Endgame in the Balkans

Endgame in the Balkans: Regime Change, European Style

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 412
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    Endgame in the Balkans
    Book Description:

    Can Europe tame the Balkans? That's the question veteran journalist Elizabeth Pond addresses in this timely and absorbing book. Starting with the wars of the Yugoslav succession,Endgame in the Balkansguides readers through the region's tumultuous recent history and explores both how the lure of European Union (EU) membership has affected the Balkans and how Balkan developments have shaped the EU. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, as well as decades of experience as a foreign correspondent, Pond moves deftly across the region, from Bulgaria to Romania, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia and Montenegro. She examines the many hurdles standing between these countries and EU membership -including poverty, corruption, and rabid chauvinism -as well as the hopes and problems that have led Balkan leaders to look to the West. In the process, she paints a vivid picture of the challenges facing the region as it seeks to vault from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Already in its brief history, the European Union has forged a historic reconciliation between France and Germany and helped consolidate democracy in Portugal, Spain, and Greece. But in southeastern Europe, it faces one of its most difficult tasks yet. Endgame in the Balkans reveals the full extent of this challenge, as well as the grounds for hope. Rich in detail and penetrating analysis, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the future both of the region and of Europe as a whole.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-7161-6
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Glossary of Abbreviations and Terms
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    It wasn’t that the European Union deliberately conceived of the Balkans as the test of its nascent Common Foreign and Security Policy and Europol. Or that the United States conceived of “Southeastern Europe” as the proving ground of its twenty-first-century crusade for global democratic transformation. Or that the post-9/11 Bush administration thought of this as the pioneer region in the nation building that it first scorned, then reinvented in order to avert Afghanistan’s reversion to a failing state that would invite recapture by al Qaeda. Or that social engineers resolved to compare and contrast postwar soft power in the Balkans—...

  7. CHAPTER ONE The Wars of the Yugoslav Succession
    (pp. 9-38)

    Under other circumstances, it might have been the liberal Serbs and Croats (and Bosnians and Slovenians) and the growing middle classes who inherited Josip Broz Tito’s relatively benign Communist Yugoslavia after the marshal’s death in 1980. But by the time the cold war ended in 1989–91, stale socialist ideology provided no uniting myth for the two-alphabet, three-religion, four-language, five-nationality, six-republic country that had lasted for seven decades.¹ Tito contributed to the collapse of Yugoslavia by establishing a diffuse collective system with secret-police controls that prevented any lieutenant of his from usurping power prematurely—but at the same time built...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Reinventing Bulgaria
    (pp. 39-67)

    Mention Bulgaria, and the rest of the world tends to picture wrestlers-turned-druglords who send contract killers to liquidate rivals in front of the Sofia McDonald’s on Vitosha Boulevard or a diamond store on Amsterdam’s Dam Square. Or Ian Fleming–type villains who stab critics of the regime with ricin-tipped umbrellas on Waterloo Bridge or narrowly fail to assassinate the pope (though even the new democrats who snooped around in the Bulgarian secret service archives never found proof of the latter hypothesis). Or they think of the cold war days, when Bulgaria was such a slavish follower of Moscow that its...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Reinventing Romania
    (pp. 68-97)

    Maria Todorova is surely right when she complains about the Western stereotype of the Balkans as the negative “other” of Europe, neatly encapsulated in the “imaginary Balkanoid principalities of homicidal atmosphere” that form the setting of one Agatha Christie murder-mystery: “one of the Balkan states…. Principal rivers, unknown. Principal mountains, also unknown, but fairly numerous. Capital, Ekarest. Population, chiefly brigands. Hobby, assassinating kings and having revolutions.”¹ Or, Todorova might have added, as reflected in the setting of Tintin’sKing Ottakar’s Sceptrein “Syldavia.”

    But the real problem is worse, as Todorova allows. It is not that outsiders have this malevolent...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Taming Kosovo
    (pp. 98-120)

    Kosovo, more than any other single spot in the Balkans, will challenge the ability of the postnational European Union to make others want the kind of democracy and peace it wants. Kosovo remains a bastion of nineteenth-century blood-and-soil loyalties, for both Albanians and Serbs. Historically, Kosovar Albanians have been unacquainted with any form of popular political participation; except for a few years under Tito, they never had the experience even of autocratic or semiautocratic self-government that Serbs and Croats and Bosniaks did—and among themselves, traditional authority has rested with clan patriarchs. Nor did they routinely intermarry with Serbs on...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Reclaiming Hapsburg Croatia
    (pp. 121-139)

    Like Serbs, Croats feel aggrieved by their image in Western Europe, for some of the same reasons and for some different reasons. But today’s 4.5 million Croats, far more swiftly than Serbs, are exorcising the ultranationalist demons that drove the two peoples to torture and kill each other in World War II and again in the early 1990s. The proof of conversion came with the arrest in December 2005 of Ante Gotovina, the most wanted Croat indicted for war crimes, after the Zagreb government finally cracked down on his support network in the Croatian security services. With General Gotovina in...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Revising Dayton’s Bosnia
    (pp. 140-167)

    No spot in the Balkans illustrates the fundamental conundrum of institution, state, and especially democracy building by outsiders in a failed state more vividly than Bosnia-Herzegovina. Like Kosovo, it was clearly set up after the fighting ended as an international protectorate (though neither is formally so labeled); foreign administrators were made responsible, directly or ultimately, not only for foreign policy and security but also for domestic governance. Unlike Kosovo, however, Bosnia-Herzegovina was internationally recognized as a state from the beginning, and had no need to clarify its legal status. This has made it a somewhat more transparent test of state...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Rescuing Macedonia
    (pp. 168-187)

    If Macedonia, that borderland of borderlands, has now lost its reputation as a tinderbox, it owes its escape both to the inattention of history and to the intensive attention of the European Union. By its fifteenth birthday, the new state of 2 million had survived an almost successful assassination attempt on its first president; the overnight influx of more than 300,000 refugees from Kosovo, equal to 15 percent of the country’s population; armed ethnic clashes that looked like the start of a fifth war of the Yugoslav succession; and the death of its second president in an airplane crash.¹ In...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT Inventing Albania
    (pp. 188-209)

    The burly young man on the Austrian Air flight with the ripped-off sleeves that displayed the tatoos on his upper arms—one of the Albanian flag, the other of Scanderbeg—was indisputably Albanian. When he noticed that the mother sitting in front of him was uncertain about airplane protocol, he kindly leaned forward to explain in Albanian that she must be sure to buckle up herself and her toddler. Yet when the stewardess came down the aisle, he spoke to her in Cockney. He was, it turned out, exercising his new freedom by studying sports therapy in England. He was...

  15. CHAPTER NINE Demythologizing Serbia and Montenegro
    (pp. 210-239)

    Two souls, it would seem (to paraphrase Goethe), also lodge in Serbia’s breast. The mythic, macho one revels in the kind of untamed violence that won Serbia its independence from the Ottoman Empire; in the politics by assassination of the century-and-a-half contest between the Karadjordjevic and Obrenovic dynasties; in the stubborn resistance to Nazi German conquest; and in the special Serbinat, or “malevolent, vengeful and obstinate defiance,” as writer Aleksa Djilas defines it.¹ This spirit both is and is not anti-Western. It is not anti-Western in the sense of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Germans and Russians, who...

  16. CHAPTER TEN Europeanizing the Balkans
    (pp. 240-269)

    In one offbeat dip into comparative political development, ebullient Bulgarian historian Ekaterina Nikova was invited to spend a year at the Slavic Research Center in Hokkaido just after the end of the eleven-week war in Kosovo. Inevitably, her fresh point of departure was Japan’s nineteenth-century controlled modernization and westernization in the Meiji Restoration. In her valedictory in Hokkaido, not entirely tongue in cheek, she had a go at comparing apples and daikons, contrasting the present transition in the “turbulent, neurotic, bankrupt, desperate Balkans” with Japan’s “serenity, calmness, silence, and feeling of safety” and the successful pretense in the Meiji transformation...

  17. CHAPTER ELEVEN Reaching Critical Mass
    (pp. 270-284)

    It’s easy enough to check off the boxes. Vigorous civil society: A+ for Serbia and, more surprisingly in any historical context, Bulgaria. Judiciary with aspirations to ethics and sophistication: yes for Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia; “tries hard” at last for Romania; “could try harder” for Bulgaria. Refusal to abet war crimes suspects in evading arrest: F for Serbia, as of this writing. Parties that are more than just patronage networks, or at least some recognizable polyarchy: D for Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia; rising C– for the Republika Srpska.¹ Liberation from rule by the old nomenklatura/kleptocracy: Republika Srpska, knock on wood,...

  18. Notes
    (pp. 285-352)
  19. References
    (pp. 353-372)
  20. Interviews
    (pp. 373-388)
  21. Index
    (pp. 389-412)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 413-414)