Western Balkans Publications

280. The European Union, the Balkans and Turkey: Can "Soft Power" Bring Stability and Democracy

Jul 07, 2011
October 2003 - The European Union (EU) is widely recognized as the international actor with the most potential influence in promoting ethnic reconciliation, shoring up democracy and supporting the economic revitalization of the Balkans. The EU's influence is immediate—providing humanitarian aid, economic assistance, market access and political support. It is also long-term—shaping the tenor of domestic politics by offering the prospect of EU membership. The prospect of EU membership may be more diffuse, but it is ultimately more powerful. It provides substantial and consistent incentives for political moderation and reform on the part of elites in the Balkans and also in Turkey. The World Bank's 2001 report noted that its strategy for the region is "built upon the assumption that a credible commitment to integration with European and global structures, especially the European Union, is a critical ingredient of success, as it will serve as an external driver of reform and intra-regional integration." more

162. Kosovo: Challenge To Balkan Stability

Jul 07, 2011
September 1998 - Because of the press coverage and the policy interest both here and in Europe, a fundamental question arises over why the US--and the international community--should be concerned with Kosovo. The answer has two levels. The first is the issue of the violation of the Kosovar Albanians' human rights within their own country, although suffering and human rights violations are not unique to Kosovo. The second is the issue of Balkan stability in which the United States and Europe--including NATO--have a stated interest. The threat of spillover violence to an already unstable Albania and the precarious democracy in Macedonia (FYROM) is great. Spillover violence could have an impact on the Dayton peace process--here the United States has committed substantial resources including 6,900 troops--and potentially across the broader Balkan region, which might lead to a collapse of the former Yugoslavia and embroil Greece and Turkey. more

296. The Return of Nationalists in Serbia and Croatia: Is Democracy Threatened?

Jul 07, 2011
May 2004 - Seemingly discredited just a few short years ago, the nationalist parties that were the main perpetrators of war, undemocratic politics and economic mismanagement in the former Yugoslavia's two largest successor states have made an electoral comeback after several years of rule by reformist, pro-Western coalitions. In Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ-Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica), which held a virtual monopoly on political power throughout the 1990s, won the largest number of seats (43 percent) in the November 2003 parliamentary elections and became the governing party in a four-party coalition and Ivo Sanader, the HDZ leader, became prime minister. The far-right Croatian Party of Rights (HSP-Hrvatska Stranka Prava) doubled its representation in parliament from four to eight seats, but did not join the ruling coalition. In the Serbian parliamentary election of December 2003, the top vote- and seat-getter (32 percent of parliamentary seats) was the Serbian Radical Party (Srpska Radikalna Stranka—SRS) of Vojislav Seselj, currently detained in the Netherlands for war crimes. The SRS, albeit never the ruling party in Serbia, had played a key role as the ideological surrogate of Slobodan Milosevic and the former ruling Serbian Socialist Party (SPS-Srpska Partija Socjalisticka). Besides helping Milosevic solidify his nationalist credentials, the SRS also performed some of the former regime's dirty work by organizing paramilitaries to fight in Croatia and Bosnia. The SPS itself managed to win only 22 seats in the December 2003 election. Both Seselj and Milosevic topped their parties' lists and were elected in absentia. Despite its strong showing in the election, however, the SRS did not form a government, a task that was undertaken by a group of democratically-minded parties led by the Serbian Democratic Party (DSS-Demokratska Stranka Srbije) of Vojislav Kostunica, who decided, to the great dismay of Western diplomats, to seek nominal support of Milosevic's Socialists for his government. These developments (along with the fact that nationalist parties prevailed in 2002 federal elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina) could lead some observers to find a resurgent nationalism throughout the Balkans. more

223. Restarting U.S. - Yugoslav Relations

Jul 07, 2011
January 2001- Three months ago the whole world was relieved when Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia's ruler for the past thirteen years, was removed from power. The opposition won the election but it is the people who went to the streets, willing to risk their very lives, who are the real victor and nobody must forget that including the new government. The Serbian population was fed up with failed promises and patriotic slogans and had enough of the isolation and everyday misery which it had to endure for over a decade. Most importantly, they wanted to reclaim their lives and the future of their children. more

196. Why the Balkans?

Jul 07, 2011
March 2000 - At the beginning of this new century we may ask what problems we inherited, unresolved, from the last century. One of those problems is the Balkans. more

314. Now That the Wars Have Ended, Did We Learn Anything?

Jul 07, 2011
April 2005 - Yugoslavia's dramatic dissolution provoked an outpouring of scholarly, journalistic and autobiographical commentary throughout the 1990s, and it was only with the end of major bloodshed and the departure of the primary villain(s) from the scene at the start of the new millennium that the Balkans receded from the center of the public eye. Yet now that the dust has settled, it is appropriate to ask whether or not we have learned anything from the events of that decade. In particular, what caused a once-functioning and respected state to disintegrate, and to disintegrate as violently as it did, and are there any inferences we can make about the management of sectarian strife in other multinational polities—including the entities that once made up pre-1990 Yugoslavia? more

252. Tragedy, Transition, and Transformation: The Local-International Nexus of Transnational Organized Crime in the Former Yugoslav Republics

Jul 07, 2011
April 2002- Transnational organized crime in the former Yugoslav Republics is a complex amalgam of local and international crime groups. The crime groups are not mafia-like in that they are not hierarchical groups based on formal associations. Instead, these are network structures loosely cooperating, which are deeply embedded in their communities. Performing functions on the local level, they cannot easily be dislodged because of weak government, local passivity, and even outright complicity. Furthermore, these organizations have such strength because they draw on the traditional links among Slavic communities, such as established trade routes and the historic geopolitical importance of the Balkan Peninsula within Europe. more

208. Top Yugoslav Expert Expects Milosevic to Go Peacefully

Jul 07, 2011
September 2000 - Milosevic has gradually been losing credibility over the past few years and these recent elections signify the beginning of the end for him. According to Cerovic, Milosevic's cronies will most likely turn their support towards the victorious presidential candidate of the democratic opposition, Vojislav Kostunica. Election results tallied by the opposition indicate an overwhelming 55% support for Kostunica. By contrast, election votes counted by the regime's Federal Election Commission gave Kostunica only 48% - short of the 50% +1 margin needed to forgo a second round. Cerovic believes that only by seizing the moment and defying the government's call for a second round of elections can the united opposition continue to exert additional pressure on Milosevic and further weaken his grip on power. more

43. The Economics of State-Building in the Former Yugoslavia

Jul 07, 2011
This working paper examines the economic aspect of state-building in the former Yugoslavia. It hypothesizes that during the process of division and in the first four years of economic independence each of the five successor states chose economic policy options which are leading to divergent patterns of economic growth. As a result, after four years, five distinct economies have emerged, each pursuing increasingly diverging growth paths. This divergence is even more striking when we remember that each of the successor states began with the same institutional framework, a common transition path, and a comparable level of macroeconomic instability. more

274. One Hypothesis on the Different Outcomes of Soviet and Yugoslav State Collapse

Jul 07, 2011
In 1991, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia—two multinational Communist federal states with comparable histories of indigenous revolutions and similar nationality policies—disintegrated. As the only two countries that fully implemented the system of ethno-territorial federalism, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia shared important structural features. In both cases, the basic political-administrative units—the republics—were organized along ethnic lines and were seen as the quasi-national homelands of the titular nations. more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.