A quote from Gideon Rachman in The Financial Times, 3 December 2007
Europe seems intent on slicing itself up into ever smaller pieces. […] People tend to treat countries that split up a bit like married couples. It is a sad event. And it is true that a unilateral declaration of Kosovan independence could cause a new crisis in the Balkans. But if the formation of new countries can be achieved peacefully, it is usually a cause for celebration. This is the age of the small state.
Look at almost any league table of national welfare and small countries dominate. […] Since the traditional disadvantages of being a tiddly country are disappearing, you are just left with the advantages. […] Declaring independence is also a splendid marketing gimmick. Who gave much thought to the Baltic states when they were part of the Soviet Union? But now a country like Estonia has a distinct international identity – which is very useful in attracting tourists and investment.
Given all this, it is hardly surprising that the number of new nations is proliferating. In 1945, the United Nations had just 45 members. By 1968, after decolonisation, it had 126 members. Now the number of nations represented at the UN is 192. Drink a toast to the age of the small country when it breaks 200.