The challenge of the Western Order in the Balkans



On the eve of the referendum of the Bosnian Serbs, the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Milosevic’s disciple, Ivica Dacic, warned Bosnia and Herzegovina that Serbia was going to defend the Bosnian Serbs if they were to be attacked. A statement which recalls the traditional doctrine of Russian protectionism of the Orthodox Slavs in the Ottoman Empire yesterday, and in the Western Balkans today.

Although Serbia and entities previous to her, during the past two centuries, especially from 1876 until 1999, have committed genocide and ethnic cleansing exclusively against the Albanian population for six times, it has never accepted the weight of the collective guilt and neither has been called by international judicial bodies to be judged as an official doctrine of the state and as a national collective guilt.

After World War II, the well known psychoanalyst Carl Jung wrote an essay on the concept of the German collective guilt as a psychological phenomenon, stressing that Germans feel collective guilt for the crimes committed by their compatriots. Thus the term “German collective guilt” entered in the German intellectual discourse. German theologians and clergy also had accepted shared guilt in the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt. A year after the war, the philosopher and psychologist Karl Jaspers published the lectures with his students under the title “The question of German guilt.” This acceptance of collective guilt helped Germany to rise from ruins and become one of the world powers and key actor of the European continent today.

Unlike postwar Germany, today Serbia has the status of a candidate for EU integration and has opened accession negotiations.

Throughout the post-referendum medial discourse, local and international, it was said that the referendum held on September 25 in Republika Srpska despite its rejection by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is contrary to and that it even extremely jeopardizes the Dayton Agreement. It was emphasized that Russia’s support as “ally of the state of Republika Srpska,” as Dodik said, as well as was discussed about the fading of the US and the EU impact in the Western Balkans.

The aforementioned statement of the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, which evoke war, was deliberately left in limbo. Moreover two remarkable tendencies emerged.

First, the Serbian state was granted the amnesty from being implicated in motivation, orientation and direction of the Serbs’ secessionist actions.

Second, it was coined a kind of a view which allegedly reflects Serbian official policy dissent from Russian official policy, moreover a lack of coordination between the two. All this beautifully illustrated with the Prime minister Vucic policy resemblance with that of Tito – balancing between Russia and the West (sic!).

Both these trends are intended to present as false traditional Serb doctrine of territorial expansion, which on its axis has the intention of creating a Greater Serbia and its longstanding desire for a port in the Adriatic Sea.

The main instruments for achieving this goal are the Serbs living outside Serbia. It is through them that it prevents the normal functioning of the states where they live, the creation of artificial entities through enclaves settled earlier throughout the history based on the principle of cordons-villages, in order to prevent compact territorial continuity of other populations. This is especially true for Albanian lands.

These two trends have been compounded by a third being well wrapped in the cloak of a good neighborhood policy. The joint meeting of Serbian and Albanian governments is set to take place on October 14 in Nish, during the working week of the Serbian government, outside of its permanent residence – Belgrade. Serbian media said that during the week 13 to 18 October the Serbian government will convene its meetings in “Knjaz Mihailo” cantonment, while they will be accommodated together with the soldiers of the third land brigade of the Serbian army in cantonment “Mija Stanimirovic” in Nish. This brigade has been directly involved in genocidal operations against the Albanian population of Kosovo.

In Rama-Vucic meeting’s agenda will be the infrastructure projects of which the most important is the highway Nish-Durres. Albanians will certainly be disappointed when they will realize that the highway passes through links Merdare-Prishtina-Tirana, or what it is known as ‘The Nation’s Highway’.

14th of October designation as the date of the meeting of the two prime ministers, marks the second anniversary of the football match between Serbia and Albania, which proved the concept of Serbian collective guilt and the Serbian collective hatred against the Albanian ethno genesis was publicly uncovered. This has gone across the minds of only few individuals.

According to the Serbian media, the initiated meeting by Belgrade is meant to be, not only a dialogue between the two countries, Albania and Serbia, but rather a dialogue on relations between Albanians and Serbs in the region. ‘Too good to be true’ – would the British say. It sounds nice unless especially Albanians who live outside Albania’s borders didn’t new their neighbors so well or even better – their imposed fellow citizens. The proposal for dialogue between Albanians and Serbs can be attractive to representatives of the Albanian state or Albanians in general, but that is the image of the Yugoslav politics in 60s and 70s or the creation of good relations with Albania, in exchange of Serbian projects for economic superiority on the back of the Albanian road and maritime infrastructure. Once again Albanian back becomes Serbia’s bridge to the political Europe, and as it seems without any condition set by the Albanian government.

Tirana government should reflect that while the Serbian state has violated and is leading to failure the fulfillment of Balkans’ agreements: the Dayton Agreement, the Rambouillet Accord, the Konçul agreement, settled with the mediation of US and EU, this is an indication that Serbia, in full coordination with Russia, is investing in weakening and challenging the Balkan order set by the West.

Certainly, this failure should worry the actors who have given guarantees, in particular, and have actively participated in the efforts to resolve the Balkan question. Tirana should not become prey to Serbian manipulation, nor become part of its policy of geographical expansion in the Balkans. It should be realized that the traditional Russian strategy, as elsewhere, is being settling down in the form of the offensive realism, in the Balkans, too.

Republika Srpska is turning into Balkan Crimea. The inability of the Western international factor in preventing the referendum in Bosnia, anticipates the opening of the Pandora Box in the Balkans.

The persistence of creating a parallel structure of the Serbian state inside Kosova, through Serbian Association of Municipalities, represents a black omen for the rest of the region. No one knows exactly, what all could get out of this box, which probably should be re-baptized as the Balkan Box.

At a time when both parts of the Western Order, the United States and the European Union face domestic challenges that threaten profoundly their external impact, the dominance vacuum serves as favorable environment for conflicts in neuralgic geographical areas as it is in the Balkans.

In conditions of the global interregnum contesting the Western Order by major powers like Russia and China revels by the same token in the peninsula, where they are joined by Turkey, through its strategy of neo-ottomanism.

Great authoritarians rush the Balkans, challenging and fading excessively the order that was intended to be set so far into the Balkans.


This article was first published in in Albanian.




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