ALEXANDER THE GREAT conquered the ancient world in far less time than it took the two countries that claim his mantle to agree on a name for one of them. But better late than never. On June 12th Greece and its northern neighbour announced a breakthrough. After nearly 30 years of tussling, they decided that the Republic of Macedonia should henceforth style itself “North Macedonia”, a formula implying that neither state has a monopoly on the historical legacy of the region. As a sign of goodwill, Macedonia had already removed a statue that looked rather like Alexander from its airport.
Ever since communist Yugoslavia broke up in 1991, Greece had lobbied to stop the new country from using a name to which it claims cultural title (it has a province called Macedonia, for instance). America praised Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia, for showing “vision, courage and persistence” in their efforts….