Eastern Europe Publications
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.
December 1998 - In 1977 Czechoslovakia and Hungary agreed to build a barrage complex on the Danube River with large dams at Gabcikovo (Czechoslovakia) and Nagymaros (Hungary). According to the treaty, the jointly-owned and -operated system would "strengthen the fraternal relations of the two states and significantly contribute to the bringing about of the[ir] socialist integration." In reality, however, it sparked a controversy between these two neighbors that has plagued Hungarian-Slovak relations for more than two decades.
All nationalities, ethnic groups, or peoples are by definition intrinsically unique, set apart from one another by their cultures, languages, and historical experiences. Yet it can be said confidently that in many respects the Roma (Gypsies) constitute a most unusual ethnic group, not only in Eastern Europe but also in a larger, global sense. The uniqueness of the Roma lies in the fact that they are a transnational, nonterritorially based people that do not have a homeland to provide haven or extend protection. As the author discusses, it is this characterization of the Roma which explains their marginality as well as their relationship to the states and societies of Europe and beyond.
February 2004 - Less than four years after its foundation, the Brcko District has become a leader in reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was the first jurisdiction to completely reorganize and rehire an independent judiciary, and the first to introduce and implement modern criminal and civil codes. Brcko established the first truly multiethnic police force, which was the first to be certified as qualified by the UN Mission. The entire civil service was rehired on a more transparent, multiethnic basis, with new salary scales and modern budgetary and procurement systems. It was the first to reintegrate its schools into a single multiethnic school district. Brcko was among the first to establish a business-friendly climate for registering new businesses and to re-register old firms in order to weed out fictitious ones. It has been a leader in indicting former officials for abuse of office, in uncovering customs fraud, and developing mechanisms to discourage conflicts of interest. While certainly not the first place in Bosnia to rebuild, Brcko has successfully attracted foreign investment, privatized a large part of its state-owned companies and apartments, rebuilt thousands of homes and launched an economic recovery that seems to have momentum. The process of returning usable housing to original owners or occupancy-right holders is essentially complete. It has resolved sticky post-war issues, such as renaming streets and removing nationalist monuments peacefully through inter-ethnic negotiation.
356. Strengthening US-Slovak Cooperation and the Transatlantic Partnership: Opportunities and Challenges in Today's WorldJul 07, 2011
November 2008 - For Slovakia and for our friend and neighbor the Czech Republic, autumn is a good time of balancing out, commemorating and remembering many common historical events that determined the future for both of our countries. This particular autumn is marked by a growing number of global challenges, including the global financial crisis and recession which require bold and comprehensive global solutions. At the same time, for the USA and the whole world, this autumn is a time of much hope and expectation, given the presidential elections and accession of the new U.S. administration in January 2009.
December 1997 - Speaking at a Noon Discussion, Krzysztof Jasiewicz reminded his audience that it was exactly fifteen years ago, on December 13, 1981, that General Wojciech Jaruzelski imposed martial law in Poland in order to suppress Solidarity. If someone had told him then that in fifteen years Aleksander Kwasniewski would be president of Poland, Jasiewicz would have said, "Oh, sure, that's quite likely. If Jaruzelski dies, and Mieczyslaw Rakowski dies, then Kwasniewski is a likely candidate for succession." If, however, someone had told him that between Jaruzelski and Kwasniewski's tenures, the presidency would belong to Lech Walesa, he would have been mystified. What has in fact happened is proof for Jasiewicz that the totalitarian model of succession has been fully replaced by the mechanisms of pluralist democracy.
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.
The armed forces serve two important functions in the eyes of the East European political leaderships. First, they are a vehicle for maintaining political stability if the system is threatened from within. Second, from an external standpoint, to the degree the political leadership is able to field a modern, viable military, the regime's hand is strengthened in its dealings with the Soviets. Unfortunately for the East European leaderships, the historical record over the past forty years suggests that these militaries are of only limited utility in the first area, and, with the exception of the GDR, are becoming less valuable by the second.
Since the end of the Cold War, key regional organizations like NATO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and lately, with the development of a security dimension, the EU, have been engaged in a race to transform and adapt to the changing security environment. These entities, however, have been transforming in competition rather than coordination with each other.
October 1998 - The mass-based, extreme brand of nationalism, connected with the rise of Slobodan MiloŠevic and with the most cataclysmic years of Yugoslavia's meltdown and disintegration (1990-93), has to a large extent dissipated. However, political forces advancing extreme nationalist sentiments, as well as popular support for those views, remain strong in Serbia and among Serbs in other areas such as Kosovo and the Republika Srpska (as we have just seen from the electoral results in Bosnia). Although intellectual ideologists of Serbian nationalism and ultra-nationalism have been dispirited by MiloŠevic's failures, fundamental views about Serbia's national and territorial interests persist, related to feelings of "wounded national pride." Talk of pursuing a "Greater Serbia" and open revanchism are now rather less visible, as soul-searching occurs about recent Serb experiences in the Balkans. There is still, however, a strong commitment in various circles to the pursuit of Serbian national interests, as well as resentment about what has occurred over the last decade.