The European Experiments “crisis areas” in the Balkans
By Dr. Zeqirja REXHEPI
The latest, very actual news is that Croatia will soon become part of the united Europe. This means that the European external border approaches to traditional crisis areas in Balkans: Bosnia and Herzegovina- Kosovo-Macedonia.
In an article, published a few days ago, I tried to disassemble one of the internal factors, that affects the delay of the euro integration process- thus wickedness of the Balkans themselves, who cannot easily reach Western European developments, because the Balkans are in an older historical stage, compared with the rest of Europe. However, the Balkans nations are not the only guilty for this, because those who determine historical development trips are the external factors, which slowed the social development and on the other hand played the role of promoters of ethnic contradictions in this European region.
Although the Western Balkans is the biggest challenge, which must exceed the United Europe, the current approach towards the Western Balkans (the crisis areas), through the universal satisfaction of the EU, obviously does not give the expected results, that leaves understand that this approach was an experiment of the order of “civilized Europe.” I think people who live in the Balkans crisis areas must react and propose solutions that could be sustained.
Also, I will try to disassemble the interconnection of external factors, which directly affected the stagnation of European civilization in the Balkans, although this region, less civilized is a direct result of external influences, whether in the form of classical invasions of non-European invaders, or other forms, such as field of interest of any European power.
The twentieth century or as Brzezinski calls the “century of mega death” is the historical period when Europe will pay the greater of debt during the entire history of civilization: two world wars, two dictatorial systems, colossal human and material losses, and the final result: Europe lost the lead in international relations not been a model of world civilization. During browsing the history, we note that often trigger the controversy were “crisis areas” in the Balkans.
Balkans inter-ethnic and religion contradictions ongoing produce crisis, which recycled time after time. Generations in the Balkans were inspired in favor of one or another great power, of one or another ideology, to one or another faith. All this makes Balkans very unstable. The freshest case is the one with Croatia, which after the Pope’s visit opened the doors of united Europe.
European Great Powers, for their interests exploited peoples of the Balkans. This happened during the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary (1908), during the Balkan wars, when ethnic Albanian and Macedonian territory were annexed by Serbia (1912/1913), during the First World War (The London’s Collusion -1915), and at the end of that war, when formed Yugoslavia (1919) …
All the Balkan nations, who more and who less, are charged with the historical past. Serbs, Greeks and Bulgarians, claiming hegemony over others, developed projects for major national-states, while others claimed survival in this troubled region.
It is worth mentioning that after the Balkan Wars (1912/13) time when the Albanian state was established, the Great Powers played the role of “cheat” arbitrator by putting in a part of the Balkans unfair reports. For historical moment, this may be understandable, because the Great Powers themselves had conflicting interests in the Balkans. However, this cannot be said for the end of World War I, because the winning European powers – France and Great Britain were the only ones who decided the fate of the future of the Balkan nations. This was a rare historical opportunity that could be given the Balkan peoples to areas of crisis for a durable solution, through the process of declaring the plebiscite, because the two contender powers for expansion of sphere of influence (Russia and Austria-Hungary) were exempt from placement of order in the Balkans. But instead of the right solution of the ethnic issue in the Balkans, particularly in areas of crisis, French and British diplomacy chose the option of supporting their interests, creating a new state – Kingdom of SCS.
Kingdom of Yugoslavia – a phantom state, without the historical past, created with the support of the winning powers, was an “experiment” Franco-British, which after seven decades proved unsuccessful. Be recalled that, when Yugoslavia was created, it was surrounded by the Balkan national states, such as Albania, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. In the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, dominated by Serbs, lived many peoples and ethnic groups Slavic and non-Slavic. Such a conglomerate, Franco-British “experiment” could not be successful. Also it should be noted that, within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia entered “crisis areas” – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia.
However, the dilemma arises, why France and Great Britain, during the creation of new state in the Balkans, were released on an adventure as the “experiment” Yugoslavia was?
From what I could surf, little is spoken and written about this. In my opinion, there were two crucial issues, which can be assumed that was the idea of solving simultaneous, and thus to find a durable solution in the Balkans:
First, Enforce Serbia in the Balkans, as an ally of the Entente, and
Second, eliminate the “crisis zones” in the Balkans:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina,
- Kosovo and
In the context of the confrontation of two political-military blocks during World War I, Serbia was proven as the safest ally of France and Great Britain, so at war’s end it should not only be rewarded, but there is a conviction that Serbia could guarantee peace in the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Creation of Yugoslavia was to prevent the expansion of mainland Italy in the Balkans, which was showed a not sure ally, because, happens Italy for its interest to pass in the other camp. As for the “crisis zones” that were already within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, for the Franco-British diplomacy was important that they will be ended, but how it will be resolved, it was left to itself the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Serbia). Historical data suggests that the three areas mentioned was scheduled as follows:
- For Bosnia and Herzegovina, inhabited by populations that speak a similar language to Serbian or Croatian, but the Islamic religion, it is thought that over time, using repressive mechanisms of power, this population will be able to partially merge – assimilate and partly will migrate, if not entirely then to the extent pose, as not to present any potential danger as a crisis area;
- For Kosovo (Albanian-populated areas), the solution is thought through the projects moving, physical liquidation and assimilation. For this project testifies the displacement of Albanians in 1939, which could not be realized because of prevented the outbreak of World War II;
- For Macedonia, the solution should be easier, because most of the population belonged to the Christian-Orthodox religion and spoke the similar language to the Serbs, so in this area of crisis the assimilation will be complete by the administrative and educational apparatus.
However, all these predictions of the Franco-British diplomacy to achieve a “peaceful Balkans” fell into the water just broke the World War II, while its end has created new reports in international relations, to restore Russia to the Balkan political scene.
In the second postwar period, Yugoslavia survived, but in a new form. Anti-fascist Yugoslavian leader, Tito tried all the above areas of crisis to put in “sleep” through the creation of special federal units and theory of “brotherhood and unity”. But after Tito’s death, were again revived old antagonisms, and again crisis areas served as casus belli.
So, the end of World War I was an ideal historical case given to the great powers – the winners, to resolve ethnic conflicts in the Balkans, according to the principle proposed by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson – self-determination of nations. I call this an ideal case, because the two great powers, which had competed for the expansion of their influence in the Balkans, Russia and Austria-Hungary, were excluded from the possibility of any impact, while Russia was wallowing in the Soviet Revolution, and did not participate in setting the European agenda, Austria-Hungary was defeated as a force. However, the victorious powers expressed no willingness to achieve sustainable solutions in the Balkans. With the creation of Yugoslavia, France and Great Britain didn’t chose the option of resolving issues in the crisis areas in the Balkans, but the option of placing these hotbeds of crisis within a new state, thus covering the areas on the map of Europe which will explode with all their energy during World War II.
In the last decade of the twentieth century, again resurfaces the ethnic exclusivity of the Balkan nations in Balkan – repeated story, which is expressed by very primitive ideas, the project type “Naçertania” to “big states” that in fact is just pouring wasteful energy to the own people. While “Europe’s former communist system” made rapid steps towards the great family of European peoples of the Balkans (former Yugoslavia) was once more plunged into ethnic bloody conflicts. When in 1989 Europe celebrated the fall of communist dictatorship, the “experiment” called Yugoslavia, resumes the conflict that had been put into “sleep” from World War II.
Western historians knew better than anyone else that some issues had still not been resolved, since the nineteenth century, by the time of the Eastern Crisis, but the question is, why the Western diplomats, during the breakup of Yugoslavia, turned a blind eye, that “are found unprepared. “If someone had been known to “crisis areas” in the Balkans, it is the Western diplomacy, above all, the French and British.