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Split spats

August 15, 2008

Re "The Pandora's box of sovereignty," Opinion, Aug. 13

Thomas Meaney and Harris Mylonas' reasons for being cautious in supporting independence movements throughout the world expose a double standard not in U.S. foreign policy but in themselves.

To argue that we had a right to an independence movement in 1776 but future peoples do not because they must pass our individual-rights litmus test is not only paternalistic but arrogant. Every independence movement in the world today is based on ethnicity or religion.

I can't think of a more acceptable reason for independence than a distinct ethnic or religious group seeking self-determination.

Douglas Coronel

Canyon Country

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Suppose Cuban Americans in Miami decided to secede from Florida. Suppose they were encouraged to do so by Brazil, which provided them with arms. Finally, suppose this "ethnic minority" used those arms against other Floridians. The U.S. Army then was sent into Florida to quell this uprising, only to be criticized -- by Brazil no less -- for overreacting. Suppose.

Meaney and Mylonas have it right. Once borders are up for grabs, tribalism trumps nations, with dire results.

Al Meyerhoff

Studio City

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