs of failure? This research will study whether or not in the post Cold War era, the success of the formation of a new state depends on the nexus of two determinants, namely, state power interests and legitimacy of self-determination claim. The latter variable, legitimacy, is analyzed as an outcome of a dynamic process of legitimation grounded in both international law and communicative action, and how that process may impact identities and interests of all stakeholders including power states. This is being called the legitimacy-power gap model of self-determination legitimation. To assess this hypothesis, the model will be applied to the success cases of East Germany and East Timor, and the quasi-success case of Kosovo. The findings discerned will be considered within the context of the case of Palestine. Finally, the trajectories of the self-determination legitimation processes of these case studies will be juxtaposed to discern possible causes of success or failure and implications for ongoing and future self-determination claims.
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