Is It Possible to Be Optimistic about Eastern Europe
First of all, it is not possible to be optimistic about the former Yugoslavia. Careful observers of the situation in the summer of 1993 believed that stability in Bosnia would not be achieved soon, even if a partition plan could be agreed upon, and that Kosovë and possibly Macedonia remained gravely at risk. The feckless behavior of Europe and the United States had amply demonstrated to Serbia and to its increasingly criminal leadership that no substantial obstacles existed to creating a modern version of the Balkan federation under Serbian control that Prince Michael Obrenović had dreamed of in the nineteenth century. Slobodan Milošević envisions an Orthodox consortium stretching from Cyprus to Belgrade, and since Greece, his main ally, is a member of NATO and the European Union, there appeared every possibility that he, or even more vicious successors, would achieve that goal. The cost will have been enormous. Serbia and the regions it has ruined will not be economically or socially viable for a long time, nor will Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina. But Milošević's hand has not trembled.
Neither can one generate much optimism about Albania. When American negotiators first came to Tirana to discuss restoration of diplomatic relations in 1990, the Albanians informed them that Albania's true gross domestic product was about $500 million annually, or approximately the amount IBM spends monthly on research. Since that time, production has dropped perhaps 60 percent. The best Albania was hoping
From Social Research, 60:4 (Winter, 1993), pp. 685-704. Reprinted by permission.