The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The advance of devolution

May 22, 2006

Montenegro votes for independence. Probably. By a hair. Rob Farley points to Doug Muir’s excellent pre-vote post. It looks like EU politics may have made the difference in a vote that mapped largely onto ethnic and religious divisions. The BBC:

Serb politicians, Orthodox church leaders and Montenegrins from the mountainous inland regions bordering Serbia broadly opposed secession.

However, ethnic Montenegrins and Albanians from the coastal area largely back the prime minister and favoured independence.

Mr Djukanovic argued that an independent Montenegro will have a stronger economy and will be a better candidate for admission into the European Union.

I’m not sure I agree with Chirol that this will amount to much of a signal either way for other would-be secessionists in the remnants of Communism’s empire. But it does highlight the ways in which the emerge of Europe as a composite, federal state creates an environment conducive to local fragmentation. State formation in reverse, if you will.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.