The civility of the breakup of Czechoslovakia, cordially agreed to by the elected Slovak leader, Vladimir Meciar, and his Czech counterpart, Vaclav Klaus, is a lesson to Yugoslavia and other federations unable to hold together. It is also a tragedy.
The Czech Republic of Bohemia and Moravia, which does not want the split, can survive it well enough. Employment is high. The rapid transformation to a free market, charted by Mr. Klaus as economic minister, is working as well there as it has anywhere. The Western and Central Europeans are sympathetic, and the European Community will probably extend whatever interim measures are needed until that Czech Republic, whatever its name, takes its rightful place at the center of European progress.
Eventually, the Czechs may worry about being cut off from their Slavic kin by the split with Slovakia, wedged as they are between Germany and Austria. They share with the now-independent Slovenes south of Austria the distinction of being the Westernmost Slavs, in geography and spirit. But Slavs they are, and proud of it. In mere economics, they can do without the burden of redistributing wealth with Slovakia. In terms of national identity, they will regret the loss.