It’s The Balkans Again

I recently reported on the events in the Balkans and for those that do not visit IST everyday…..a reminder(may I suggest that if you do not know the history of the region then the vid in the post should help)…..

Serbia and Kosovo have been at odds for years and a solution has always seem unattainable…..but now …….

Conferences, meetings and summits are usually forgettable. If GPF covered the comings and goings of every leader at every European get-together, we wouldn’t have time to write about much else. But some are due a certain amount of respect. What if, say, two enemies-turned-statesmen actually agreed with each other in potentially redrawing their countries’ boundaries? Such was the case last weekend, when the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo spoke at the European Forum Alpbach 2018 in Austria. Whispers of partition have been audible for a few months now, but this marks the first public utterings of the possibility on both sides – and it happened before EU-mediated talks resume Sept. 7.

It’s not especially surprising that Serbia and Kosovo would consider partition. There are pockets of ethnic Albanians in Serbia, and pockets of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, and any serious deal to end their dispute, the most current iteration of which dates back to the early 1990s, needs to take that into account. These pockets of political opposition may well keep a deal from getting off the ground, but the presidents are nonetheless pushing forward with what is, so far, the most serious attempt yet to resolve this long-running conflict.

This region could ignite at any time….it would be best to keep an eye on the events fueling the discontent….

When the next history of the Balkans is written, these two statements will prove to be the most consequential by any U.S. officials. It was James Baker’s statement that gave the green light for Slobodan Milosevic to unleash the full arsenal of former Yugoslavia on breakaway Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. A calamitous, decadelong series of conflicts in the region—all almost wholly avoidable—was the result.

John Bolton’s statement now threatens to undo the ensuing two decade-plus international effort to make peace. Building on rumors about private talks between the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to swap territory as a means of ending their standoff, and hints of a change in U.S. policy, Bolton has now given the green light to Serbia and Kosovo to trade territory as a way of ending their decadelong—in fact, centurylong—standoff.

For the last 100 years the Balkans have been a tinderbox…..special attention needs apply.


5 thoughts on “It’s The Balkans Again

  1. In this modern world, it seems hard for me to imagine that a small country like an independent Kosovo would be able to exist economically as a sovereign nation. One of the reasons why so many small countries became part of larger federal republics was that they were unable to sustain independent existence. (The other was conquest and war of course)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I see what you say….interesting that the US or Russia or China would take on a small country as a “ward”….there is just so much cash to throw away….chuq

  2. I always think of the 1984 Winter Olympics and how everyone talked about how great things were and how good it was that they could get along so well. Schlingher(?), one of John Kennedy’s main speechwriter and ghostwriter was there interviewing people in bars and smiling. Maybe things will still work out.

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