Welcome for the first issue of MA for 2012. This month's issue looks at Separatism and Self-Determination. Since the emergence of the modern nation-state, the legitimacy of many countries relies on some degree of 'consent of the governed'. However, in a world where nations fracture on political, ethnic, economic and racial lines, nations around the world face challenges to their own integrity, which can be met with pluralism, devolution, autonomy, or brutal civil war.
This month Andrew Romanin and Sheradyn Simmonds reflect on the case in East Timor. Almost ten years after official independence, a new round of elections and the announcement of the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers sees Australia's youngest neighbour presented with opportunities to assert itself as a sovereign nation, but not without new challenges. Sharna De Lacy looks more widely at the Indonesian experience, where the Timorese experience can be contrasted with Aceh and West Papua, which have so far not led to independence, but where significant tensions remain. More, Australian Institute of International Affairs - Message from the Editor