The Balkans, Russian offensive and Western allies

By Dr. Lisen Bashkurti 

Pandora’s Box was opened in the Balkans.  In this region unpleasant actions that should have been prevented, just happened.  Republika Srpska, led by a rudimentary Serbian national-segregation movement, on September 25th, held its referendum that would enable it to break away from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was challenged once again, the Dayton Peace Accords of 1995 were humiliated, and a European government was disregarded.

“Pandora’s Box” is opened in the Balkans. This means that a “Dynamite Barrel’s” history is erupting over the International Norms and over Euro-Atlantic integration processes.  After the precedent of Republika Srpska we could expect similar referendums in Vojvodina, region of Presheva, Macedonia (FYROM) and perhaps in Northern Kosovo…

The “Crimean” precedent by Russia

Who brought the keys of “Pandora’s Box” to the Balkans? There is no doubt that the Serbian Anti-Dayton referendum dream in Bosnia and Herzegovina has never been extinguished by its adherents since the days when the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed.  Moreover, international geopolitical inspirations are required in order to have such a dream become a reality.

On this occasion the empowerment of these pretexts came from Putin’s Russia.  Putinism was even adopted all the way to diplomatic bargaining where tit-for-tat was a daily habit, while requesting to the Community of Western Countries “to recognize the Crimean Referendum in exchange of Moscow’s recognition of Kosovo’s Independence.”

With these initiatives Putin had stated clearly that his geopolitics places in the first place the prevalence of Russian interests above the principles of International Law.  President Putin is very similar to Peter the Great and moderately compared to Joseph Stalin…

European Union’s attitude just like Austro-Hungary’s apex of influence…

The factors of the Balkans do not have internal powers to rise up against their past.  “Pandora’s Box” in the Balkans is a flamethrower directed to a “Dynamite Barrel” that is hiding at every corner of Balkan nationalisms. The countries’ constellation in the Balkans has young nations, like Kosovo; failed states, like Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation; countries in a transitional dilemma, like Macedonia.

These three categories of countries are the first to be threatened from the opening of “Pandora’s Box” and from the activation of the “Dynamite Barrel” in the Balkans.  On the distant peripheries we have a highly organized and democratic pro-western country of Croatia and the disorganized and feeble nation of Serbia which is focused ambiguously towards Russia and Europe.

Croatia has no ambitions in the Balkans.  Meanwhile Serbia has a great appetite in the Balkans.  Indeed, due to its own faults Serbia has more appetite than her teeth would ever allow…

In this environment European Union continues to be passive and maintains a chaotic posture.  Such an attitude of European Union is observed in its decades’ long posture with Turkey; we have seen it with our own eyes, even worst with Ukraine, which is in complete agony.

European Union is heavily mistaken just like Austria-Hungary during the Balkan Wars (1911-1913) that were the prologue of the Sarajevo assassination of 1914.  The EU is weak towards Russia, hesitant towards the Balkans, highly xenophobic against Turkey and egoistic against the United States; the European Union is creating a geopolitical vacuum that has serious and negative consequences in the Balkans.

The vacuum of European Union in the Balkans is in fact the return of Russian Geopolitical interests, a rebirth of old rudimentary Balkan interventions as well as the recycling of historical clashes among the great powers and the regional traditional clashes between Eurasia and Euro – Mediterranean spheres of influence.

Inactions of the United States…

From such a threatening triangle, the Balkans can come out of this chaos only through a serious propensity of United States.  Nonetheless the White House is preparing to handle a major reshuffling that will subsequently take place after the November presidential elections.  Meanwhile President Obama is in a period of international inactions…

As a result the United States has left a vacuum in the Balkans…it is certain that the United States have become the masters of the house in the Balkans after the fall of Berlin Wall.  Due to their absence in the Balkans what is happening is what Honoré de Balzac used to say: “When the head of the house is away from home, rats will be dancing all over the floor.”

Translated from Albanian by Peter Tase

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Lisen Bashkurti

Dr. Lisen Bashkurti is the President of Albanian Diplomatic Academy in Albania. Prof. Bashkurti has been a Chancellor in a number of Universities in the Balkan Peninsula. He is also the Global Vice President of Sun Moon University in South Korea. As a distinguished scholar of international relations he has received many international awards including: A “Gold Medal” for his research on US-Albanian Partnership,” “Four Silver Medals” for his great contribution during his service as Albania’s Ambassador to Hungary (1992-1993); appointed as “Peace Ambassador” from the International Peace Foundation, United Nations (2009). He is the author of more than 18 books that cover a range of issues including: International Affairs, Negotiations and Conflict Resolution, International Diplomacy, Multilateral Diplomacy and Diplomatic History. He is an honorary professor in many prestigious European Universities and an honorary fellow to a number of prominent International Institutions.

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