Birth of a Nation

VALDRIN XHEMAJ / EPA

JUBILANT FOR NOW: But poverty and strife could undermine Kosovars' enthusiasm

There's a famous saying that everyone is better off not seeing how sausages and laws are made. The same applies to countries. In less than two decades, I've seen no less then six new nations born in my immediate neighborhood, the Balkans, and it was a messy process every time. So please forgive me if I'm not greeting the latest one — Kosovo, which declared independence on Sunday, Feb. 17 — with the respect and admiration it probably deserves.

Just like its slightly older siblings — Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro — Kosovo rose from...

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