NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 23, 2006

The people of Montenegro (pop. 620,000) on Sunday chose to break up their union with Serbia -- all that was left of Yugoslavia -- and give birth to the Continent's 24th and 25th new nation-states since the end of the Cold War. As long as these decisions are freely, peacefully and constitutionally made, the Wall Street Journal says the more the merrier.


  • The break-up party will continue in Kosovo (pop. 2 million), which wants to part ways with Serbia as well.
  • Elsewhere in Europe, the people of Flanders and Wallonia might want to split up Belgium; Catalonia and the Basque country might split from Spain.
  • Compared to Europe's old but thriving city-states of Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Andorra -- whose populations range from 28,000 to 67,000 -- these possible new arrivals are veritable giants.

Balkanization doesn't deserve its bad name, says the Journal. Throughout history, Europe's microstates have tended to be less bellicose (shrimps don't pick fights), more democratic (government can't be closer to the people) and, with fewer resources to waste, economically savvier. To thrive the Tiny Tims need open trade borders -- thank the European Union (EU) for that today -- and peace, which now comes courtesy of a U.S.-led NATO.

The mushrooming of new states in Europe has tended, especially after the wars of the early 1990s, to coincide with the spread of freedom on the Continent. May it continue, says the Journal.

Source: Editorial, "The Death of Yugoslavia," Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2006.

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