Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security

By Barry Buzan; Ole Wæver | Go to book overview

12
The Balkans and Turkey

The Balkan states (hereafter the Balkans) get a separate chapter because of the possibility during the 1990s that they would form a separate RSC. The outcome was not decided by internal Balkan dynamics but largely by the different securitisations external powers made of the Balkan situation. The Balkan case also serves to explore the nature of both subcomplexes and insulators, particularly Turkey. Europe is the best setting in which to study Turkey because of its special status in Turkish foreign policy.

In terms of interaction capacity and patterns of securitisation, the local actors in especially ex-Yugoslavia today mainly connect to each other, but the power of the surrounding actors is so overwhelming that the Balkans can easily be absorbed as a subregion within EU-Europe. Following the basic principle of RSCT whereby a constellation is produced bottom-up, by connecting actor to actor to actor, the conclusion should be that the Balkans is an RSC. This conclusion would be wrong. Due to the asymmetry of power between the actors in and around the Balkans, it is in the hands of the external powers to 'force' the Balkans into the European complex. However, it was also possible for them to try to fence the Balkans off, and decouple and contain it in order to keep its traditional security problems outside Europe. There was even an ideological basis for this in the availability of discourses of Balkan (isation). In 1991–2, the Balkan region was both relatively separate–interactions were clearly more intense within than across the boundary of ex-Yugoslavia– and also distinct in the sense that the kind of security dynamics here took a markedly different form (dehumanisation, war, ethnic cleansing) than in the rest of Europe. However, the outcome seems now almost certain: the Balkans will not be left to its own devices. The West has taken over the development. The commitments symbolised first by major military

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