So, the Texas Secession Petition more than reached its goal of 25,000 signatures yesterday. I haven't even checked to see what it's up to, now, since the White House rules (assuming they follow them) require the President to address the petition if it meets that goal- any additional signatures are just gravy. So, in theory, the President must "respond to" this petition. Other States' petitions are also picking up steam.
So, could Secession really happen? Is it possible that we could, once again, be the Republic of Texas?
As I see it, there are three major, practical, aspects to this question. Is there the will? Is the Texas Economy strong enough to support a separate sovereign nation? Can Texas defend itself? On top of these, there are two political aspects to this question. Is it politically viable within the United States? Is it politically viable with foreign powers?
I'll take these in reverse order.
Is it politically viable for Foreign Powers to acknowledge Texas as a sovereign nation? You would think this would be a simple question. In theory, no one else has a dog in this particular hunt, so why should they care? If they don't care, then they should have no problem acknowledging Texas as a sovereign nation, presuming Texas were to secede successfully in the first place. What makes it more difficult, however, is the Gulf of Mexico. How would control of that body of water break down? Then there are our oil resources, and the fact that countries would have to renegotiate a number of contracts, and so on and so forth. Ultimately I believe it is feasible, but it's not as clear cut as one might think.
Is it politically viable for the US Federal Government to acknowledge Texas as a separate sovereign nation? This really depends on how many States want to secede. If it's just Texas, I think the answer is a qualified "yes." With Texas's energy resources, including oil and natural gas, as well as our access to the Gulf, there would be a variety of agreements so that US Companies could continue operating in Texas and so forth. The US Military Bases in Texas would have to be dealt with- would the US Forces withdraw completely? How would that work?
On the other hand, if more than one State moves to secede, then there is no way that the Federal Government can allow the secession unopposed. Taking the most likely choices, the first three to secede would be Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Among those three are the vast majority of the oil refining capabilities in the United States. If those three leave, the US is in a world of hurt, energy wise. That doesn't include the control that would be exerted over the Gulf, especially the mouth of the Mississippi river. If more than one State asks to secede, then all will be denied. That would mean either secession fails, or a shooting war.
That takes us to the next question: Can Texas defend itself? This is even more tricky a question than the first. Certainly Texas has many military bases, but they're all US Military bases. Texas has the Texas Guard, it's own militia used mostly to supplement the border patrol and the National Guard (normally during disaster relief). Certainly Texas has the means to produce what it needs to defend itself. So the answer to this question comes down to the resolution of previous question. If the US allows Texas to secede peacefully, then I see no reason Texas could not quickly arm itself to defend its own borders. If Texas is not allowed to secede peacefully, something would have to be done about the US Military resources already in the State.
Is the Texas Economy strong enough to support a separate, sovereign nation? I think the answer to this question is an unqualified "yes." The Texas Economy is stronger than the average in the United States, and is larger than many other countries. With our energy and technical resources, as well as access to the Gulf Coast, the Texas Economy could certainly support itself- perhaps better, once unfettered from the US Economy as a whole.
Finally, is there the will? This I believe, at least currently, is a qualified "no." Certainly people in some quarters really want to secede. Some of them have even done a more in-depth analysis of what it would take than I have here. They have counted the cost, and determined it is worth paying. I think, however, the majority of the population has not seriously considered secession. I believe most of them have not counted the cost. I believe that, once they do, many of them would not support secession under any circumstances, and most of the rest would only support a peaceable secession.
In the end, this is the deciding factor. I simply do not believe that Texas is currently fed up enough to secede. I do think, however, that we are approaching that level. Give it a few more years of Texas propping up California, Illinois, and New York, and you might see minds begin to change. Give ObamaCare a couple of years of full operation, and you might see minds begin to change.