The eminent Christopher Meyer writes in the Times:

Those who think that there is such a thing as progress in international affairs – that we are capable of learning the lessons of history – have been brutally disabused by the Georgian crisis. You can have all the rules you like to discipline international behaviour; but they are not worth the paper they are written on if they run against fierce nationalisms and ethnic passion.

For here is the paradox of the modern world. Money, people, culture, business and electronic information cross porous frontiers in ever-increasing volume. But as national boundaries dissolve in cyberspace, so everywhere the sense of nationhood and national interest strengthens. Five minutes in Beijing, Washington, Tehran or Moscow will tell you that. What is the European Union if not the 21st-century arena for the intense and competitive prosecution of the national interest by its 27 member states?

Fascinating stuff.

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