The Balkans Are Coming Apart at the Seams Again

Tensions in the Balkans are on the rise, annoying some who fear that increased nationalism, ethnic conflicts, and weak democratic institutions -- mixed with sluggish economies -- could be a recipe for deeper crisis and possibly even violence.

According to Bloomberg today: "When a country elects a president, the choice is not usually someone whose stated aim is to break it apart. But that’s just happened—ominously—in a country synonymous with 20th century European conflict. Milorad Dodik, who is emerging as the most powerful politician in Bosnia-Herzegovina after a vote this month, has made a career of advocating partition. He’s the leader of the Serb minority in that hyphenated country stitched together after the Balkan wars of the 1990s; and he’s always been clear about what he wants—to carve it up again and create an independent entity allied to Serbia next door. “This is not a common state, we are all its prisoners,” he said in 2016. “Bosnia isn’t worth a dime.”
Dodik is only one of the problems in the region. Croats from Bosnia want an ethnically pure entity. Russia's influence in Serbia and the Republic of Srpska is stronger than ever before. Some of Kosovo's parties want to re-unite with Albania.  Macedonian radicals don't want a peaceful solution about name and partnership with Greece. Pockets of Islamist extremism are existing in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Macedonia. So, Balkan pot is boiling, and it's hard to say how it will end.

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Vicious circle. Never seems to end.

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Brussels and Washington have plenty of reasons for concern...

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12 minutes ago, Petar said:

Tensions in the Balkans are on the rise, annoying some who fear that increased nationalism, ethnic conflicts, and weak democratic institutions -- mixed with sluggish economies -- could be a recipe for deeper crisis and possibly even violence.

According to Bloomberg today: "When a country elects a president, the choice is not usually someone whose stated aim is to break it apart. But that’s just happened—ominously—in a country synonymous with 20th century European conflict. Milorad Dodik, who is emerging as the most powerful politician in Bosnia-Herzegovina after a vote this month, has made a career of advocating partition. He’s the leader of the Serb minority in that hyphenated country stitched together after the Balkan wars of the 1990s; and he’s always been clear about what he wants—to carve it up again and create an independent entity allied to Serbia next door. “This is not a common state, we are all its prisoners,” he said in 2016. “Bosnia isn’t worth a dime.”
Dodik is only one of the problems in the region. Croats from Bosnia want an ethnically pure entity. Russia's influence in Serbia and the Republic of Srpska is stronger than ever before. Some of Kosovo's parties want to re-unite with Albania.  Macedonian radicals don't want a peaceful solution about name and partnership with Greece. Pockets of Islamist extremism are existing in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Macedonia. So, Balkan pot is boiling, and it's hard to say how it will end.

... and, organized crime and corruption are part of everyday life in the whole region.

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Western Balkans is a battleground between West and Russia....

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Recently, Macedonian PM said he hoped that EU and NATO membership would "whip" his country into "shape." But after referendum about "new" name, country is in deep crisis...

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2 hours ago, Petar said:

want an ethnically pure entity.

You have to be an absolute idiot to believe anything any person says, after they make a statement such as the one above.  Really?  What exactly makes you so great?  Really?  This is nothing more than a man that wants power and he is blaming the "others" for "his" people's woes.  Absolute BS!  Makes you just want to walk up to him and slap him, and then slap him again, and then slap the people nodding their heads like a bunch of ignorant a-holes with no education.

Other than that, he'll probably make a good leader.

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13 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

This is nothing more than a man that wants power and he is blaming the "others" for "his" people's woes. 

Oh, that's just the Balkan political tradition, pay no attention. It's always Someone Else who's responsible for the people's problems in this region, usually Russia or the West, or sometimes both. It's fun and by fun I mean we have to laugh at it all or we'll just all kill ourselves.

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On 10/19/2018 at 11:58 AM, Dan Warnick said:

You have to be an absolute idiot to believe anything any person says, after they make a statement such as the one above.  Really?  What exactly makes you so great?  Really?  This is nothing more than a man that wants power and he is blaming the "others" for "his" people's woes.  Absolute BS!  Makes you just want to walk up to him and slap him, and then slap him again, and then slap the people nodding their heads like a bunch of ignorant a-holes with no education.

Other than that, he'll probably make a good leader.

I'm confused.  Are you saying Milorod Dodik wants power?  All I read from this is that one group sees things differently than another group and, therefore, would prefer their independence.  Or perhaps they prefer to align with the neighboring country, which is more to their liking.  That's reasonable.  So where do the claims of "ethnically pure" minorities and other extreme statements come from? 

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9 minutes ago, mthebold said:

I'm confused.  Are you saying Milorod Dodik wants power?  All I read from this is that one group sees things differently than another group and, therefore, would prefer their independence.  Or perhaps they prefer to align with the neighboring country, which is more to their liking.  That's reasonable.  So where do the claims of "ethnically pure" minorities and other extreme statements come from? 

Alright, your comment made me go back and read the OP again.  I'd say it is quite possible that bias underlied my reaction, causing me to make assumptions about the words I was reading.  That, I think, means I went through an internal process of self-reflection, and that ain't bad.  Thanks for that.

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2 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

Alright, your comment made me go back and read the OP again.  I'd say it is quite possible that bias underlied my reaction, causing me to make assumptions about the words I was reading.  That, I think, means I went through an internal process of self-reflection, and that ain't bad.  Thanks for that. 

That's what I'm here for.

Seriously though, I wasn't trying to call you out; just confused about the Balkan situation.  Does anyone have a dispassionate analysis of the players, what they want, and how this is likely to play out?

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On 10/20/2018 at 1:24 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

It's fun and by fun I mean we have to laugh at it all or we'll just all kill ourselves. 

Y'all'd get along well with Marine Corps combat veterans. 

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Oh, well, we could be in much worse company so I'm taking this as a good thing. And laughing. Out loud. Still works.

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