Western Balkans Publications

216. Language, Identity and Balkan Politics: Struggle for Identity in the Former Yugoslavia

Jul 07, 2011
April 2000- In the former Yugoslavia, language issues have long been both a reflection of inter-ethnic tensions and a catalyst for deepening inter-ethnic animosities. Since the collapse of the Yugoslav Federation in 1991, the insistence that the Serbo-Croatian language be broken up along ethnic lines has at times resulted in what some analysts have considered to be absurd and unnatural consequences. Indeed, given the ethnic polarization in the 1980s and 1990s, language has proven to be a highly emotional and politically sensitive topic. These two decades were characterized by increased competition among the Serbs, Croats, and Muslim Slavs for the populations of ethnically mixed regions. The official concern was for the language rights of ethnic kin residing outside the borders of their home republic. This concern was strongest within Serbian linguistic circles where dialectologists actively engaged in documenting the dialects of Serbs residing in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In a similar fashion, Croat linguists became concerned about the dialects of ethnic Croats in the Herzegovina and Posavian regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina. more

137. Troubled Economic Transitions In The Yugoslav Successor States

Jul 07, 2011
May 1997 - The successor states to the former Yugoslavia may be unanimous in their opposition to any political project even hinting at its recreation, but they still face a set of surprisingly common economic problems. (On the emergence of the successor states from the collapse of Yugoslavia, see Yugoslavia and After: A Study in Fragmentation, Despair, and Rebirth, edited by David A. Dyker and Ivan Vojvoda [New York: Longman, 1996].) For one, there is the obvious absence of the economic boom that a postwar recovery period often generates. As a partial solution, business enterprises are turning back toward their nearest neighbors, their former compatriots. Even this movement faces two further problems. First, their transitions to a market economy based on private enterprise are in the best case half-finished and have in the worst cases created new vested interests grounded in political power and corruption. Second, while private entrepreneurship has indeed grown apace, its enterprises are typically too small or too closely linked to political or outright criminal networks to press effectively, from below, for a legal market framework. more

291. Building Local Democracy under Conditions of Uncertainty in Kosovo

Jul 07, 2011
January 2004 - Over the past decade, international organizations and development NGOs have broadened their efforts to nurture democratic governance from the centers of power in capital cities to local government. Local government is the first tier of public authority that people confront in their everyday lives. Good local governance provides services to diverse populations, facilitates the development of political institutions and cross cutting social networks and fosters economic development. At the same time, effective local government has the capacity to resolve conflicts at an early stage, preventing them from escalating into violence. In this light, the circumstances enhancing the sustainability of post-conflict local democracy command great interest. more

215. Languages and Ethnicity in Balkan Politics: Macedonian, Bulgarian and Albanian

Jul 07, 2011
April 2000- The Balkans in general and Macedonia in particular have been characterized by widespread multi-lingualism. Ironically, while the term Balkanization has come to mean "fragmentation," the linguistic term Balkanism refers to shared grammatical and lexical features which originated through intense multi-lingual contact. Such contact could only have arisen under conditions of predominantly peaceful coexistence. Yet, although language served as a group marker, religion was a more important source of identity in Ottoman Turkey where it constituted the basis of an individual's millet ('nationality'). more

69. U.S. Policy Toward the Former Yugoslavia

Jul 07, 2011
The author of this paper asserts that for the United States, the period since 1990 has been a time of confusion, conflicting signals, arrogance, misunderstanding, anomie, and ultimately, failure as successive administrations tried to figure out what American policy toward the Balkans should be. As we try to clear away the underbrush of this period, four distinct periods in U.S. policy toward Yugoslavia can be discerned. Hopefully, understanding those periods will help point the way to a more creative, positive, and successful U.S. policy toward the former Yugoslavia. more

287. Regime Change in Serbia and Iraq: What Have We Learned about the Legacy of Autocracies?

Jul 07, 2011
Although not an immediately obvious pairing, much can be learned from the fall of Serbia's autocracy that may be applied to Iraq. Both countries were isolated and run for a long time by forcefully imposed autocratic regimes that developed a breed of patriotism which did not allow for dissent. Opportunities for these two countries to cooperate were enhanced by the similar position of the two regimes under international sanctions and fighting for survival against a ‘common enemy.' Thus, not only do autocracies act similarly under similar conditions, but they also band together as they attempt to offset the ill effects of international pariah status. The reaction of the public in Serbia to the 1999 NATO campaign and the mind set that allowed for the continuation and at least temporary strengthening of Slobodan Milosevic's rule could have provided many clues, if not a template, for how Iraqis would behave under occupation. Moreover, the difficulties and slow pace of transformation in Serbia offer tips for state-building in Iraq. more

212. Geopolitical and Geostrategic Aspects of War in the Former Yugoslavia: 1991-2000

Jul 07, 2011
October 2000 - The war in the former Yugoslavia was not a civil war as often asserted, but a war of aggression by the Serbian regime in Belgrade, led Slobodan Milosevic, with the aim of creating a "Greater Serbian" state. This Greater Serbia was to encompass all the Serbs that lived in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). Belgrade's regime provided strong political and propaganda support to the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia to declare their regions autonomous. In both republics, the former Serbian-dominated Yugoslav People's Army (YPA) was used to arm the Serbian rebels and protect their self-declared autonomous areas. The YPA's attack against Slovenia in June 1991, and subsequent aggression against Croatia in July 1991, as well as against Bosnia in April 1992, were not spontaneous and improvised acts, but a part of a series of plans drawn up by the YPA's General Staff in late 1980s. more

211. Yugoslavia on the Brink of Elections: The Fate of the Federation

Jul 07, 2011
September 2000 - Yugoslavia is again at a crossroads. The elections on September 24 may determine whether a peaceful solution of the crisis will get a chance or whether the tensions will continue to build while the West braces itself for yet another conflict in that region. After a decade of violent destruction, there is no end of the disintegration process in sight. Even if the opposition wins the elections and the current regime in Serbia is toppled, the contentious nature of the relationship between Serbia and Montenegro - the two remaining republics forming the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - has yet to be resolved. The future of Kosovo similarly looms on the horizon with uncertainty. The reasons for the elusiveness of these political settlements are outlined below. more

66. The Third Yugoslavia, 1992 - 2001

Jul 07, 2011
The Milosevic regime was a classic example of what has been called a “democradura,” i.e., a system which combined some of the mechanisms of democracy (with the result that Milosevic’s Socialists were, at one point, forced to enter into a coalition with Seselj’s Radicals, in order to form a government) with many overtly authoritarian features (among which one might mention the constriction of press freedom, the use of the police against the political opposition, and systematic violations of human rights). If, as the author has argued elsewhere, political legitimacy hinges on the observance of routinized, legal, and accepted procedures for political succession, then much depends on the origins of the given regime. Accordingly, to understand the nature of the Milosevic regime and the roots of its crisis, one must return to its origins in 1987. more

286. The Limits of Lessons for Iraq

Jul 07, 2011
Jorge Santayana would be pleased. Nearly every policy proposal on Iraq these days mentions lessons learned from past interventions, such as postwar Germany and Japan, East Timor, Bosnia and Kosovo. In the spirit of Santayana's famous dictum—"those who forget the past are destined to relive it"—analysts have been doggedly culling US state-building experience for lessons learned. more



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.