Power struggle in the Balkans

Ever since the Serbian-Kosovo war of the nineties, the fall of communism and the break-up of Yugoslavia. There has been a continued tension within the region. Serbia being a staunch ally to Russia has been viewed as the only guilty party within this conflict. That every other player responsible for the atrocious events that unfolded. Now a days. If you are a Serb living outside of Serbia. You are not treated with the basic rights that all citizens enjoy. Nothing is being said about the atrocities that the Albanians carried out against the Serbs. But because they were perceived as fighting for western interests. Their acts of war were never widely reported.

As many parts of the Balkans and ex-Yugoslavia were under Soviet rule, that means that Russia, with strong cultural, economic and vested interests in the region has been making moved in the recent years to bring countries within that sphere back on board, sometimes forcibly. For instance. In 2016 Montenegrin police arrested some 20 Serbs and Montenegrins whom they were described as attempting to assassinate the prime minister, Milo Djukanovic. A plot that had been backed by the Russian go to man for the Balkans, Nikolai Petroshev. Why was this plot carried out? It was to stop the accession of Montenegro into NATO. For to gain NATO membership is to align yourself with American and western ideology.

The ‘America first’ policy taken by the American’s leaves much to be desired in the Balkans region. President Donald Trump is a straight hard-hitting President, who does not back down from anything, so far. This seems to have struck a cord with some Balkan countries. America is at the core of it all, NATO. It is Americans who contribute the most to NATO and the letters stand for North Atlantic Trade Organisation. If countries like Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia et al wish to become members. The it is imperative, from the Americans point of view that these countries align themselves with the west and adopt the values of western culture. Rather than aligning with Russia and the west. Due to massive corruption in the Balkans the Americans have been very apprehensive about helping out corrupt states. This President Trump sees as s waste of time and money. Money well better spent on other courses of action elsewhere. In contrast to Russia. The Americans do not have the same level of historical significance as Russia. They do not have the same level of economic and political power that the Russians do. What they do have is a major network of power playing allies that at a call can assemble forces that would stretch any countries military might. We all saw this during the 90’s when it was the NATO forces that attacked military bases in Bosnia: 1995 and then lead a bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo:1999.

If there is ever to be military conflict in the Europe in the future, then it will most definitely unfurl in the Balkans region. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, ever since there has been a covert power struggle to see who can lay claim to this region. Both America and Russia are destabilizing the region. They do this so that it creates dissention within the country and turns the citizens against one super power over the other. In my opinion there is going to be a divide between the Balkans, with parts of the region going under American authority and the remainder going under Russian influence. What ever the case, lets hope that military might is not needed to settle differences.

Sources:

Augustin Palokaj, (2010), https://euobserver.com/news/31327, foreignpolicynews.org

 

Mark Galeotti, (2018), https://www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/do_the_western_balkans_face_a_coming_russian_storm, European Council on Foreign relations

 

 

 

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