IBNA Op-Ed/We all know that fragile Balkan states try to make themselves look strong in the Balkan arena and to become more attractive in the eyes of World Powers. But this form of exhibition in the domain of foreign policy is very dangerous. This must be embraced neither by our country, nor by others.
By Selim Ibrahimi*
During a speech at the end of November, with the proficiency of a career diplomat, US ambassador to Skopje, Paul Volers was very clear about the role of the identity and history in the creation and building of the values of a nation.
Meanwhile, renowned Irish novelist and poet James Joyce (1882-1941) says that “history is a nightmare from which I try to wake up”.
When Croatia entered the EU in the month of June, US vice president, Joe Biden also quoted the novelist James Joyce. All of this had a meaning!
Three brilliant examples which resemble to the situation in the Balkan and former YugoslavRepublic of Macedonia. It would be good if the uncompleted Balkan history would not continue with identity, ancient and medieval history. Nevertheless, non democratic forces which are still in power in the region, continue to reiterate this dream and nightmare in their government policies.
It’s not a good for any country in the region which doesn’t have the support of USA, to dig up history. For years, USA have invested for a new Balkan with sustainable states and economies, integrated in the EU. But several governments and individuals with certain agendas have assumed a very damaging role in the region. After many years facing a crisis, Albania and Kosovo took several steps forward in the parliamentary and local elections. Bosnia and Skopje alone have not made progress as far as democratic developments are concerned.
Serbia is divided over strategic partners or alternatives, while Kosovo is focused on the issue of the north, domestic democracy and international recognitions.
Meanwhile, our country, lost in the geopolitics of identity, is a small country without the necessary capacities to have a regional impact.
Thus, the only thing remaining for Skopje is to build itself from the interior.
Its energy and commitment should be focused on strengthening ethnic equality and to set up a better basis for the functioning of the state. This has not happened so far. The country doesn’t need an intercontinental alliance to defend domestic and foreign security. It would suffice to strengthen domestic democracy and respect individual, ethnic rights and democratic principles.
So far, the country has had a significant support from the USA and EU. This must act as a motive to move toward the integrated world for the government and all political parties.
Skopje has often followed the wrong course and once again it needed the intervention of USA in order to put political processes in the right tracks.
It’s a known fact that US support is very important for the country and all geographically isolated states.
We all know that fragile Balkan states try to make themselves look strong in the Balkan arena and to become more attractive in the eyes of World Powers. But this form of exhibition in the domain of foreign policy is very dangerous. This must be embraced neither by our country, nor by others. Small states don’t have the capacities and resources to perceive the interests and politics of World Powers.
Here, history can cause a lot of commotion in a Balkan filled with nationalism. In our country, the placement of a medieval king in the center of Skopje, Russian Gazprom, the delays in the integrating process, have strengthened the idea of the formation of a southern axis in the Balkan.
Here we go deep into history, where the geography of an old territorial administration becomes part of current policies.
But this way it’s impossible for our country to continue to function, if there’s no external intervention to stop this negative movement.
We must understand that the display of a new geopolitics aims to hinder normal democratic developments. I don’t think that this is the reason why influential powers are in our country or the region. I don’t think it’s too late for foreign powers to perceive a more active policy in Skopje. If this time they are resolute in their positioning, then there will be a failure of the international community in Skopje.
This is not the way to continue, because the social and security situation of the country do not allow games that damage the citizens. This situation brings only damages and doesn’t offer a lot of perspective for an imminent integration in the EU and NATO.
The current situation is out of control in terms of democracy.
It’s not fair to consider this a lost decade or year for our country or the Balkan, because we all believe that there’s potential for something more in here. Progress and democracy cannot be achieved in several days or years.
There must be maximum efforts from governments in order for wellbeing and democracy to be developed. There have been cases when nations have lost their path or direction, but it’s not too late to wake up.
Currently, the European Union (EU) has been determined not to change the positioning of European Commission (EC) about the possibility of the launch of talks between Skopje and EC.
It’s never too late for the reforms that have started to be implemented and perhaps it’s sad, but the country needs to know what its priority is.
But, a question arises as to whether we really want EU and NATO or we have different geopolitical plans?! EU officials say that negotiations will be part of the agenda after the month of May 2014. This is truly going to be a difficult year for our country and future political democracies.
From one phase to another, lack of stability would be something very negative and grave for the citizens. If we continue like this, then we will face more obstacles in being granted loans and international authority of Skopje may be put in doubt.
Therefore, our national strategy should be in line with the efforts of international democracy.
*The author is an analyst in Skopje