Nationalism and Alcohol

From Dan Fried, who was at the time (2007) assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, speaking about Serbia and Kosovo:

Nationalism in that part of the world is like cheap alcohol. First it makes you drunk, then it makes you blind, then it kills you.

Unsurprisingly, the quote has often been repeated without the “in that part of the world” limitation — a not unreasonable generalization, but one that further highlights the analogy: In moderate quantities (and for consumers who aren’t easily addicted), nationalism can improve national health, by reducing some dangers more than it increases others. Consume responsibly.