I don’t like this question because it’s asking us to solve a problem that we have only the scantest of information about. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the Innies are good people who just want out while the UNSC is an oppressive force that won’t let them go for its own greedy reasons, just as it is to fall into the trap of thinking the reverse. The answer is that we simply don’t know enough about the causes of Insurrection or the post-War strategic outlook. Though what we do know doesn’t exactly make the Insurrectionist groups look like bastions of good sense and forward thinking.
For those who think that the decision is easy, let me suggest some scenarios.
-The colonial government on Ford is staunchly anti-UNSC and pro-independence, but the leadership and the general population want to secede peacefully. They are willing to sign a non-aggression pact with the UNSC, but the Fordian government isn’t powerful enough to make that stick. The colonial law enforcement and military organizations are either compromised or incapable of policing the system, so terrorists and pirates regularly seek shelter on the planet. These non-government forces regularly launch attacks on UNSC colonies and shipping.
-The planet Proxima hosts numerous settlement groups, and each one has as good a claim to settlement as the other. Some are fiercely pro-UNSC and others are just as fiercely pro-independence. Votes on whether to leave or remain are inconclusive, and generally depend on which group is left alone with the ballot boxes. At best anyone can determine, the percentage of the population that wants to leave is probably over fifty percent.
-A meta-colony around Csere’s Star has a good claim to the whole star system, as it includes an inhabited world and no less than seven inhabited moons. But for all the colony’s spread, it has a very weak heavy industry. It cannot establish any naval presence, and will have to rely on mercenaries or alliances with ex-Covenant groups for its defense.
Csere’s Star is also a system of great strategic importance, as it is the natural route of invasion for a number of loyal colonies. UNSC HIGHCOM estimates that if Csere’s Star allies with a faction hostile to the UNSC, it will require ten times as many naval resources to defend the new border compared to just occupying that one system.
-Manus was a skipover. It was a planet with only marginal resources, and therefore was ignored during the outward migrations from Earth. It found use as a dumping ground for refugees at the beginning of the war, and a stable population was established over the years. At the end of the war, the Manus colonial assembly passes a vote 170-88 to leave the UNSC, which was affirmed by 67% of the population.
The population of Manus isn’t ideologically pro-independence. Instead, there is a widespread hostility towards paying taxes to the UNSC for defense. The theory goes is that Manus is deep enough in UNSC territory that it shouldn’t have to worry about attack from outside threats. Worse than that, the colonial government of Manus plans to bring in investment capital from UNSC worlds by turning Manus into a tax haven. The UEGDR estimates that by taking advantage of the same agreements that other independent colonies have made with the UNSC, Manus will drain enough revenue from the UNSC to launch two battlegroups every year. Not that they will be launching those battlegroups, but that will be money drained from the defense and reconstruction budget and likely wasted on casinos.
-Norton’s Crossway is a colony with an ugly and bloody history. More battles were fought there during the Insurrection wars than any two other colonies combined. Battles were fought between the UNSC and paramilitary groups, between the paramilitary groups and the colonial government, and between the paramilitary groups and other paramilitary groups that dared to fight for the wrong revolution. Something about the planet drew in violent idealogues from light-years around.
Norton’s Crossway recently voted 62% to leave the UNSC. According to exit polls, the majority of the population hopes that the violence will die down if the UNSC removes its presence from the colony. However, sources within the colonial government warn the UEG that the only thing keeping them afloat is the UNSC troops patrolling the cities and countryside. Without that aid, they will likely fall to the same rebels who took Elysium City several decades ago.
So. Which of these colonies are y’all going to let go?
As far as the insurrection is concerned, I would have no problem extending an olive branch. I would allow the outer colonies that were week or month long trips out a large amount of autonomy like the united states in the early history of the US. My one stipulation is no terrorism. The minute that happens all bets are off and you squash them like a bug.
What if they can't police their own territory? How sponsored does this terrorism have to be before you drop the hammer?