The exposure of national economies to global economic pressures has triggered domestic backlashes worldwide. The primary expression of anxiety triggered by the relentless pressure of globalization has been populism. Sensing the erosion of longtime social and political certainties, communities look for leaders, parties and ideologies that promise to protect them from unwelcome change, to protect their identify.

Another manifestation of the demand for security and stability is self-determination. Communities conclude that national leaders are too distant from their daily concerns and seek the creation of a political unit that better matches their particular needs. In recent weeks, two communities have called for recognition of their status and voted for secession and independence. In both cases, the nation from which they seek to secede — and their neighbors — have rejected the demand. Unfortunately, the call for greater expression and autonomy will not be squelched. Central governments must do more to accommodate those demands without undermining sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Late last month, 93 percent of the Kurds in northern Iraq voted for independence. Kurds have long sought a land of their own, but the Kurdish population is scattered across four countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey — making them a minority in each. Kurds already enjoy considerable autonomy from Baghdad, but that appears to have only whetted their appetite for independence. The vote has no legal effect, but Kurdish officials claim that it obligates the president of the Kurdish region of Iraq, Massoud Barzani, to negotiate for independence.