In the former Yugoslavia, language issues have long been both a reflection of inter-ethnic tensions and a catalyst for deepening inter-ethnic animosities. Like religion and ethnicity, language serves as a marker of national identity. Given the ethnic polarization in the former Yugoslavia, language can be a highly emotional and politically sensitive topic. This piece first provides a brief overview of the history of the language-politics interface for the ethnic groups speaking the main language of the former Yugoslavia: Serbo-Croatian. Secondly, it outlines the disintegration of Serbo-Croatian language unity in 1991 as manifested in the emergence of at least three "successor languages" (Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian). Finally, it focuses on the often acrimonious debates of the last few years within Serbia regarding the future of a Serbian standard language.
May 1997 - One of the weakest aspects of Polish democracy, according to Marian Krzaklewski, Chair of the Solidarity trade union and leader of Akcja Wyborcza Solidarnosc (AWS--Solidarity Electoral Action Coalition), has been the inability of the post-Solidarity political parties to maintain a united front. Eight years after the collapse of Communism, the "destructive diffusion" of these groups has inhibited the creation of a well-defined political landscape and has left Poland's former Communists in control of the country.
The good news for Macedonia is that the current government, led by Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski (of the Social Democratic Union), has initiated a high-profile attack on corruption in the country. The Social Democrats (SDSM) and their Albanian coalition partners, Ali Ahmeti's Democratic Union for Integration (BDI), were elected in September 2002, on the heels of a damning report by the International Crisis Group (ICG). This document highlighted the serious levels of corruption in the country. Since taking the reins of power, the SDSM and BDI have launched a two-pronged strategy. One part involves clamping down on the activities of the Albanian mafia in western Macedonia. The other concerns prosecuting those who abused power in the previous government and setting forth new rules to increase the transparency and integrity of the government.
The purpose of this paper is to emphasize the importance of diplomatic reporting, particularly in the century before 1914 when ambassadors were men of influence and when their dispatches were read by those who made the final decisions in foreign policy. European diplomats often held strong opinions and were sometimes influenced by passions and prejudices, but nevertheless throughout the century their activities contributed to assuring that this period would, with obvious exceptions, be an era of peace in continental affairs.
May 2000 - A decade after the fall of Communism, there remains little discussion within the public sphere of the fundamental differences that separate the states and societies of Western and Eastern Europe. This oversight is regrettable not only because it limits our ability to resolve problems in the Balkans, but also because that region is far more representative of the world at large than is Western Europe.
This report draws from the dialogue and seminar papers shared at a December 2008 meeting co-hosted by the Wilson Center and the Fetzer Institute to explore conditions that promote resilience and examine compelling examples of community resilience worldwide.
September 2004 - The latest challenges to a world order based on liberalism seem to render the Communist and post-Communist experiences obsolete. Some believe that Communism was so exceptional that, at the end of day, its lessons can teach us little. But I disagree. An enormous wealth of experience can be gained from the communist experiment, its rise, its reign and its fall. Perhaps the most important one is in the field of state and nation building, since no regime before communism had both the drive and the coercive power to impose institutions upon people that were so far from the organic development of both the state and the nation. Although the initial conditions for transformation vary greatly, some clear lessons do emerge out of a comparison between the successful and unsuccessful state-building projects in postcommunist Europe.
Although the elements that will contribute to NATO's new mission have begun to emerge at the 50th anniversary of its founding, the shape of the concept itself still requires definition. This paper is intended to advance that process of definition. If the needs of NATO are to be met, then the Alliance will have to adopt a strategic mission that upholds international order, yet sets limits on that mission. Such a mission must meet the needs of Alliance members and partners for stability ; whether in the face of local conflict in some regions, or the international threat of "rogue states" and the terrorist campaigns of both state sponsored and non-state actors.
October 2001- During October 1956, Hungarians reached out to join the West and found that, by intent and purpose, they were alone. Even the international community appeared to have abandoned their call for freedom. By the second invasion of the Red Army on November 4, the Hungarians seemed to stand alone, refugees in their own country. Yet throughout the fight, the Austrians remained loyal to their historic neighbors and the ideals that drove the uprising.