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I would generally support the self-determination principle provided that

  • The area is of reasonable size
  • The area is reasonably contiguous
  • The government follows some minimal standards for a good government, such as allowing certain rights
  • The new government is specifically willing to respect the rights of people within its control who don't agree to the self-determination
  • If the old government respects rights, and the area agrees on self-determination because of an invasion, settlement, genocide, or other acts that the old government considers illegal, I would impose a waiting period long enough that the people who did the invasion (etc.) are mostly dead, so that nobody would be encouraged to invade or commit genocide by the prospect of getting land.

Also, self-determination doesn't mean that other countries aren't allowed to go to war with you if you attack them.

The devil is in the details. What size is a “reasonable" size? What is the definition of “reasonably contiguous”? How do you set minimal standards for a good government before the territory even has an official government?
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