Crises in the Balkans: Views from the Participants

By Constantine P. Danopoulos; Kostas G. Messas | Go to book overview

Foreword

Media coverage of the turmoil in the Balkans, particularly television, pervasively gives the impression of irrational, possibly thick witted cultures run amok. This produces high mass market entertainment values, but little basis for understanding what is really happening. There is, indeed, a great deal of violence in the Balkans, but it results from the breakdown of indigenous social institutions and the simultaneous failure of international security institutions to cope with these unfamiliar regional problems in the post-Cold War world. As the essays in this book demonstrate, the thesis of Balkan irrationality does not stand up under even casual scrutiny: A logic of self interest, distorted by the wrong incentives, is definitely at work.

The media, again particularly television, and not only the media but also American policy makers propelled by media images, oversimplify the Balkan cast of characters into heroes ("democrats") and villains (authoritarian thugs). Serbian President Slobodon Milosevic, for example, becomes "the butcher of the Balkans," single handedly responsible for the dissolution of Yugoslavia. But this facile impression ignores the reality that Yugoslavia was on its deathbed, beyond hope of resuscitation, at the mercy of many sorts of nationalists of which Milosevic was probably, but not indisputably, the worst. On these matters experts will disagree. Without making an explicit point out of their differences, the essays in this book show that reasonable disagreement is possible, even fruitful. The contrast in outlook here with the United States is stark. Instead of striving for objectivity, American officials, in a sort of trained automatic reflex, coddle their favorites -- whether President Sali Berisha in Albania or President Alija Izetbegovic in Bosnia -- and punish their scapegoats at every turn. That clouded vision of Balkan politics builds mistrust, making future relations more problematic.

These essays individually and collectively emphasize that all the problems in the Balkans are in one way or another interrelated. Because American policy makers have failed to understand that also, they can not adequately predict events and find themselves on the defensive, reacting to events only after moderate scale disturbances become full blown crises. The media has had a pernicious role in this, too, selectively distorting reality to make things more or less important

-vii-

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Crises in the Balkans: Views from the Participants
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments ix
  • 1: Ethnonationalism, Security, and Conflict in the Balkans 1
  • Notes 17
  • 2: Of Shatter Belts and Powder Kegs: A Brief Survey of Yugoslav History 19
  • Notes 41
  • 3: Defeating "Greater Serbia," Building Greater Milosevic 47
  • Notes 70
  • 4: Franjo Tudjman's Croatia and the Balkans 75
  • Notes 89
  • 5: Bosnian Muslim Views of National Security 93
  • Notes 110
  • 6: Montenegro: Beyond the Myth 113
  • Notes 131
  • 7: The Balkan Crisis and the Republic of Macedonia 135
  • Notes 150
  • 8: Greece's Policies in the Post-Cold War Balkans 153
  • Conclusions 165
  • 9: Albanian Nationalism and Prospects for Greater Albania 169
  • Notes 190
  • 10: Bulgaria and the Balkans 195
  • Notes 208
  • 11: Turkey and the Balkans: Searching for Stability1 211
  • Conclusion 220
  • Notes 221
  • 12: Romania and the Balkan Imbroglio 225
  • Notes 237
  • 13: Troubles in the Balkans: The View from Hungary 241
  • Notes 255
  • 14: Moscow and the Yugoslav Secession Crisis 257
  • Notes 271
  • 15: US Policy in the Balkans: From Containment to Strategic Reengagement 275
  • Notes 292
  • 16: France, Germany, and the Yugoslavian Wars 297
  • Notes 309
  • 17: Failure in Former Yugoslavia: Hard Lessons for the European Union 311
  • Notes 324
  • 18: NATO and the Bosnian Quagmire: Reluctant Peacemaker 331
  • Notes 347
  • 19: The United Nations and the Conflict in Former Yugoslavia 351
  • Conclusion 367
  • Notes 368
  • About the Editors and Contributors 371
  • Index 381
  • About the Book 390
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