That’ll End Well

Hey, Spain — while you’re at it, send troops to seize the colonists’ Catalans’ arms.

Spain is to start suspending Catalonia’s autonomy from Saturday, as the region’s leader threatens to declare independence.

The government said ministers would meet to activate Article 155 of the constitution, allowing it to take over running of the region.

Catalonia’s leader said the region’s parliament would vote on independence if Spain continued “repression”.

Catalans voted to secede in a referendum outlawed by Spain.

Some fear the latest moves could spark further unrest after mass demonstrations before and since the ballot on 1 October.

Spain’s supreme court declared the vote illegal and said it violated the constitution, which describes the country as indivisible.

The secession vote may very well have been illegal, but so was our Declaration of Independence. Every signatory to that document could have been hanged for treason under the laws of Great Britain at the time. The United States has endured now for 241 years.

Many Americans say the Civil War “settled” the question of whether states can secede from the Union, conveniently overlooking that the United Colonies had successfully seceded from the British Empire less than a century before. I’ve said that legal questions cannot be settled by force — only the particular conflict at issue.

When a dispute among nation-states reaches the point of armed conflict, legal precedents covering it go out the window, never to return. By seeking to suppress Catalan independence in this manner, Spain risks accelerating its own disintegration.