Foreign Policy‘s Joshua Keating laments the possible break-up of Belgium:
Belgium may indeed be held together only by “the king, the football team, and a few beers” as would-be prime minister Yves Leterme has said, but I’ll take that over a country held together by race and religion any day. Bonne chance and veel geluk to those working to keep the place together.
Not to be too severe, but I think that what Joshua Keating or any non-Belgian foreign policy observer would “take” or accept should have no bearing on the situation. Nation-states that have no meaning for their inhabitants are not boons for humanity–they are artificial constructs that the people who live in them regard as injurious to their own interests. The real point is that whatever Mr. Keating would “take” is completely unrepresentative of what most people, whether in Europe or elsewhere, will actually “take.” In the end, the break-up of Belgium along ethnic and linguistic lines is a function of democracy and self-government itself. If a European identity is at odds with these political values, that European identity will receive very little respect among the people.