October 2000 - In their discussion, Robert Hayden and Eric Gordy identified the main reasons for the opposition's electoral victory in the September 24 presidential elections and elaborated on potential challenges facing the new regime once in power. Several factors contributed to the opposition party's victory. Hayden and Gordy cited the: the decreasing amount of support for Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) party as well as a crisis of orientation within the party; the ongoing repression and open violence which exposed a sign of desperation within the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS); the influence of the student resistance movement OTPOR; and, the uncertainty of support for Milosevic by the military and the police. In addition, several potential divisions and defections within Milosevic's coalition further threaten to weaken the ruling regime's hold on power.
December 2007 - Western attention in Southeastern Europe is focused on Kosovo, Bosnia and the surrounding Western Balkans. But, I ask that some attention also be paid to neighboring Bulgaria. This core state of the historical Ottoman Balkans is completing its first year as a member of the European Union and its fourth year as a member of NATO. I resist the temptation of dwelling on how unlikely this prospect seemed when I first went to Sofia as a young Foreign Service Officer some 40 years ago. Now, with the same special interest in wider economic prospects and the same domestic pessimism about its own political process that has repeatedly surfaced over the past century, Bulgarians should nonetheless be looking back with satisfaction on their initial year as a full member of the largest common organization in European history. On a personal level, a Bulgarian friend traveling to Italy welcomed the smile and a wave that replaced a scowl and a Schengen visa check at the Rome airport. Some 60 percent of Bulgaria's foreign trade is now with the EU, and as a new member, it is expecting 11 billion euros of adjustment assistance over the next six years. But before turning to the clouds that I found gathering over Sofia, let me first address the silver lining.
The Polish nation had experienced both Nazism and communism. These were not equal experiences, and social memory about them differs to a considerable degree. In order to perform such an operation, it would be necessary to halt history in June 1941. Since it is impossible to stop history in order to examine the period from mid-September 1939 to June 1941, it is helpful, as this article does, to study Polish recollections of their experiences so as to understand their continued impact on national history and memory.
October 2004 - The situation in the southern Balkans had generally been seen to be improving in 2003, with some institutional progress in Kosovo, the gradual implementation of the Ohrid Accords in Macedonia and activity on European Union (EU) accession in all countries. The international community was, though, excessively optimistic about the post-Milosevic climate in Serbia, which it believed would usher in a series of benevolent changes for the whole region and thus undermine nationalist sentiment in both Kosovo and Montenegro. In reality, little has changed in the Serbia-Kosovo relationship over the last three years. In this context, the Kosovo rioting and attacks on property and religious buildings in March 2004 were a shock to most of the international community. A number of random incidents led to the riots, which were also fueled by popular dissatisfaction with UNMIK's performance regarding unemployment and electric power generation. The riots did not halt the progress in transferring power and competencies to the new local institutions or the withdrawal of UNMIK from some spheres of Kosovo life. Nevertheless, they were a symbol of the deep underlying problems in Kosovo.
March 17, 2003 Debate and confusion have emerged over the possible duration and costs in terms of manpower, military expenditure and development of the impending war in Iraq and the subsequent nation-building exercise envisaged by the administration. A look at the U.S. and allied experience in the ongoing nation-building efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo would help to put the costs and challenges of Iraq into realistic and sobering perspective.
October 2001- The comparison between Nazism and Communism is justified on both moral and scholarly grounds. But scholars are not judges, and the confusion between these two roles can make some scholars oblivious to important distinctions. French historian Francois Furet, in his correspondence with German historian Ernst Nolte, insisted that there is something absolutely evil, both at 1) the level of original intention and 2) the implementation of the utopian goals in Nazi practice. Comparable as the two mass horrors of Nazism and Communism are, however, there is something singular about the Holocaust.
1999 - The international strategy on Kosovo, developed in early 1999, ran off course when the Kosovar Albanians did not initially accept proposals for an agreement because it did not offer their ultimate goal: separation. The international strategy assumed that the Kosovar Albanians would agree and that a threat to use air power against Serbian forces to coerce agreement might be required. It also assumed that eventually Belgrade would back down.
February 1997 - Observers of Polish Politics may feel a strong sense of déja vu. Like the historic election of 1989 which precipitated the collapse of Communist regimes across Eastern Europe, Solidarity emerged victorious from the parliamentary elections of September 1997, a showdown between the former Communists and the Electoral Action Solidarity (AWS). The AWS, a coalition of the trade union "Solidarity" and several minor parties, won decidedly, with 33.8% of the votes and 201 of the 460 seats in the Sejm. The post-Communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) finished second with 27.1% of the votes and 164 seats. A distant third was the Freedom Union (UW) party, dominated by the former Solidarity intellectual elite, with 13.4% of the votes and 60 seats. It was followed by the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), the 1993-97 coalition partner of the SLD (7.3% and 27 seats), and the Movement for the Rebirth of Poland, another party with Solidarity roots (5.6% and 6 seats). The remaining two seats were won by the Silesian Germans, exempt from the 5% threshold as a national minority. Among those who didn't clear the threshold was the leftist Labor Union (UP) with 4.7%.
This paper analyzes the disintegration of communism in Poland and the formation of a new socio-economic and political system. The actions of political elites have been pivotal in this process. One of the basic conclusions of the analysis that follows is that, because of the weak articulation of the structures of civil society, political elites were not subjected to precise social demands and pressures.
A defining moment during my two-year stay in Romania, struggling with the archives there, occurred when an American history doctoral student, who was in Romania on a Fulbright grant, turned to me one day and earnestly asked why on earth I would ever pick Ana Pauker as a subject for a biography. He evidently failed to see the irony in his question, since he was writing a biography of Ion Antonescu, the wartime dictator of Romania.