The Kosovo Crisis and the Prospects of the Balkans
AbstractThe Kosovo crisis has demonstrated that the West had put an end to its wait-and-see policy and resolved to be totally committed as regards the problems of the Balkans. The Stability pact creates an institutional framework in which an economic protectorate of the majority of post-communist South-East European countries will be set up step by step. But the problem is whether Balkan political leaders will respond favourably to the requirements of democratization and of a more transparent policy. The attacks against Yugoslavia have shown that the US and the North Atlantic Alliance are the only ones who possess functional mechanisms for the successful solution of regional conflicts. The United States and Western Europe (including Russia) will now be committed in the Balkans by their military presence for a long time.
But for the moment nothing much can be done to eliminate the paramount cause of instability – nationalist regimes (mainly in Serbia), and not even the West has effective instruments which would help to bring about a change in the regimes in Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, a change that would guarantee the democratization of the post-Yugoslav region.
The disputes also include states of the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance, namely Greece and Turkey, apart from the neighbouring post-communist states. The course of the Kosovo crisis furthermore opens the question of the position of the Kurd minority. If the stability of the Balkans is to be ensured in the long run, massive economic aid, as well as the democratization of all the countries will be essential. That is why the crucial short-term task of the West will be to secure the effectiveness of the assistance rendered to the region.
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