In the last decade of the 20th century, as the Soviet Empire disintegrated, so, too, did that prison house of nations, the USSR.
Out of the decomposing carcass came Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova, all in Europe; Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus; and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.
Transnistria then broke free of Moldova, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia fought free of Georgia.
Yugoslavia dissolved far more violently into the nations of Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo.
The Slovaks seceded from Czechoslovakia. Yet a Europe that plunged straight to war after the last breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939 this time only yawned. Let them go, all agreed.
The spirit of secession, the desire of peoples to sever ties to nations to which they have belonged for generations, sometimes for centuries, and to seek out their own kind, is a spreading phenomenon.