In yesterday's NYT, J. Peter Pham argued that we should let the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fall apart--that separatism would somehow make things better. While the government has had problems governing the entire country, most of the problems that Pham cites in the piece are not about different ethnic groups with different preferences, but about poor leaders and the challenges of having too much in the way of minerals (the resource curse and all that).
The militias he refers to as protectors? Well, these folks are the threat, and it is not clear how allowing several of them to have their own countries will make them any less rapacious. Yes, DRC is an artificial state, but so are most countries in the world (Japan, the Koreas not so much).
To be clear, as a scholar of separatism and its international relations, I am not opposed to DRC falling apart due to precedent setting (I tend to believe that precedents do not matter that much). It is just not clear in this article how secession would solve any of Congo's problems. Would the smaller hunks be that much easier to govern since they would still be big, landlocked, mineral-rich, and so on? The Africanists on my twitter feed think this particular "solution" is no solution at all.
If the piece was about recognizing Somaliland, I would take a different stance as separatism can be a reasonable approach under some circumstances ... like if Texas was willing to pay of its share of the national debt as it left the US ;)