and Lord Dahlberg-Acton wrote cogently about the ganginguprnon the Commonwealth in 1772, 1793, and 1795, but theirrncomments were disregarded. The Congress of Vienna, laudedrnbv Western historians as a fountainhead of peace in Europe,rnconfirmed the partition of the largest state in East Central Europernand divided it among various empires with scant regardrnto religion, language, and cultural tradition. The 1815 Viennarnaccord was a time bomb which erupted in 1830 in Poland, inrn1848 in several European countries, and then again in 1914.rnIf the Russian Empire was a prison of nations, the Austro-rnHungarian Empire was surely a cacophony of nations clamoringrnfor self-definition, which a territorial empire could illrnafford—while Prussia, that “bastard state” of Europe, straddledrnGerman and Polish lands.rnRussian apologists in American academia, and lassitude ofrnmind tovard matters which are not actively promoted by anyrninterest group, have eliminated from English usage the wordsrn”Ruthenia” and “Ruthenian,” signifying the territories and nationsrnbetween Poland and Russia. Lithuanians, a brave andrnstubborn people, snatched Ruthenia from the Mongol empirernin the 14th century. In 1386, a dynastic union joined Polandrnand Lithuania, giving Poland the fatal opportunity to play imperialistrn—which she did until 1795, when she herself fell to thernimperialism of her neighbors, and with her Lithuania, Belarus,rnand Ukraine.rnIn conditions of widespread literacy, which invariably fostersrnethnic identity, and with democratic political philosophiesrnpopularized in print, nationalism was bound to flourish on thernEuropean continent. In countries united by language andrnhistory, nationalism manifested itself in closing the ranks andrnself-glorification (“God is an Englishman”), while in multinationalrnand multicultural countries it was bound to be disruptive.rnQuite simply, the perception was that certain ethnicrngroups lorded it over others, and that this was contrary torndemocratic principles. The partitioning of Central and EasternrnEurope by empires, at a time when national identities hadrnalready congealed, was bound to prevent the creation ofrnlinguisticallv and culturally homogeneous societies, and itrndamaged the relations between the “occupied” nations. Evenrnnow, the small and midsized nations of Central and EasternrnEurope are strangers to one another. A certain amount ofrnmute contempt, which defeated nations often harbor towardrnone another, enters the equation. France, England, and Germanyrnhave profited from the exaggerated and sympatheticrnattention that the countries of the Balkans and of East CentralrnEurope should have bestowed on one another.rnSome long-standing animosities were exploited by the respectivernempires. The Polish-Ukrainian conflict, which goesrnback to the times when Poles ruled Ukraine, was used by Austriansrnwho conspired to pit Ukrainian peasants against Polishrnlandlords in 19th-century Galicia. In Ukraine, many years ofrnanti-l’krainian Soviet propaganda created a backlash of admirationrnfor L’krainian nationalists such as Stefan Bandera,rnwhose soldiers murdered Jews and Poles. Lithuanians dislikernthe Poles for the Polonization of Lithuania that occurred whenrnboth countries were tied by the dynastic union; this was usedrnby the Russians when they occupied Lithuania. On Novemberrn6, 1994, a Lithuanian bridge was blown up, and a hithertornunknown Polish National Liberation Movement claimedrnresponsibility. Zbigniew Semenowicz, a Polish minority representativernin the Lithuanian Seimas (Parliament), said that hernhad never heard of such a group, and that if it existed, it mustrnhave been created bv the Russian secret police. The Lithuaniansrnconcurred. Such incidents (called provokatsiya inrnRussian) have stoked many an ethnic fire, to the Russians’rnbenefit.rnThe West views these nations as upstarts because they enjoyedrnno political independence in the 19th century. Butrnin their own eyes, they remained countries under foreign occupation.rnThey did not experience that leisurely developmentrnof national ideologies so characteristic of Western countriesrnand so invisible to Western eyes. While the energies of EastrnCentral European nations were sapped by the fight for independence,rnthe energies of the West found an outlet in the creationrnof wealth. What lies in the national interest is oftenrnmisunderstood in East Central Europe, let alone in the Balkansrnand the post-Soviet states. The countries of the regionrndid not develop patterns of political behavior that are effectivernand intelligible to others. The issue of public relations and ofrnthe national image is poorly understood. To Western eyes,rnthese countries remain largely unintelligible in the puzzling reversalsrnof their reforms, the awkwardness of their diplomats,rnthe surprising results of their elections, and the apathy of theirrnvoters after so much sacrifice to secure the right to vote.rn^ ^ s long as Polandrn/ y remains Poland,rnt _ ^ / { ^ i.e., as long as itsrnpeople refuse to reduce Christianity tornthe realm of private hobbies, they willrnbe treated as untouchables by America’srnpower class. Poles lack that qualifyingrngrace of distancing themselves fromrnold-time religion, which Czechrnintellectuals such as Thomas Masarykrnor Edward Benes represented.rnThe 1938 Munich agreement is symbolic in many ways ofrnWestern attitudes toward East Central Europe. The UnitedrnStates and Western Europe realize that the results of abandoningrnEast Central Europe to its own fate will not instantlyrnaffect them. The dismemberment of Czechoslovakia andrneven war on the Polish front in 1939 ga’e the French andrnBritish additional months of relative peace and prosperity.rnOnly in hindsight did Munich turn out to be a mistake. So therntemptation to do nothing is great. In October 1991, a HeritagernFoundation study by William D. Eggers recommended thatrnthe United States withhold funding for the European Bank forrnReconstruction and Development (EBRD) until the EuropeanrnCommunity agrees to reduce trade barriers to EasternrnEurope. Nothing of the sort has been done, and one-wayrnAPRIL 1995/23rnrnrn