Mujo, Mile and Štefica in the Jaws of Transition
Eric,I thought Cheney’s commitment to the leaders of Croatia, Macedonia and Albania that the US would back their quest for membership in the EU and NATO was an important step forward. With so many Europeans opposed to EU expansion, I don’t know whether Cheney’s support on that front means much. However, US backing can help these countries join NATO. That would surely strengthen their bid for membership in the EU.It is obvious that the future of all the Balkan countries lies with Europe. That includes Serbia. If Albania, Croatia and Macedonia join NATO before Serbia because Serbia has refused to cooperate with the ICTY, that will underline the cost of non -compliance. One could hardly have thought of a stronger way to increase the pressure on Serbia to give up Mladic. I think that we both agree that the sooner he is in the Hague the better. Say what you want about Cheney, this symbolic gesture strengthens the push for European integration. The fact that Cheney made his commitment in Dubrovnik is symbolic in and of itself. Along with the attack on Vukover ,the shelling of Dubrovnik showed the world what Milosevic was up to. Hopefully the US commitment to help the Balkan states join European institutions will make sure that the politics of hate that Milosevic championed will not outlive him.
It is a symbolic gesture, though, only meaningful in the sense that he did not say he would obstruct anything.
Eric,What would you have Cheney do beside making this kind of gesture? His meeting Balkan leaders clearly increases pressure on Serbia and helps Macedonia, Croatia and Albania move closer to NATO membership.I know you are no fan of Cheney. However, he is VP of the US. That means something, no matter who holds the office. If the US pushes for NATO membership for the Balkan three that will clearly open some doors for them. The Cheney meeting ,like the EU suspension of talks with Serbia, builds pressure for ICTY cooperation by indicating to Serbia's leaders that they are nearing a dead end. There is nothing threatening about these gestures. They simply underline the situation.As for myself, I think that support of the Balkan three is a nice touch. It implicitly says "look the world is leaving you behind". That will be particularly true if Albania joins NATO before Serbia does.One last thing. Of course Cheney's visit to Dubrovnik was symbolic, but so was the EU's suspension of talks. Serbia won't join the EU or NATO until Mladic is in the Hague , whether talks go forward or not. However, any move by the EU or the US to make that clear leaves Kostunica and those around him with fewer illusions that they can continue to play games and avoid transferring Mladic. Over ten years after Srebrenica that may not be much, but it is a step in the right direction.
In order for any gesture by the VP to have any of the positive consequences you are arguing for, he and his administration have to have some credibility.
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