Friday, April 17, 2009

What if Texas Seceded?

IMG_8447Big Tex, Texas State Fair, Dallas
Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke at a tea party (I think he's the only major politician who attended one) and made comment about Texas seceding from the US. Texans love to say that they are the only state in the union that has preserved the right to secede.

Yes, this comment provokes much eye-rolling and grumbling from me. I think it is ridiculous.

Texas is pretty impressive though. An article in Forbes today lists the 10 best cities for jobs in the midst of this recession. 8 of the 10 are in Texas and Dallas is one of them (it's ironic for me, actually. I didn't really want to come here and don't particularly like it, but I count my blessings and thank God we can pay for seminary and have secure jobs right now).

So... say Texas really did secede, what would it look like as a country?

Well.... apparently Chuck Norris is willing to be the President, which is certainly intimidating. I mean... if Chuck Norris was running the country, the world better look out. And Foreign Policy Magazine points out that as an independant country, Texas would have the world's 13th largest economy, which is a helluva start.

Chuck Norris

But in all seriousness, it really is totally ridiculous and just shows how independent and prideful Texans are (that's not all bad). The Foreign Policy article detailed what would probably happen if we did try to secede.

So what would Texas look like as a foreign country?
It would be the world's thirteenth largest economy -- bigger than South Korea, Sweden, and Saudi Arabia. But its worth would crater precipitously, after NAFTA rejected it and the United States slapped it with an embargo that would make Cuba look like a free-trade zone. Indeed, Texas would quick become the next North Korea, relying on foreign aid due to its insistence on relying on itself.

On the foreign policy front, a seceded Texas would suffer for deserting the world superpower. Obama wouldn't look kindly on secessionists, and would send in the military to tamp down rebellion. If Texas miraculously managed to hold its borders, Obama would not establish relations with the country -- though he might send a special rapporteur. (We nominate Kinky Friedman.)

So, Texas would need to court Mexico and Central American nations as a trading partners and protectors. Those very nations would also pose a host of problems for Texas. President Perry might find friends in anti-U.S. nations like Venezuela and Cuba, but their socialist politics would rankle the libertarian nation.

And Texas would become a conduit for drugs moving north to the United States from Mexico, maybe even becoming a narco-state. It would need to invest heavily in its own military and policing force to stop drug violence within its borders -- taking away valuable resources from, oh, feeding its people, fending off U.S. border incursions, and improving its standing in the world.

In short:
the state of Texas would rapidly become direly impoverished, would need to be heavily armed, and would be wracked with existential domestic and foreign policy threats. It would probably make our failed states list in short order. Probably better to pay the damn taxes.

And of course -- Texas isn't seceding. Only regions in civil war or self-governing areas in very weak states manage independence. Perry was floating a piece of asinine political rhetoric, running a heated race against fellow Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson and courting small-government conservatives of all stripes. Plus, more importantly, Texas can't secede, according to the 1869 Supreme Court
Case, Texas v. White.

Ah well.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Chuck Norris has offered to be President of Texas, greatly reducing the possible internal threat of unionists or external threat of U.S. military forces to the seceded country. (H/t Ezra Klein.)

Chuck Norris - Uzis Blazin' (Invasion USA)


Kathryn said...

I think it would be AWESOME! First of all, let them leave I say. They are so damn weird anyway. Secondly, they are pretty hardcore and I think they could hold their own. I don't think it would have to be a bloody separation. Thirdly...Chuck Norris? Sweet! Maybe I'd move there, just because. haha. Actually, I won't be surprised if more states are starting to think the same thing. The crumbling begins...

Kaycee said...

I actually saw that Chuck Norris article and strangely thought of you when I read it.

We have a stuffed armadillo with a cowboy hat at our house that somehow picked up the name Walker Texas Ranger and he IS the law.

Anyways, I don't think anyone takes Perry too seriously.

Rae said...

So funny. I must say that I am not especially impressed with Texans because they imagine that they are the only state with the right to secede. That just shows that they aren't as informed as they imagine. I'm not sure how many states have the "right" but I remember that NH's state constitution gives NH the right to revolution. Maybe not the same thing, but it sounds rather similar, if not feistier.

Anonymous said...

Kacie, did you really write this article, or did you post someone else's article?

Mason said...

Texans are funny, seceding from the Union, I'm just not seeing it. Here in Michigan we have the opposite problem, some of my freinds and I have a thoery that MI with it's failing auto industry, 6 stright years of recession, and worst unemplyment in the nation, well we're sort of a drag on the rest of the States, so eventually we'll get kicked off the island as it were.
I figure they'll make the UP part of Wisconsin, and then build a wall along our southern boarder to keep the failure in, and then try to give us all to Canada, who will refuse.
In the end the West and East halves of the state would split, and West MI would get reinstated at the new 50th state.

Kacie said...

Anonymous: I wrote the part that I claimed as mine, but as I stated, the last few paragraphs are from the Foreign Policy article that I linked to. I hope that was clear.