Self-Determination of Nations ... Ayn Rand

The right of 
“the self-determination of nations” 
applies only to free societies  
to societies seeking to establish freedom; 
it does not apply to dictatorships
Just as an individual’s right of free action does not include the “right” to commit crimes (that is, to violate the rights of others), so the right of a nation to determine its own form of government does not include the right to establish a slave society (that is, to legalize the enslavement of some men by others). There is no such thing as “the right to enslave.” A nation can do it, just as a man can become a criminalbut neither can do it by right.

It does not matter, in this context, whether a nation was enslaved by force, like Soviet Russia, or by vote, like Nazi Germany.
Individual rights are not 
subject to a public vote
a majority has no right 
to vote away the rights of a minority
the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities and the smallest minority on earth is the individual.

Whether a slave society was conquered or chose to be enslaved, it can claim no national rights and no recognition of such “rights” by civilized countries—just as a mob of gangsters cannot demand a recognition of its “rights” and a legal equality with an industrial concern or a university, on the ground that the gangsters chose by unanimous vote to engage in that particular kind of group activity. A nation, like any other group, is only a number of individuals and can have no rights other than the rights of its individual citizens.

A free nation—a nation that recognizes, respects and protects the individual rights of its citizenshas a right to its territorial integrity, its social system and its form of government. The government of such a nation is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of its citizens and has no rights other than the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific, delimited task (the task of protecting them from physical force, derived from their right of self-defense) . . . .

Such a nation has a right to its sovereignty (derived from the rights of its citizens) and a right to demand that its sovereignty be respected by all other nations. A nation that violates the rights of its own citizens cannot claim any rights whatsoever. In the issue of rights, as in all moral issues, there can be no double standard. A nation ruled by brute physical force is not a nation, but a horde—whether it is led by Attila, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Khrushchev or Castro.

Dictatorship nations are outlaws. Any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany and, today, has the right to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba or any other slave pen. Whether a free nation chooses to do so or not is a matter of its own self-interest, not of respect for the non-existent “rights” of gang rulers. It is not a free nation’s duty to liberate other nations at the price of self-sacrifice, but a free nation has the right to do it, when and if it so chooses.

Some people ask whether local groups or provinces have the right to secede from the country of which they are a part. The answer is: on ethnic grounds, no.  
Ethnicity is not a valid consideration, morally or politically, and does not endow anyone with any special rights.
As to other than ethnic grounds, remember that rights belong only to individuals and that there is no such thing as “group rights.”
If a province wants to secede from a dictatorship, or even from a mixed economy, in order to establish a free country—it has the right to do so. 
But if a local gang, ethnic or otherwise, wants to secede in order to establish its own government controls, it does not have that right. No group has the right to violate the rights of the individuals who happen to live in the same locality. A wish—individual or collective—is not a right.

from Ayn Rand : The Virtue of Se4lfishness - Collectivized Rights ; The Voice of Reason : Global Balkanisation