SELF-DETERMINATION: PEOPLE'S WILL OR STRATEGIC INTEREST?
Self-determination is an international norm which has developed relatively recently. It is an important basis for human rights and democracy, having greatly contributed to ending colonialism and apartheid. One striking aspect of this norm is that its interpretation and application are extremely diverse, and have evolved over time, intertwining international politics and law. In other words, the concept is multi-faceted and contains a significant degree of ambiguity, leading to a tendency of
... o a tendency of each actor to interpret and utilize it for their own interests. 1 Ambiguity pervades many aspects of this concept. Who is the "self": people, nation or state? What are the subject and scope of the determination? How can the determination be attained, and under what conditions? These are not only philosophical or legal questions, but also crucial questions for international security, as many armed conflicts have been and still are fought under the manifestation of self-determination. One of the recent examples is the annexation of Crimea by Russia, which has caused serious concern in the international community. 2 This article analyzes how self-determination has been perceived and applied, focusing on strategic interests. In addition, several cases are studied to provide suggestions for attaining self-determination in a more harmonious way.