Tribalism appears to be experiencing a resurgence around the world, and nowhere is that more true than in Europe. The dream of European integration is breaking down as separatist movements seek independence everywhere from Scotland to Catalonia to Serbia. We shouldn’t be surprised: there were 500 independent political entities in Europe when the Pilgrims landed in America, and the subsequent rise of nation-states didn’t so much eliminate those pre-existing loyalties as paper them over. Now ethnic identities grounded in language, culture and kinship ties are making a comeback, potentially raising major military and diplomatic concerns for Washington. It seems that the emergence of a separatist movement among ethnic Russians in Ukraine is about much more enduring issues than Vladimir Putin’s plans for recovering lost Russian glory. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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