America Abroad

A Wealth Of Nations

In an important respect, the 20th century has come full circle. Once again national groups are asserting themselves as nation-states; provinces are declaring themselves countries. Balkanization is back in fashion, and not just in the Balkans.

This atavistic trend is a direct result of the Soviet capitulation in the cold war. The core of communism was a strong center: it was from there that the orders and the troops came. A single ruler could intimidate or punish the farthest corner of his domain. The Yugoslavs used to say, "We have six republics, five ethnic groups, four languages, three religions, two alphabets...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!