“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests” Secretary of State John Kerry speaking on “Meet The Press”, March 2, 2014
Only two nation building models are currently in play. The first, invented by the United States is where disparate geographical regions with divergent interests peacefully band together to advance the common good. The same result can be also achieved by brute force. The second is where equally disparate regions once joined in a common nation state secede and separate; again either peacefully or by force of arms and civil war.
In either case nation building is constrained by physical reality and factors that are seldom in dispute. The resulting nation states must address the ethnic and religious makeup of their populations and the geographic and economic realities of their location in order to exist and remain viable.
Garibaldi, Mazzini and Cavour fought for the unification of Italy irredenta grafting mismatched areas such as Sicily and Sardinia onto an otherwise homogeneous body politic, nation building by force of arms. Prince von Metternich’s dream of German unification came into being with the Princes of the various German states proclaiming Wilhelm of Prussia the Emperor of the German Empire in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors at the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, nation building by peaceful means. The European Union initially established in 1993 is an ongoing and expanding experiment.
In contrast twelve independent republics came into being on December 26, 1991 with a simple stroke of a pen, a signed declaration, without a shot being fired, dissolving the old USSR, followed closely by two more, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the result of Czechoslovakia’s peaceful “Velvet Divorce” in 1993. Not so for the newly independent republics of ex-Yugoslavia: Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia et al. They were created by a bloody ethnic civil war and a peace put in place by brute force.