History: Shaky Empires, Then and Now

The Kremlin and the West would both do well to study what happened to the Ottoman Turks at the beginning of the century

From Estonia on the Baltic Sea to Tadzhikistan in the Pamir mountains of Central Asia, the Soviet Union is coming apart at the seams. The U.S.S.R. as such might soon cease to exist. In its place may be a smaller, though still ! vast, country, perhaps called simply Russia, while Estonia and Tadzhikistan could be two of a dozen or more Soviet republics that become independent countries. If that happens, the world will have lost not only its first communist state but also its last great multinational empire.

Earlier in this century, imperial rulers in London, Paris and the Hague saw...

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