Throughout the recent Balkan wars, Macedonia was the shoe that stubbornly refused to fall. Wars in Bosnia, in Kosovo did not spread to Macedonia. The blockade imposed by Greece in the early years of independence did not rise to open conflict. Latent Bulgarian claims were amicable resolved. Chaos in Albania did not become contagion. Many reasons account for Macedonia’s relative good fortune, and capable leadership is certainly one of them. Now the country’s president has crashed into a hillside in Bosnia.
At present, Macedonia is doing something that no state in Western Europe has managed: running a state while accommodating a minority population that is (estimates vary) between one quarter and one third of the total. Good luck to them, and I hope that Trajkovski’s successor can stay the course.
Interestingly, the fallen president was a convert to Methodism and a former theology student. It’s an interesting twist on questions of church, state and laicism.