Almost twenty years ago the American political scientist Stephen Krasner wrote a book entitled Sovereignty. But what was most telling about it was the sub-title, “organised hypocrisy” (Krasner,1999). Analysing international relations from a largely realist perspective, the scholar broadly concluded that, all things considered, arguments dressed up in idealistic rhetoric were manifestations of power politics. References to laudable principles tended to fall down when tested against the national interest”.
The argument to be tested in the following is if the recognition of independence referendums follows legal principles, democratic norms or merely the political interests of the strongest powers. Before making this argument it is worth looking at the “official” theory of state recognition and the supposed “right” to hold a referendum.