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Posted by
10673 posts

Interesting. Russia backed Serbia has been a destabilizing force for years. The Russian/Serbian backed failed coup attempt in Montenegro last year is among the things they have been up to. But the Balkins are not defined in whole by  Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. Still fascinating. Thanks.

Posted by
4684 posts

I've been to Bosnia a couple of time but never to Serbia proper. In my reading about the war, it is my understanding that Serbia was driving force in the Serbian opposition within Bosnia. The Serbian nationalists in Bosnia who wanted to be part of Serbia (or carve out an independent state closely tied to Serbia) were supported militarily by Slobodan Milošević. In other words, it wasn't simply Serbs in Bosnia independently fighting on their own; they were covertly supported by Milošević and his allies.

Could this happen again? Serbia seems to a different place now politically.

Posted by
6536 posts

I always thought the civil war in the old Yugoslavia was just terrible. The country was so close to Vienna and Budapest. You could fly over there in 10 minutes in a King Air flying out of Venice.
And Western Europe ignored the travesties going on right under their noses. The powers within Europe should have been ashamed of themselves to have never stopped it.

Posted by
10673 posts

It was horrible to holacaust levels in attitude and hatred and total disregard for human life. What little I know about Serbian politics these days doesnt help me sleep better. I just hope it's better than I fear.

Posted by
1285 posts

When I was in Bosnia in 2014, most of the people I spoke to were Bosniaks (Muslims). They were so warm and friendly and open about sharing their experiences both during and since the war. And it was a horrendous tragedy. (Read The Bosnia List, a memoir by Kenan Trebincevic, to get a powerful first-hand account.) But the fragile peace brokered by the US in Dayton, as the article describes, created a bureaucratic mess, and the economy has suffered. The people I talked to had real concerns about the future. So this story is terribly disappointing but not particularly surprising. I don't think the structure created by the Dayton accords in Bosnia and Herzegovina could survive indefinitely. I just hope they can figure out how to move forward without erupting in further bloodshed.

Posted by
248 posts

I'm interested in this but know little. I am curious: What, if any, effect is it thought the existence of the EU will have on the situation?

Posted by
4855 posts

Curious, countries interested in benefiting economically by joining the EU, would have incentive to behave. But you see, governments don't always have much control of the behavior and beliefs of their citizens.

Posted by
1285 posts

People I spoke with suggested that the there was resistance by many EU countries to having a predominantly Muslim country join. I don't have any idea if that's true or not, but it wouldn't surprise me. A lot of anti-Muslim sentiment exists in Europe (as it does in the USA).

In any case, the political and economic disarray in Bosnia would have to be resolved before they would qualify to join the EU.

Posted by
4684 posts

Turkey applied to join the EU years ago FYI. Negotiations have stalled, maybe permanently, but their application wasn't rejected outright. Bosnia and Herzegovina is only about 50% Muslim.

Posted by
1868 posts

Lane, thank you for recommending "The Bosnia List." After reading the editorial reviews, it reminded me how this story paralleled the stories we heard in Mostar and Stolac. We were there last month. Both of our local guides were about the same age as this author during the war. Although we will never understand, we were grateful to hear first-hand what they endured. Like the holocaust, it's important to know what happened so we will never forget. These survivors are truly making a difference.

Posted by
12084 posts

The Russians backed the Serbs a century ago prior to WW1 in their political aspirations, both ideologically and in territorial objectives. Keep in mind the Balkan League and the Russians as the first to take military measures in 1914. Today, the Serbs still can count on the Russians as the big muscle, all of which reveals continuity in Russian policy in the Balkans.

Posted by
10673 posts

The Russians backed the Serbs recently too, in the failed coup attempt in Montenegro last year. Guess old habits are hard to break. Still, I think officially the Russians only provided moral support and a few hundred mercenaries to the war in Bosnia.

Not comforting is that in a recent poll Stalin was considered by Russians as the greatest Russian leader, Putin came in second.

I dont know how much truth there is to this, but I was told by a guide in Bulgaria that Bulgaria had petitioned the Soviet Union to make it a state of the Soviet Union. The only Russian subjugated country to do so.

Posted by
12084 posts

"...old habits are hard to break." Yes. Point well taken as respects to Russian foreign policy, be it Tsarist (110 yrs ago) or authoritarian a la Putin on the topic of the Balkans, which they see as within their backyard or, using the phrase, totally non pc, a no-no, in the Wilsonian view of US foreign policy, "sphere of influence."

Posted by
12084 posts

"...greatest Russian leader." Then obviously greater than Catherine the Great according to that poll. Then the horrors of Stalinist totalitarianism, the whimsical terror, the millions of lives lost are overlooked.

But a pattern of continuity in pursuing cold blooded foreign policy exists between the two, Stalin and Catherine the Great, ie territorial aggrandizement. Both meddled in and cut up Poland.

Posted by
10673 posts

There is an old adage about remembering history, lest it repeat itself. Well I guess that's out the window with the Russians. I'm usually one to draw a hard line between governments and the people governed, but this challenges that concept.

Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine all have “uninvited” Russian forces. It will be interesting to see where they pop up next. I suspect they want a port, and that might be why they are backing the Republika Srpska; a very far Right ethnic Serbian separatist state in Bosnia - Herzegovina. Besides the tiny access to the sea very nearby, it gives the Russians an opportunity to squeeze Montenegro from the North (Serbia) and from the West (Srpska). I wonder when the little green men appear?

The assassination of the reporter in Istanbul a few weeks ago was terrible and it got the press it deserved. I hope we look at the world a bit differently as a result. However, for some reason, the dozen reporters assassinated in Russia in the last 6 years gets no press? And the dozen or so Russian dissidents assassinated while in exile also receives little or no press.

Tourism only amounts to something less than 4% of the Russian GDP so I suspect that a few trips to Leningrad or Moscow isn't fueling much of the military export.

Posted by
4684 posts

I suspect if Serbia were again involved in a conflict similar to the one in the 1990s, Russia (which was weak during that decade and not able to make much trouble) might be more forcefully involved than they were then. Putin is always looking for places to make mischief. But, Serbia's historic alignment with Russia was curtailed during the Cold War, when Yugoslavia was not aligned with the Soviet Union; Tito famously broke with Stalin after World War II. So things might not be quite the same now as a hundred years ago.

However, I don't think Neum is much of a port that Russia would be seeking along the Adriatic.

Though we should be wary about letting history repeat itself, things now are very different than in the 1990s. The civil wars in the former Yugoslavia had a lot to do with its breakup and Slobodan Milošević's desire to keep the former country together or at least maintain its power. Obviously, the dissolution of Yugoslavia is now decades in the past, and many of the current populations of these countries can't even remember it - not the young men who would fight in a military, anyway. That doesn't mean there still isn't tension in Bosnia that may lead to some sort of conflict if not resolved properly. The government imposed at the end of the war is really weird and unwieldy - I don't think anyone likes it. It did end the war and keep the peace for decades, however, but maybe the solution is to try to find something more practical to replace it, now that some of the former issues are in the past and some of the former hotheaded leaders are no longer in power.

Posted by
10673 posts

Andrew H., we can hope i guess. But I have a very well educated friend that reminds me that hope is not a technique.

Because places like Bosnia - Herzegovina don't get a lot of press coverage you sort of have to hunt around for this sort of stuff, but its all very real and for me at least, very concerning. https://www.rferl.org/a/republika-srpska-statehood-day-defying-court-ban/28964699.html

Where next? I get the impression (but i am no scholar on the subject), that it starts with misinformation to work up the ethnic Russians (or ethnic Serbs), then the little green men (okay, advisers and special forces with no insignia on their uniforms), then full scale "liberation". That was what happened in Georgia and attempted in Ukraine. Now the Baltic States seem to be in phase one of the process and they are worried: https://www.unian.info/world/10242066-russia-secretly-finances-news-outlets-in-lithuania-latvia-estonia-as-part-of-information-warfare.html

So, on topic, if you want to visit the Baltic States or the Balkan States; sooner might be better than later.

Posted by
4684 posts

Well, Georgia and Ukraine are former republics of the Soviet Union. (Stalin was from Georgia; Khrushchev was from Ukraine.) Serbia never was - just the opposite. So although we should support the independence of Georgia and Ukraine and oppose Russian meddling there, we can still understand it from a historical perspective. Putin seems to covet a return to the glory of the old Soviet Union.

Russia was never involved in Bosnia. Before the Austro-Hungarian empire briefly ruled Bosnia, the Ottoman Empire (Turks) did for centuries. It's a very different situation from Ukraine and Georgia, which have been Russian satellites on and off for centuries.

Posted by
10673 posts

Someone should point out to Putin that no Soviet leaders ever were born in the Balkans and that the Balkans were never part of the Soviet Union, and maybe he will change his plans for controlling the region.

Posted by
4684 posts

And how do you know he has any interest in controlling the region?

Posted by
12084 posts

Until 1947 the Soviet bloc countries in eastern Europe had only 2 countries where the communist party was in total control...Albania and Yugoslavia, the rest Poland , CSSR, Bulgaria, etc the communist parties were part of coalition governments.

In 1948 Tito had quarreled with Stalin not only over ideology but over a particular demand by Stalin, ie the port of Pula (known as Pola prior to 1914) to be a Soviet naval base with all its political and strategic implications. Tito refused and left the Soviet bloc, and for various reasons got away with this defiance. Of course, the Russians want access to the sea, ie the Adriatic as do Serbs. It all goes back to 1913.

Posted by
12084 posts

"... never involved in Bosnia." Not so. 1908 shows Russian diplomacy involved in the Bosnian Crisis. By 1909 the Tsarist government had no real option but to yield in the Bosnian Crisis since it was obvious the state of its military was in no position to back up Serbia by military means.

Posted by
1893 posts

Russia has never controlled Yugoslavia or any successor state, and will not in the future. It is a region in which Russia has influence. No one could possibly expect a Russian takeover. But Serbia is traditionally the Little Slavic Brother of Russia. As we in the USA consider our region to be in our sphere of influence, so Russia considers Serbia. And I don't really consider that to be unreasonable.

The situation in B-H has been for many years a total disaster. Every unit of government needs Croat, Serb, Bosniak members. This is a recipe for absolute paralysis, and that is what is the case there.

One other note: In the last 150 years, we in the USA have ALWAYS been a friend and ally of Serbia. In WWI, we opposed with Serbia the Central Powers. In WWII, Serbia fought strongly against the Nazis. This is why the Serbs were so bitter that NATO and the USA bombed them to force the partition of Kosovo and Serbia. I cannot remember another situation in which NATO has intervened militarily in the internal affairs of a country in Europe. I have never agreed with that action. Today, in Beograd, the Ministry of War is still kept in ruins as it was when we bombed it.

Posted by
12084 posts

One reason Tito was able to defy Stalin in his demand for Pola was that it was not the Red Army that liberated Yugoslavia but Tito's partisans, plus no common border existed between post-war Yugoslavia and the USSR, unlike the Soviets taking Sub-Carpatian Ruthenia, thus giving the Soviets access into Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

True, that Russia did not control Serbia directly but prior to 1914 it had set up the Balkan League under Russian auspices, of which Serbia was a member. Yes, in July 1914 it was Russia's intervention, a day after the ultimatum's expiration, as the Slavic Big Brother on behalf of Serbia that made a general European war inevitable. The real question is aside from prestige what was so vital in 1914 in Russian strategic interests for it to risk the lives of thousands of its young men in a general European war? What would have happened in 1914 had Russia chosen not to intervene on behalf of the Serbs and their ideology?

Posted by
1893 posts

The focus from 1908 was the Austria-Hungary acquisition and incorporation of Bosnia-Hungary. This was resented by the Serbs. Franz Ferdinand, who was pro-Slav (possibly his only redeeming feature), was the target of the Black Hand for this reason, partially. As to Russia's motivation and interest, I believe that it was partially to contain and restrain A-H. A-H was one of the great European powers before WWI, and restricting its territorial expansionism was important to other powers. Russia was an ally of France, and interested in ensuring that A-H was not improved and enhanced in power and territory.

Posted by
12084 posts

True the Serbs were outraged, piping mad when Austria annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908. The feelings and opinions of the Serbs don't matter, totally irrelevant and inconsequential, unless they have the backing of the Russians given a specific event. That Austria could take Bosnia-Herzegovina anytime had already been settled when the Great Powers acquiesced to that at the Congress of Berlin.

Given the deplorable state of the Russian military in 1908, it was only a foregone conclusion that Russia's support for Serbia could only be diplomatic.

Posted by
10673 posts
Posted by
4684 posts

Sorry, James, but I see a big difference between "controlling the region" and having some influence in Bosnia. Clearly the US has influence there too, based on our involvement in ending the Bosnian War. Does that mean we want to control Bosnia? I don't think so. Not to say Putin doesn't care about what happens in Bosnia - he probably cares about what happens in most countries around the world, if he sees he can gain some advantage against his adversaries there. But Ukraine and Georgia are very different cases. It makes no sense to compare Russian meddling there to any Russian interest in Bosnia.

Posted by
1893 posts

I am mystified at the notion that Russia should be barred from influence. We have influence in many countries. We have influence in Europe, in Africa. What is wrong with influence?

Russia has interests in countries in its general region, and this is both sensible and reasonable. I am not talking about invasions, although it is not 100% clear about Ukraine and Georgia what the "good" side is. 28 years ago, these countries were part of CCCP. If you talk to Russians, they are all for some Putin actions.

But what they are doing in Serbia is hardly invasion.

Posted by
10673 posts

You guys are right. Russia is just a big cuddly Teddy Bear. Let's finish this discussion in about 3 years.

Posted by
12084 posts

Russia has had interests in the Balkans since the time of Catherine the Great. Since the 18 and 19th century every generation has had its Russo-Turkish War (one can go back and count them all) until last one in 1877. Russia also had interests in what 19th century European diplomatic history called the "Straits Question."

That also continued after WW2 when in the spring of 1946 Stalin, still enjoying good US public opinion (the same time when Churchill gave his "Iron Curtain from Stettin to Trieste" speech) proposed "internationalising" the Dardanelles, ie Soviet intrusion in the Straits and the eastern Mediterranean. Harry Truman saw right through this scam, dispatched an aircraft carrier, which the Soviets had none at the time, to the Dardanelles, Stalin backed off.

I don't agreed with that view at all as regards to Russian interests, that they are legitimate and "natural" in the Balkans, basically dissent from this interpretation. We can agreed to disagreed.

Posted by
1893 posts

There are opinions about events, and there are events. What Russia is doing is an event, and no one here has any influence over the actions of Russia, Serbia, B-H, or Croatia. If Mike Pompeo is posting here, I'll modify that last statement. These actors do things. We observe.

We may have opinions about those actions, but those opinions are simply from interested outsiders. No one in Russia or Serbia or Croatia seems to give much of a hoot about my opinions. Unless I am wrong, they probably don't care much about the opinions of others here either.

So, there's no need to become more incensed by the opinions of others. Some see Russia in one light, others see them in another. At the end of the day, our opinions and $1.95 still will not get a cup of coffee at the local coffee place. In Croatia, however, that might be enough. That's why I enjoy going there.

Posted by
10673 posts

Sort interesting the new norms. Here is my opinion, but yours is worthless so dont bother countering me. Besides no one cares so discussion accomplishes nothing. Best to agree or be quiet. I sort of think if everyone got out of their holes and debated every subject it would be a more informed and as such a better world. In practical application, an informed, well reasoned through debate, opinion on this and a few dozen other issues should impact your opinion on who you support in local elections. How useful to society are poorly informed voters?

So yes, everyone's opinion does matter, even those you and I disagree with, unless you are an isolationist or anarchist.

Posted by
12084 posts

But "isolationism" is as American as apple pie. Historically, it is one of the themes in US history.

Posted by
10673 posts

Fred, thats sure is the truth and we are heading into a mindset that is a cruel twist on that.

Its
the world is beautiful
the US is monstrous
we need to just stay home and let the world be beautiful

That's so much easier than making the hard decisions. If I intervene how will the collateral damage compare to the damage if I don't intervene. What if it fails? What if I cause more damage? If I dont judge anyone, then I judge no one as bad, then I can paint the world a rosy pink and ignore it and be guilty of nothing.

Fred, few will argue if fighting in WWII was wrong, but few realize the number of civilians killed by allied forces.

Posted by
12084 posts

@ James...Obviously, Nazism had to be destroyed, pure and simple. and Japan was to be defeated as it had attacked the US but from a purely military perspective the attack on Pearl Harbor (regardless of the conspiracy theories...I don't buy any of them) is understandable, regardless of the morality. That is too narrowly focused. You read Clausewitz (I mean carefully) and H. Delbruck entering into a war has to be within the framework of politics

On the death of civilians be they German, French, Belgian, Italian, etc caused by Allied land forces, that's not readily admitted to.

There were British officers during the war who raised doubts on the morality of carrying out the strategic bombing of Germany with cities, urban centers, as targets, ie breaking civilian morale by rendering them homeless. After the war both the US and British governments did studies on the efficacy, let alone the dubious moral factor, on targeting civilians. The American study was USSBS (strategic bombing survey) and that of the British arrived at the same conclusion: German civilian morale didn't break, let alone collapse. The same conclusion appears in the German Luftwaffe War Diaries. British civilian morale didn't break in the "Blitz" either, neither did that of Japanese civilians prior to the A-Bomb.

Posted by
10673 posts

So are trade embargoes that target civilians better or worse than strategic air strikes?

Posted by
1097 posts

"On the death of civilians be they German, French, Belgian, Italian, etc caused by Allied land forces, that's not readily admitted to."

I think that depends on which Allied force is being considered. Not death exactly, but the Soviet force's "use" of rape as they pressed into Germany is well-known and documented, and has been described by some as a war crime. On the other hand, the thousands of rapes committed by US GIs as they moved eastwards, have always been rather swept under the carpet in the West since it doesn't suit the liberation narrative. Of course, one can argue that the difference is that the former was almost encouraged by the Soviet command, whilst the latter sometimes led to charges but often just had a blind eye turned to it by the US command.

There is an interesting book by Macintyre (more a journalist than an historian), about the SAS in WW2. It's very positive overall and admires them, but also notes a few things they did were considered unacceptable at the time by British general staff (but not Churchill), and these days might be condemned as a war crime.

Values change depending on context.

Posted by
12084 posts

@ Nick...True. In this case I meant the western armies, the US, Canadians, British. I was not referring to the Red Army. Your point is well taken on that. There is a reference in Montgomery's memoirs written soon after the war (Field Marshall BL Montgomery, regardless of what one thinks of him a Military Commander) where it shows the British were aware and knew of Soviet behaviour towards German women.

Later research shows it was not just German women were targeted but also Polish and Hungarian women too.

Posted by
10673 posts

Fred, why did Nazism have to be destroyed? Stalin by many standards did a lot worse than Hitler and we didn't think he had to be destroyed. Heck, the world is pretty okay with Stalin being popular today. Rocket Man has done the same and apparently that's okay with the world. The Chinese are doing a lot of the same with their ethnic minorities and it barely gets mentioned. ISIS is committing cultural genocide and when we do get involved the criticism is long and deep. Could making Nazism the exception to the rule have something to do with cultural affinity.

Posted by
316 posts

"On the death of civilians be they German, French, Belgian, Italian, etc caused by Allied land forces, that's not readily admitted to."

On the flip side, it also holds true for some Axis powers - for instance, the atrocities committed by Hungarian army and police forces in the Soviet Union (predominantly in Belorussia and Ukraine, but also in Russia) were very well documented, but for obvious political reasons not readily discussed in Soviet historiography.

Posted by
12084 posts

@ James....You read enough history on the Nazi period, its leaders, its totalitarian and racial elite ideology, (look at the numerous words Nazi ideology introduced in the German language), its expansionist program in Europe, its songs, ( I don't mean traditional army marching song but ideological songs), its program to solve the Jewish "problem" by physical extermination, and there is more, I mean a ton of reading, Hitler was at war with western civilisation. True, he respected Britain; had he had his way, he would not have gone to war with Britain. Keep in mind it was Britain's declaration of war on him

Of course, Hitler and Lenin/Stalin's totalitarian dictatorships overlap.

We can make list of what they shared or copied from each other, eg, both relied on whimsical terror, both carried out purges, in both the party subjugated the military, both had camps for enemies, perceived and real, both had a secret police, both were messianic, ie promising the brave new world, the workers' paradise, New Order, whatever you want to call it, both were anti-democratic, despised democracy and western civilisation, both were single-party states where the party was supreme, both had ideological enemies.

Soviet totalitarianism...that was predicted in 1945 by GF Kennan in "The Long Telegram" to Truman that the Soviets would collapse from within.

Posted by
10673 posts

The topic of Hungary and Ukraine in the war came up a few posts up. I wont argue the details, apparently they are so small as to be foot notes somewhere as compared to the atrocities of the two largest European powers in the war. But what it did bring to mind was Ukraine and the complexity and little observed layers in these sorts of things. A very significant number of Ukrainians worked for the Nazis. TERRIBLE!! End of story. Or, you might consider the Holodomor. I would suspect that 90% of the RS folks dont even know what that is. Heck, my spell check doesnt even know it, When you starve somewhere between 3.9 million and 7.5 million of your own people to death as a means of ensuring superiority of power; then when the Nazis come marching in with a promise to punish those that just starved your population, the choice isnt black or white. https://newrepublic.com/article/145953/stalin-starved-ukraine

The same sort of complexity is prevalent in most world issues.

Posted by
316 posts

The topic that came up a few posts up was not Hungary AND Ukraine during the war, it was Hungary IN USSR (and Ukraine in particular). And, sorry to say, when it comes to WWII history, not too many things are so clearly black rather than white as Hungarian involvement, but, like I said, it was in the Soviet interests to downplay it after the war.

And, while the atrocities by the Hungarian army and especially anti-partisan "police" forces do not seem to have made it to Wikipedia footnotes, there are several books on the subject, one published quite recently, actually ( A magyar megszálló csapatok a Szovjetunióban. Levéltári dokumentumok (1941–1947)

The book didn't seem to generate much publicity, which is a pity, really - if you consider the latest Hungarian-Ukrainian passport row in "Zakarpattia/Carpathian Ruthenia", for instance, it is hard not to see Hungarian actions through the prism of Greater Hungary revisionism. If the collective national memory of where these aspirations can potentially lead is not periodically refreshed, why yes, "it could all happen again".

Posted by
12084 posts

There is an episode narrated by Walter Cronkite (obviously) in the series "Twentieth Century" called, "Partisan: the Nazi-Soviet War." which shows as do other subsequent documentaries on the topic how well the German Army troops were greeted and received as they rolled in to the Ukraine when the invasion of Russia began.

Had it not been for Nazi racial policies implemented in the Ukraine, it's quite reasonable and conceivable to assume that a lot more Ukrainians would have abetted in the Holocaust and actively supported the Germans fighting Stalin.

Look at "Schindler's List" who are the camps guards, those wearing brown. They're not German SS but Ukrainians.

The Ukraine suffered horribly under Stalin's terror in the inter-war years and after 1945 too. The usual figure given of Stalin's victims prior to Hitler's attack on Poland is 5 million, how many of them were Ukrainians. The Ukraine never wanted to be under Russian rule, much less under Communist Russian rule. In early 1918 with the war going on, the Ukraine signed a separate treaty with the Germans to detach itself from Lenin's Russia. Of course, that was all moot after Nov 1918.

Posted by
10673 posts

What the Hungarians did to their own people during WWII was horrific. But they do appear to be facing it squarely and honestly. Monuments and remembrances are everywhere as is a museum dedicated to the remembrance. None of the leadership of that period are seen in high regard by the overwhelming majority of the population and for years those who participated were either prosecuted or publically held to count, with their names, photos and crimes widely published so that they would be ostracized from society. But like in every society there is a fringe group of nuts and that's always a concern. I would worry about a society that elevated repugnant criminals. I guess if the facts of what happened in Russia and Ikraine is coming out in Hungarian language books, they are facing that as well. I envy you for being able to read and speak Hungarian. My mind is not wired for languages.

Posted by
12084 posts

On Hungary and its WW2 past, I would suggest the movie, "The Music Box" with Jessica Lange.

Posted by
6061 posts

Another sad but true article on this from the NY Times:
https://nyti.ms/2DwV0OK

Differences between Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs are so small — they
speak the same language, look the same and mostly eat the same food —
that some scholars of the 1990s war have turned to Freud and what he
called “the narcissism of minor differences” to explain the fury of
their rival nationalisms.

The only clear marker is religion, though Catholic Croats, Muslim
Bosniaks and Orthodox Serbs are still united by the fact that few
worship regularly and nearly all like going to bars and cafes.

Bosnia’s biggest curse, said Ms. Popovac, the activist in Mostar, is
not ethnic or religious enmity but its nationalist political leaders,
who fan the fears of the communities they claim to represent to save
themselves and a deeply corrupt system that has enriched them.

“Just follow the money,” she said.

Lots of parallels here that can be applied elsewhere.

Posted by
10673 posts

I sort of think Nationalist politics unites (right or wrong). Identity politics in which the common bond is broken down into tribes or victim groups for political gain is more what you describe. And I suppose there is a form of extreme nationalism at work within those groups based on some ancient homeland concept or something similar. And yes, there are parallels. Of course, I would suspect that the situation in the Balkans is a lot more complicated than that one quote makes it sound and at that level any parallels with younger societies probably breakdown quickly. Seeing parallels is observant I guess but trying to come up with one size fits all generalizations I dont think is productive in the long run.

This where we need Fred. (Happy Turkey Dsy Fred)

Posted by
12084 posts

Thanks James.

On the quotation cited, I don't place too much emphasis on the psychoanalytic interpretation of history which the author of that NY Times article seems to be doing. My take: (since you asked, James)... I don't agree with the author. .