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The conventional sovereignty that has prevailed for the past several centuries restricts the options open to ethnic minorities in multiethnic populations that are subject to a single sovereign authority. Minorities will either trend toward integration with majority populations or else the direction of change will be toward separation and the establishment of new, smaller sovereign states. There are serious problems with both options. The present proposal is for a form of diluted or “attenuated” sovereignty whereby, in its most basic form, a particular ethnic minority would be afforded limited sovereignty in a specified area within an existing sovereign state’s overall territory. An attenuated-sovereignty government established in the specified area would be answerable to—and have authority over—only those persons of the designated ethnic minority who have opted to affiliate themselves with it. Distinctive to this proposal, all other persons, irrespective of their ethnicity, could remain in the delimited area and remain subject to the pre-existing, conventionally sovereign authority. This proposal includes various strategies to make attenuated sovereignty a practical, workable option. The notion of attenuated sovereignty is not as fantastical as it may seem at first glance. Re this assertion, the conventionally sovereign state is everywhere at bay. Its best days are behind it. Under the circumstances, in some situations, attenuated sovereignty could prove advantageous to both ethnic minorities and majority populations willing to accommodate them in the creative manner here proposed.
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