Dear Greece and Macedonia, get over it

Few topics spark as intense debate among a cadre of readers of this blog than the dispute over the proper name of the country to the immediate north of Greece, south of Serbia, east from Albania and west from Bulgaria.  The capital of this country is Skopje. 

This country is known formally as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” FYROM for short.  The government of this country wants it simply to be called “The Republic of Macedonia.” However, Greece objects to this appelation because it shares the name of the adjacent Greek province called “Macedonia.”  So, since independence, the two countries have been in constant dispute. 

Enter the United Nations. Specifically, mediator Matthew Nimitz, who has tried to broker a compromise. He is meeting with both sides this week and according to this regional paper the newest innovation on the negotiating table is “Republic of Northern Macedonia.”  

We’ll see how far that goes.  In the meantime, I think it’s useful to remind folks on both sides of the dispute that this kind of nationalism is just stupid. It can also turn dangerous.  And if you want to know how this all looks from the outside, the answer is really, really petty.