Gordon N. Bardos: Nation Building Fails in the Balkans





Gordon N. Bardos is a Balkan politics and security specialist based in New York.

The latest news from the Balkans sounds strangely familiar.
 
In Bosnia, the three leading nationalist parties have won the elections, and the country is mired in political and constitutional disputes over how power should be divided between the main ethnic groups. Newspapers and airwaves are filled with stories of crimes and atrocities committed during the latest hostilities, and public ceremonies exhuming the victims of the previous war are frequent occurrences.
 
In Serbia, the government is led by a prime minister from the Socialist Party, and one of the main items on the political agenda is how to handle the Kosovo problem. In Kosovo itself, an aggrieved ethnic group has created parallel institutions to protect its interests. In Montenegro, the prime minister is Milo Djukanovic. Further south, Greece refuses to accept its northern neighbor’s right to use the name “Macedonia.” An ethnic group that finds itself divided amongst a number of states is increasingly pushing for a “greater” solution to its national question. And for most people, the hope for EU accession seems like a far off dream.
 
The year is 1991 or 2012: take your pick.
 
How much substantive progress has actually been made in the Balkans over the past twenty years? How much things have really changed?..


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