The Tragedy of Yugoslavia: The Failure of Democratic Transformation

The Tragedy of Yugoslavia: The Failure of Democratic Transformation

The Tragedy of Yugoslavia: The Failure of Democratic Transformation

The Tragedy of Yugoslavia: The Failure of Democratic Transformation

Synopsis

Once it was hoped that the Yugoslav federation might manage to defy the odds once more, this time to become one of the world's few examples of democratic pluralism. Instead, we are witnessing another Balkan tragedy. What went wrong? In this volume scholars from Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia examine the Janus face of pluralism, with case studies of electoral politics in the republics and of what were once the country's institutions of integration - the League of Communists, the managerial elite, and the army. Among the contributors are Mirjana Kaspovic, Tomaz Masmak, Vesna Pusic, Anton Bebler, Ivan Siber, Vucina Vasovic, and the editors.

Excerpt

The essays in this collection were written before the outbreak of hostilities among the republics of Yugoslavia in 1991. in fact, the reader should be aware that this volume was conceived in March 1990, following a series of meetings of professional colleagues in Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia. At that time, it seemed that civil war was only a remote possibility, and that pluralism and democracy were on the eve of an historic triumph. Yet, without exception, all of the contributors to the volume were concerned about the proliferation of disquieting signs. This book is a product of that concern and disquiet.

Each chapter should be read and understood in that historical context rather than as a reflection on more recent, tragic events. the editors decided to present the papers as submitted rather than try to update each piece continually. Taken together, the essays present a picture of the possibilities facing Yugoslavia just before the onset of an irrational, fratricidal struggle for power. the message each gives is clear: the leaders and the populations of the Yugoslav republics had a choice between peace and civil war. Sadly, their paths led to war.

This book does not pinpoint responsibility for the current bloodshed and destruction in Yugoslavia. If anything, it suggests that every actor, but particularly the new leaders in the republics, must bear some responsibility for failures of will, of courage, and of statesmanship. As pointed out repeatedly in this volume, heroism was not a factor in the Yugoslav political equation. the Yugoslav republics in this critical period had no Havel, no Walesa, not even the quiet heroism of East Germany's Evangelical ministers. Nei-

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