January 1998 - Critics of continued US involvement in Bosnia have described the Dayton peace process as a real-life "mission impossible" that is doomed to fail. More than one of these skeptics has likened plans for reconstructing Bosnia's prewar multiethnic society to putting "Humpty-Dumpty back together again." My own guarded optimism stems largely from a quarter century studying the former Habsburg monarchy, a state which provides numerous models for multiethnic coexistence when there is a reasonably democratic society based on the rule of law. It is also informed by four trips to post-Dayton Bosnia, during which I've seen that Bosnia has more than all the king's horses and all the king's men at work piecing together this shell of a country. Even the seemingly limitless resources of the industrial world may not be enough to make Bosnia whole, but there is little question that the cumulative efforts of the international community and more than 200 governmental and private organizations can accomplish a great deal.
June 2002- I am very pleased to have this opportunity to present to you the short overview of the situation on-the-ground in Croatia, the government's achievements in the last two years, as well as our short- and long-term priorities and objectives.
71. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: How the US-EU Battle over Article 98 Played Out in Croatia and MacedoniaJul 07, 2011
This paper outlines how two Yugoslav successor states, Macedonia and Croatia, faced the dilemma of having to choose between two vital allies. It traces how the issue played itself out in the domestic political arena in the late spring and early summer of 2003, and explains why in the end Croatia rejected US demands in favor of the EU while Macedonia chose to comply with the US. Both the US and the EU are monitoring the postcommunist and post-conflict transitions of the Balkan states closely. All this attention has meant that the Balkans became a particularly crucial battleground for the ICC issue. The decision-making process described in this paper tells a lot about how small post-communist states define their national interests (in terms of politics, economics, and security) and balance external pressures with internal realities in their bids to join Western institutions. Moreover, the outcomes are instructive about the dynamics of US-EU competition and its consequences for the ongoing transition in the region.
November 2005 - Mostar was the most heavily damaged city of the 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia. Ninety percent of its center was damaged and a third of its buildings were completely destroyed. Thousands were killed and tens of thousands were displaced from their homes and from the city, while tens of thousands of others moved to Mostar. This physical and demographic change clearly affected the city's postwar climate. However, the war's most notorious legacy in Mostar is the city's political and psychological division into Croat and Muslim sides.
November 1998 - We know the story of ancient Balkan ethnic hatred is largely false: before the late 19th century, conflict in the Balkan peninsula generally ran between South Slavs and their imperial neighbors, not among the South Slavs themselves. That said, there was one genuinely ancient conflict in the region involving the Ottoman Empire. From the 13th to the 18th century, the Ottoman armies were a permanent threat to the South Slavs. Since many (but by no means all) of the Ottoman armed forces were of Slavic origin, kin to their enemies, this period of Ottoman wars can plausibly be seen as the sole example of "ancient" hatred in the Balkans.
December 2003 - Barely one week before the European Union's biggest enlargement ever on May 1, 2004, the European Commission gave Croatia the green light to open formal accession negotiations for EU membership. Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader toasted the news with champagne in Zagreb, declaring: "Today we turn a new page in history." The Commission's decision is a remarkable turnaround for a country that was mired in violent conflict a decade ago and diplomatically isolated for most of the 1990s. It is significant as well that Sanader, elected in December 2003 when the Croatian Democratic Union (CDU) resumed power, celebrates this historic moment. The nationalist policies of his party's founder, Franjo Tudman, thwarted Croatia's European aspirations throughout the 1990s. CDU leaders and their supporters continued in recent years to undermine the previous regime's commitment to meeting EU conditions, namely turning over indicted war criminals to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The election of the CDU in December 2003 thus provided an important test for whether changes brought about by the EU's accession process are enduring. By fulfilling his pledge to make a clear and determined effort to enter the EU, even at the expense of marginalizing nationalist factions, Sanader appears to have turned a new page.
January 1997 - Two American economists resident in Croatia and Macedonia weighed the balance of pluses and minuses in the economies of these two former Yugoslav successor states in a joint presentation at an EES Noon Discussion. Evan Kraft and Michael Wyzan both found inflation well under control and industrial production rising in the respective economies, but they also emphasized a number of daunting structural problems, particularly the slow pace and politically manipulated nature of privatization.
November 2007 - On August 5, 2007, Croatia celebrated the twelfth anniversary of Operation Storm (Oluja), the four-day military action that liberated over 10,000 square kilometers (18.4 percent of Croatia) after peace negations to reintegrate the territory failed to make progress. The entire Croatian political leadership gathered in Knin, the capital of the former Krajina para-state and the actual and symbolic center of the Serb rebellion against rule from Zagreb. Since 1996, Croatia has commemorated the day Knin fell to the Croatian Army as the Day of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving.
February 2000 - The U.S. has a tendency to repeatedly back the worst of candidates in foreign elections. This is especially true in Eastern Europe where high marks are given for the candidate's ability to be charming, speak good English and wear deodorant but who otherwise have zero effectiveness in their own societies.
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.