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There was little reason to think in 1990 that secession might turn out to
be an important topic. Since Secession and Self-Determination was published
in The Yale Journal ofInternational Law, however, the Baltic states left the
Soviet Union and the rest of the Soviet Union crumbled. Yugoslavia and
Czechoslovakia fractured. Eritrea asserted its independence from Ethiopia
after military success and then a democratic referendum. Quebec's separatist
aspirations from Canada became front page news (along with the comparable
aspirations of various of the indigenous peoples of Quebec). East Timor
succeeded in its drive for independence. Prior to 1990, the only successful
separatist movement had been in Pakistan, where East Pakistan had left to
become Bangladesh. Other separatist movements, such as Biafra's war for
independence, had failed completely.

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