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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Political Views
Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rob Meltzer
March 4, 2013 12:05 a.m.



I’ve been thinking about an article from the Kenyan edition of what was formerly known as the International Herald Tribune that asked this question: What do Germany, Great Britain, Spain, France, Greece, Holland, Belgium and Italy have most in common right now? The answer is that each of these countries is facing at least one serious separatist crisis, which suggests that at a time when certain European leaders are pushing for more integration the people themselves are pushing for more autonomy. It is wise to remember that most of the European counties as we know them are less than 160 years old, and that these countries are historic anomalies amalgamated generally by totalitarian leaders. In many ways, the stability of these countries has been ensured by strife, not peace.  In an era of prolonged and permanent peace, so the reasoning of the Catalans goes, why do we need Spain? And if we have entered a glorious new era of self determination in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union, why do we oppose the legitimate nationalist aspirations of former Italian city states or the former states of the Hanseatic League? Its a damned good question, but one that doesn’t get much attention.  Its also not clear whether these new states, if they re-achieved such status, would want to remain within the EU, or the Eurozone, or whether restoration of a traditional coinage is part of national identity. This leads to the other obvious question. One United States, or a series of smaller Republics?  Europe and the United States face many financial challenges, but it is interesting to contemplate whether broader existential questions need to be considered as well.

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