How else to explain this:
A dispute over the name of Macedonia could derail Nato plans to invite three Balkan states to join the alliance.
All 26 members of the alliance have to agree, but Greece has threatened to block Macedonia's bid because of the northern Greek region of the same name.
I mean, really. How likely is there to be any confusion? Is a new shipment of armoured vehicles going to end up in northern Greece by mistake, with some provincial mayor having to find a shed to put them in and fork up the money for the courier?
For comparison, does the Governor of Georgia often come into his office to find the President of Georgia sitting behind his desk? “Gee, Mikheil, you’ve gone and done it again!” “My apologies, Sonny – I was sort of wondering why the commute had taken a bit longer today, and why I couldn’t read any of these memos. D’oh!”
I reckon that hardly ever happens. The whole fuss is stupid.
And yes, I’m sure it’s something to do with ancient enmities, and ethnic groups spilling across borders, and arguments about unification and separatism and all the usual crap, but pretending that the country doesn’t have the name it does isn’t a way of avoiding these issues, and acknowledging its right to call itself what it likes isn’t going to mean the rest of Nato giving them carte blanche to nick some territory.
Grow up. If the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo can manage, then so can the Greeks and the Macedonians.
(Macedonia’s official name at the UN is ‘the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’, which is much like being called ‘the Former Belgian Colony of Rwanda’ or ‘the Former Indonesian Whipping-Boy of East Timor’ or ‘the Former Roman Backwater with Rotten Weather, Unwashed Natives and a Big Wall Towards the Top, Containing a Suspiciously Large Number of Pubs in Which Shakespeare May Once Have Stayed of Britain’.)