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America the breakup artist

US support for partition movements is opening a can of worms.

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Sovereignty and territorial integrity are sacred concepts to every nation. Without them, the basis for international relations crumbles. That's why it's so troubling that the United States is in effect stimulating a partition movement across the globe.

Washington's encouragement of Kosovo's split from Serbia, its consideration of a possible Sunni-Shiite-Kurd spatial separation in Iraq, and its vigorous support for Taiwan demonstrate America's penchant for promoting – or at least sanctioning – partition.

Such policies are a product of America's "freedom agenda." Promoting democracy worldwide often means supporting efforts for greater independence and self-determination. But taken too far, Washington ends up embracing partition – and opening a Pandora's box.

The good news is that the US has an opportunity to correct course in South America. Just this past Sunday, Bolivians in two states voted overwhelmingly for autonomy measures. The vote echoes the result from a similar referendum recently in the eastern state of Santa Cruz.

Proponents see it as upholding autonomy. The government deems the ballots illegal and separatist.

The US strategic signal should be clear and loud: Partition is neither good nor welcome in the Western Hemisphere. It should also make clear that autonomy is not the same thing as secession.

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