Western Balkans Publications
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.
252. Tragedy, Transition, and Transformation: The Local-International Nexus of Transnational Organized Crime in the Former Yugoslav RepublicsJul 07, 2011
April 2002- Transnational organized crime in the former Yugoslav Republics is a complex amalgam of local and international crime groups. The crime groups are not mafia-like in that they are not hierarchical groups based on formal associations. Instead, these are network structures loosely cooperating, which are deeply embedded in their communities. Performing functions on the local level, they cannot easily be dislodged because of weak government, local passivity, and even outright complicity. Furthermore, these organizations have such strength because they draw on the traditional links among Slavic communities, such as established trade routes and the historic geopolitical importance of the Balkan Peninsula within Europe.
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').
337. Language Politics and Language Policies in the Contemporary Western Balkans: Infinitives, Turkisms and EUrolinguisticsJul 07, 2011
April 2007 - Although the Western Balkans today is generally construed as Albania and former Yugoslavia, from the point of view of Balkan linguistics, Greece is also in this region. Here I shall examine some recent policy and political developments through the prisms of linguistics and of language ideology, i.e., the ways people think about language. Because language is both act and artifact—it exists in documents and the minds of speakers but at the same time it is constituted by everyday practices—the intersections of linguistics and politics are complex. This is true in Western Europe no less than in the Western Balkans, as can be seen, for example, in official French persecution of regional languages from 1794 to 1951, the 1972 statement of Georges Pompidou, then President of France, that there was no place for regional languages in France, the exclusion of Breton schools from French public funding in 2002 (Mercator-Education: Breton, 2003), the recent contretemps over the use of Occitanian in examinations ("L'occitan interdit en Ile de France?" Communique: Federacion dels Ensenhaires de Lengua e Cutlura d'Oc, 31 October 2006), etc. It can even be argued that EU ideologies of inclusiveness are being reflected in certain types of linguistic research that peripheralize the Balkans. In order to provide the necessary context for the following discussion, I will give a brief outline of some basics of Balkan linguistics.
May 2000 - In the early nineties, during the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the international community supported the independence of all of its six constituent republics. Four republics - Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia - became independent states. The remaining two other republics, Serbia and Montenegro, created the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in April 1992. One month later the new state, driven by international sanctions, fell prey to isolation. In a referendum, held in March 1992, a majority of the citizens of Montenegro voted for co-existence with Serbia in a new common Federal state.
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.
September 1998 - Because of the press coverage and the policy interest both here and in Europe, a fundamental question arises over why the US--and the international community--should be concerned with Kosovo. The answer has two levels. The first is the issue of the violation of the Kosovar Albanians' human rights within their own country, although suffering and human rights violations are not unique to Kosovo. The second is the issue of Balkan stability in which the United States and Europe--including NATO--have a stated interest. The threat of spillover violence to an already unstable Albania and the precarious democracy in Macedonia (FYROM) is great. Spillover violence could have an impact on the Dayton peace process--here the United States has committed substantial resources including 6,900 troops--and potentially across the broader Balkan region, which might lead to a collapse of the former Yugoslavia and embroil Greece and Turkey.
This working paper examines the economic aspect of state-building in the former Yugoslavia. It hypothesizes that during the process of division and in the first four years of economic independence each of the five successor states chose economic policy options which are leading to divergent patterns of economic growth. As a result, after four years, five distinct economies have emerged, each pursuing increasingly diverging growth paths. This divergence is even more striking when we remember that each of the successor states began with the same institutional framework, a common transition path, and a comparable level of macroeconomic instability.
In April 1992, the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was deployed to Croatia with a 12-month term and a mission to demilitarize and protect "the continuing functioning, on an interim basis, of the existing local authorities and police, under United Nations supervision, pending the achievement of an overall political solution to the crisis." More than ten years, thousands of peacekeepers, and hundreds of millions of dollars later, the former states of Yugoslavia are arguably as far from a political solution as they ever were. In a recent meeting sponsored by the East European Studies Program, two Balkans experts, A. Ross Johnson and Misha Glenny assessed the past ten years of peacekeeping in Southeastern Europe and offered alternative strategies for the future.
February 2002- It was the federal system or its insufficiently consistent implementation that tormented and eventually broke down the first and the second Yugoslavia. The third one, which we live in today, or more precisely, on whose ruins we live today, has also failed to produce an adequate solution for this issue. Therefore, we are trying with a vengeance to identify a good federal formula, quite new in many aspects, so that it could serve as a framework for a fourth, sustainable Yugoslavia, or, if you like, a newly established community of Serbia and Montenegro.