According to NPR, “Southern Sudan’s referendum commission said Sunday that more than 99 percent of voters in the south opted to secede from the country’s north in a vote held earlier this month.” The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the move was not only supported but facilitated by the U.S. government:
The Obama team … offered to ease restrictions if [northern Sudanese leader Omar] el-Bashir permitted elections in the south, called for in a 2005 cease-fire treaty but endlessly delayed. After a string of high-level visits and talks, the deal was struck. The north would allow the vote, all but certain to yield succession because of long-standing grievances in the south. In exchange, the White House would lift restrictions and ease the way for expanded relations.
I suspect that many U.S. citizens view the actions of the southern Sudanese and of the U.S. government as morally permissible, if not morally preferable — or, perhaps, even morally obligatory. Given the history of the U.S., however, these events raise an interesting question: Under what conditions is it morally permissible for citizens to secede?