"Back when I was teaching, I used to provoke my students in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service by observing that Europe — birthplace of the Enlightenment, cradle of democracy — was really just “Africa with autobahns.” I wanted them to understand that despite all the apparent differences, Europeans are just as likely as Africans to embrace narrow tribal loyalties that lead to political division and violence."
"Resurgent tribalism in Europe would raise a host of military and diplomatic issues for America. For instance, the Scottish National Party that would likely run an independent state has said it does not want nuclear weapons on Scottish territory, but the United Kingdom government says there is no suitable alternative site to base its ballistic-missile submarines. It isn’t clear what that might mean for a Scottish state’s role in NATO. And Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has hinted that Madrid might veto Scottish membership in the European Community, for fear of the signal that membership would send to Spain’s own separatists."
"Almost nobody in Washington is thinking about such possibilities right now. It is so much easier to default to our Cold War preconceptions in addressing the Ukrainian crisis, as if the separatist impulses of ethnic Russians within Ukraine were irrelevant. Problem is, such impulses are latent across Europe, and they might come to the surface with a vengeance if economic conditions deteriorated or new political catalysts emerged (as they did in Ukraine). At that point, the similarities between Europe and Africa could become all too obvious."
The whole article is a great read