Physical isolation from other countries has been replaced by powerful military and economic controls to create national security. Studies in national character often are attempts to further this end. People are prevented from appropriating other cultures by national-oriented concepts of foreign threat and by dehumanized images of other nationalities. Popular images are often powerful enough to influence the behaviour of the majority of a nation's citizens towards other nations and cultures; and international encounter is limited to superficial efforts at diplomacy or tourism.
The failure of the European Community in Bosnia is in part due to deep seated national differences of economic interest and political alliance which condemned the attempt to forge a common policy from the beginning. Examples include Greece with its traditional ties with the Orthodox states in the Balkan countries and its vulnerability to any economic backlash, and Germany with its interest in early recognition of Croatia.