Taiwan is a "de facto state"-that is, a territory that looks and acts like a state but lacks international recognition. So are four fragments of the former Soviet Union. Lynch, with great elegance and simplicity, explains how these "states"-Nagorno-Karabakh (in Azerbaijan), Abkhazia and South Ossetia (in Georgia), and Transdniestr (in Moldova)-came to be and why they matter to the larger world. If only the major powers understood adequately the complexity of the challenges facing them, these frozen crises would rank higher on their agenda. Lynch's analysis of the internal and external factors driving outcomes, as compelling as it is clear, would help. So would his moderate, middle-way prescription. But this would require a commitment on the part of Brussels, Washington, and Moscow that they seem incapable of mustering, modest though it is.
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