Dysfunction in the Balkans – Can the Post-Yugoslav Settlement Survive?

Hits: 17936

The political settlement in the former Yugoslavia is unraveling. In Bosnia, the weakest state in the region, both Serbs and Croats are mounting a concerted challenge to the Dayton peace accords, the delicate set of compromises that hold the country together. In Macedonia, political figures from the large Albanian minority are calling for the federalization of the state along ethnic lines. In Kosovo, the Serb minority is insisting on the creation of a network of self-governing enclaves with effective independence from the central government. In Serbia’s Presevo Valley, Albanians are agitating for greater autonomy. In Montenegro, Albanians have demanded a self-governing entity. And in Kosovo and Albania, where Albanians have their independence, nationalists are pushing for a unified Albanian state.

 It is easy to dismiss all this as simply sound and fury, whipped up by opportunistic politicians. But it would be a mistake to ignore the will of the electorates, which have persistently shown their dissatisfaction with the multiethnic status quo and are demanding change. The choice facing Western policymakers is either to recognize the legitimacy of these demands and radically change their approach or to continue with the current policy and risk renewed conflict.

A beautiful idea

When Yugoslavia collapsed at the start of 1990s, there was nothing predetermined about what followed. One possibility was the emergence of nation-states, comparable to those elsewhere in Europe; another was multiethnic states based on internal administrative boundaries. In the end, the West determined the nature of the post-Yugoslav settlement by recognizing the independence of the old Yugoslav republics within their existing borders. In doing so, they were guided not only by a belief that this would promote justice and security but also by an ideological conviction that nationalism was the source of instability in Europe. Multiethnicity was seen as a viable, even desirable, organizing principle.

Unfortunately, this decision cut across the most basic interests of the emerging minority groups, which saw themselves condemned to second-class status in someone else’s state. In the 1990s, many took up arms to try to secure formal separation. Subsequently, wherever this failed, minorities have struggled to secure as much autonomy as possible within their adoptive states. Given the resistance of majority groups to the fragmentation of their polities, these attempts at separation have built tension into the very nervous system of the region’s various multiethnic states.

As a result, the West has been compelled for the last two decades to enforce the settlement it imposed on the former Yugoslavia, deploying UN-run civilian missions and NATO troops as regional policemen. At first, Washington took the lead, but after the United States downgraded its presence in the Balkans over the last decade, primary responsibility for upholding the post-Yugoslav settlement passed to the European Union. In doing so, the EU substituted the hard power of the U.S. military for the soft power of enlargement. Its assumption was that the very act of preparing for EU membership would transform poor authoritarian states into the kinds of prosperous, democratic, law-bound polities in which disaffected minorities would be content to live.

For a short while toward the end of the last decade, the policy appeared to be working. However, the disquiet of minorities eventually made it clear that the EU’s approach could not resolve the problems created by multiethnicity. Its central misconception was that minorities would give higher priority to political and economic reform than to grievances about territory and security, which would no longer matter after joining the EU. All this made sense to Europeans living in their post-historical paradise but did not hold water for minorities situated in the Hobbesian realm of the Balkans, unable to secure even their most primary needs—their security, rights, and prosperity.

Instead, issues of governance and the economy, and even more peripheral concerns such as education and the environment, were pushed to the margins as political institutions became gridlocked by intractable questions about territory, identity, and the balance between central and regional power. Day-to-day, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia were mired in political dysfunction, economic stagnation, and institutional corruption, even as their more homogenous neighbors, such as Albania, Croatia, and even Serbia, began to prosper.

The policy is further complicated by the Euroskepticism now sweeping across Europe, which threatens any remaining hope that integration could lead to stabilization. A Eurobarometer poll last year suggested that only 39 percent of EU citizens favor enlargement and 49 percent oppose it. Earlier this year, voters in the Netherlands decided in a referendum to block Ukraine’s integration with the EU; it was, in effect, a vote against enlargement. Previous governments in both Austria and France have also pledged to condition future enlargement upon a national referendum.

As a result, the process of enlargement has stalled. Thirteen years after its launch at a summit in Thessaloniki, four of the six non-EU states in the region have yet to open negotiations on EU membership. Serbia has only tentatively begun, and Montenegro, the region’s most advanced state, has only provisionally closed two of the 35 negotiating chapters, four years after starting. (By contrast, the central European countries completed the entire negotiating process within the same time frame.)

To complicate matters, Russia is using its influence to frustrate the process of integration, encouraging unhappy minorities such as the Bosnian Serbs to escalate their demands for separatism and threatening the pro-integration government in Montenegro. Turkey is nurturing the support of disaffected Muslims such as Bosniaks and Macedonian Albanians. And China is enthusiastically providing governments across the region with no-strings funding for investment in infrastructure, undermining the West’s attempts to promote conditions-based internal reform.

The debate on the Balkans has been dominated for far too long by Western diplomats and academics who deny what is obvious to almost everyone on the ground: that multiethnicity in the region is a beautiful idea and a miserable reality.

Almost every state has recently experienced serious unrest as people lose faith in the power of the EU to deliver them from their current state of hopelessness, poverty, and corruption. Adding to these tensions, minorities are trying to take control of their destiny by demanding the right to a separate territory in countries where the central government inevitably prioritizes the interests of the majority group. This combination of factors is already destabilizing the Balkans and, in turn, threatening to undermine the post-Yugoslav settlement.

For the moment, the EU’s ability to preserve the status quo in the Balkans is not completely spent because of its collective veto on border changes in the region. Meanwhile, Brussels is continuing to squeeze every last bit of leverage out of its policy of integration. In the last couple of years, it has pushed all the region’s laggards—Albania, Bosnia, and Kosovo—one step closer to membership.

But the EU is still struggling mightily to impose its authority. European diplomats were unable to resolve a two-year political crisis in Macedonia that began when the governing parties, which just won early elections, were implicated in wiretapped recordings revealing gross corruption and outright criminality. The EU also failed to conclude an agreement to normalize relations between Serbia and Kosovo. (In fact, relations between the two governments are deteriorating.) Perhaps most serious, Bosnia’s Republika Srpska proceeded with a controversial referendum in October, despite EU protestations, about retaining its national day holiday, which Bosnia’s highest court found discriminatory against non-Serbs and which Western diplomats said violated the Dayton constitution that holds Bosnia together. The EU’s subsequent inability to punish Bosnian Serb leaders through sanctions could embolden them to organize an independence referendum.

A miserable reality

What happens next, of course, is a matter of speculation. In all probability, the post-Yugoslav settlement will continue to hold in law. But separatist groups can easily gain a kind of functional independence by repudiating the authority of the central government and then waiting for more opportune circumstances, such as the collapse of the EU, to formalize this separation. Left unchecked, the situation risks sliding toward renewed conflict as majority populations fight to maintain the integrity of their states.

If this is the danger, then how should policymakers respond? The key consideration is that the existing policy of stabilization through integration, to the extent that it ever worked, has fully run its course, given the effective end of EU enlargement. By laboring onward with an obsolete policy that relies on an elusive reward, and without any sanctions for noncompliance, the West is handing the power of initiative to local revisionists and their external sponsors, Russia and Turkey, which are pursuing self-interested policies that cut across the West’s objectives.

Some argue that the existing policy could be made to work if only Brussels tried a bit harder, backing up its pledge of EU membership with greater efforts to promote regional cooperation, democracy, transparency, economic development, and so on. However, this is wishful thinking. The promise of EU membership is broken, and every one of these initiatives has been tried in spades for the last 20 years.

Others, especially majority groups on the ground, argue that Europe should get tough with politicians who advocate separatism, as Washington did in the past. This might work if Europe were willing to intervene in the region indefinitely. But the political context has changed radically over the last decade. No one wants another civilian mission, and threatening a group such as the Bosnian Serbs would simply drive it into Russia’s open arms.

A radical new approach is therefore required that forges a durable peace by addressing the underlying source of instability in the Balkans: the mismatch of political and national boundaries. The two-decade experiment in multiethnicity has failed. If the West is to stay true to its long-standing goal of preserving peace in the Balkans, then the moment has come to put pragmatism before idealism and plan for a graduated transition to properly constituted nation-states whose populations can satisfy their most basic political interests.

Given the divisions in Europe, the United States needs to step up and take control of the process. In the short term, Washington should support the internal fragmentation of multiethnic states where minorities demand it—for example, by accepting the Albanians’ bid for the federalization of Macedonia and the Croats’ demand for a third entity in Bosnia. In the medium term, the United States should allow these various territories to form close political and economic links with their larger neighbors, such as allowing dual citizenship and establishing shared institutions, while formally remaining a part of their existing state.

In the final phase, these territories could break from their existing states and unite with their mother country, perhaps initially as autonomous regions. A Croat entity in Bosnia would merge with Croatia; Republika Srpska and the north of Kosovo with Serbia; and the Presevo Valley, western Macedonia, and most of Kosovo with Albania. Meanwhile, Montenegro, which may lose its small Albanian enclaves, could either stay independent or coalesce with an expanded Serbia. In pursuing this plan, the United States would not be breaking new ground but simply reviving the Wilsonian vision of a Europe comprising self-governing nations—but for the one part of the continent where this vision has never been applied.

Inevitably, there would be difficulties and risks, although not as serious as those inherent in the existing failed policy approach. Serbia would have to let go of Kosovo, minus the north, but the compensation would be the realization of a Serbian nation-state in the territory where Serbs predominate. Albanians would similarly have to give up northern Kosovo. More problematic, Bosniaks and Macedonians would need to accept the loss of territory to which they are sentimentally attached and without any significant territorial compensation.

In truth, this would simply be a formalization of the existing reality. But the United States and Europe would need to smooth the transition by investing heavily in their economic development and by involving a range of international partners—including Turkey, Russia, and the key regional states of Albania, Croatia, and Serbia—to commit to their security. During a transitional period, Washington and others may also have to deploy peacekeepers to uphold the borders of the expanded Albanian, Croatian, and Serbian states.

But this would be only a temporary commitment, in contrast with the current deployment needed to uphold an illegitimate status quo—4,300 troops in Kosovo, including around 600 from the United States, and another 600 troops in Bosnia. Ultimately, it is easier to enforce a separation than a reluctant cohabitation.

These suggestions may shock those who are heavily invested in the current policy of multiethnicity. But the debate on the Balkans has been dominated for far too long by Western diplomats and academics who deny what is obvious to almost everyone on the ground: that multiethnicity in the region is a beautiful idea and a miserable reality.

There is no question that undoing the existing settlement would be complicated. However, a managed process of separating groups with divergent national interests, rather than forcible coexistence for the sake of an abstract ideological goal, would eliminate the most serious risk facing the region—namely, uncontrolled disintegration and renewed conflict. It would also give places such as Bosnia and Kosovo a better chance of developing in the longer term. This is eminently preferable to the status quo.

After many wasted years, the West must have the confidence to embrace a new approach that cuts through hardened assumptions. For the new administration, there is now an unprecedented opportunity to rethink a policy that has been flawed since its very inception. In a final act of service to the Balkans, the United States should finish the job it started so long ago, this time once and for all.


Originally published on 2016-12-22

Author: Timothy Less

Source: NSPM.rs

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]Save

Save

 
READ MORE!
The Colonial Politics Appropriating Mount Rushmore
As colonial monuments are being destroyed in the U.S. and Europe, Mount Rushmore so far remains untouched and a news item since U.S. President Donald Trump visited the site on July 4 to commemorate Independence Day. Fireworks and fighter jets dominated a territorial space that is laden with the memory of colonial violence against the indigenous American Indians.A treaty signed in 1868 between the U.S. government and the Sioux people recognised the Black Hills in South Dakota as exclusive to the indigenous. The agreement was toppled in 1874 when gold was discovered in the Black Hills in a mining expedition ...
READ MORE
Trump’s Political Suicide Pushes China, Iran and Russia Closer
The first aspect to consider, following the US attack on Syria, is what Putin, Xi, and Rohani, leaders of the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China, and Iran respectively, thought while American Tomahawks were hitting the Syrian air base of Shayrat. The last three years of the Obama presidency highlighted two very different strategies being advanced simultaneously by the US and the nations opposing its imperialistic overreach, principally Russia, China and Iran. The latter have been seeking cooperation, while the US, with its big hammer, has characteristically been on the search for nails to hammer. Yet the management of international ...
READ MORE
Why the U.S. is a Major Human Rights Violator
The U.S. State Department annually publishes an extremely biased report on human rights around the world. Conveniently, the report omits one of the most systemic violators of human rights on the planet. Under Donald Trump, the United States has graduated from systemic human rights violator to human rights pariah, as witnessed by recent murders and assaults by police of innocent people on the streets of America. Although the United States has historically been more than willing to criticize the human rights policies of other countries, including in the venue of the United Nations, it has bristled at attempts to have ...
READ MORE
Don’t Romanticise the Kemalist Legacy!
The political situation in Turkey is clearly dramatic, but it is also equally complicated. Turkish President Erdogan has succeeded in securing levels of power unique in the nation′s history. But is this situation really unique? No – for 15 years, the father of the nation Ataturk ruled alone over the early Republic, which was a one-party nation at the time. Only his untimely death in 1938 deprived him of that power.Up to that point, Ataturk alone ruled over every conceivable dimension of domestic and foreign policy. Even clothing and music were tailored to his ideas. The aim was the creation ...
READ MORE
UN, France & US in Libya and Ivory Coast: Using Violence and Islamic Forces Just Like Kosovo
Albanian terror in Kosovo against the Serbs from June 1999 up to the end of 2000 The current problems in Libya and Ivory Coast are complex and clearly the opposition has different aspirations.  After all, both sides are involved in a bloody conflict and the use of violence is being used by each faction in these divided nations.  Therefore, it appears that the “new democratic warriors” of peace and freedom carry guns and kill their enemies, just like their enemies would kill them. This article is not about defending the leaders of either nations and clearly the leader of Libya is known ...
READ MORE
Crazed Washington Drives the World to the Final War
John Pilger is the kind of well-informed, hard-hitting journalist with gobs of integrity that no longer exists in the Western mainstream media. He has the most distinguished career of all in the business. In the article below he brings stunning information to one of my own themes–the creation by Washington and its NATO vassals of an artificial reality consisting entirely of propaganda into which Washington has placed the entire Western world and all outside who inspire to be part of it. Westerners live in The Matrix, and the presstitutes keep them there. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and ...
READ MORE
Past all Reason: The Vietnam War
Well-intentioned and artfully executed, The Vietnam War—Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 10-part, 18-hour-long documentary series on PBS—is not history, but rather story-telling and remembrance. Balanced, exhaustive, and relentlessly solemn, it glides along the surface of things, even when that surface is crowded with arrogance, miscalculation, deceit, and bloodletting on an epic scale.According to one promotional trailer prepared for the series, “In war there is no single truth.” Embedded within every war (as in other forms of human endeavor) are multiple truths—some of them trivial, others very important indeed. The purpose of history is to unearth and engage with those truths ...
READ MORE
Why the United States’ Use of Force Against Syria Violates International Law
The United States the use of force against the sovereign state of Syria is a prima facie violation of international law. It is an act of aggression against the UN Member State in violation of the Charter of the United Nations. It therefore gives Syria the right to react in self-defense or a legal justification for the use of force and it gives any other United Nations Member State the right to act in collective self-defense and to support Syrian action against the US This is the basic understanding of the international legal consequences of the United States use of ...
READ MORE
From a Sunday to a Monday in August, the Sixth Day
The genesis of the world, the myth of creation speaks of seven days.1 Six days of divine labour whereon the seventh the lord of the universe rested. No one, not even the angelic general staff of the combined heavenly hosts, could fathom what led the Creator to engage in this feat.2 But tradition has established that man — here the gendered reference is intended — as being created in the image of the Creator — aka “God” — should also rest on the seventh day. Depending on the sect into which one was born and bred, this may be called ...
READ MORE
Draft Constitution of the Syrian Republic
Syrian constitution is questionable The Russian-proposed constitution for Syria is raising a storm in Media. Not only the opposition but the governmental circles are discussing it. Many forums are endlessly debating its 85-controversial articles. Some Syrians feel insulted by a charter authored by one outside power and approved by two others, Turkey and Iran.The Islamists are furious, because the draft constitution scraps Article 3, which specifies Islam as the religion of the president of the republic. This is a long-standing article since 1920 which several Syrian leaders, including Hafez Al Assad, tried to change, with little luck. Arab nationalists are also ...
READ MORE
In the Pandemic NATO Shows Itself to Be as Irrelevant as Ever
In 2015 Bill Gates gave a talk titled “We’re Not Ready for the Next Epidemic” in which, in a remarkable exhibition of understated and uncannily accurate prescience, he reflected on the outbreak of Ebola virus and forecast worse to come. This amazing man told us that “As awful as this epidemic has been, the next one could be much worse. The world is simply not prepared to deal with a disease — an especially virulent flu, for example — that infects large numbers of people very quickly. Of all the things that could kill 10 million people or more, by ...
READ MORE
Nazi Roots of Ukraine’s Conflict
The latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, one of the leading journals in its field, offers a two-page photo essay on “what to see, do, and buy” in Lviv, a picturesque city in the Western Ukraine. “Amid the turmoil that has rocked Ukraine over the past two years,” the article gushes, “Lviv has stood firmly as a stronghold of national culture, language, and identity.”That’s one way of putting it. Another, less charitable way would be to note that Lviv has for nearly a century been a breeding ground of extreme Ukrainian nationalism, spawning terrorist movements, rabid anti-Semitism, and outright pro-Nazi ...
READ MORE
The US is Already an Authoritarian Regime
Or at the very least, an incipient monarchy: the only problem is that the monarch — while having plenty of clothes — has no head. The most famous twentieth century American journalist, Bob Woodward, who together with his buddy Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate story that forced President Richard Nixon to resign, has written a book that reveals White House palace intrigues worthy of any European king — although it is the French President, Emanuel Macron, who calls himself Jupiter. Under the ominous title Fear, Woodward quotes high-ranking members of the White House staff as well as the heads of crucial departments ...
READ MORE
Ukraine Provocation in the Black Sea is Directed Against Russia
Ukraine is a virtual US colony – the way it’s been since the Obama regime’s February 2014 coup, replacing democratic governance with fascist tyranny in Europe’s heartland.Ukraine shares a near-1,500 mile land and sea border with the Russian Federation, the longest Western frontier with the country.The regime running things is a hotbed of militarized extremism, waging war on its own people, committing appalling human rights abuses – with full support and encouragement from Washington and key NATO countries.Stop NATO’s Rick Rozoff earlier explained that Ukraine is “the decisive linchpin in plans by the US and its NATO allies to effect ...
READ MORE
“Welcome to Nulandistan: Propaganda and the Crisis in Ukraine” (Documentary Movie, 2014)
"Welcome to Nulandistan: Propaganda and the Crisis in Ukraine" (2014)This full length GRTV documentary looks at the fictitious land of Nulandistan that has been constructed out of Ukraine.The GRTV documentary deconstructs Nulandistan and the propaganda of the Obama Administration [...], the US Department of States, US officials, and their allies about the crisis in Ukraine and takes a look at their growing frustration towards the Russian media, particularly RT, for challenging their account of the events on the ground in what they have declared is an intensifying information war.The full length documentary starts by looking at the self-benefiting description of ...
READ MORE
Hillary Clinton – A Member of the “Axis of (D)evil”
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
“Fake Scholarship” and the Future of America’s University
Harvard University has established a modern version of the Catholic Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a list of prohibited online publications which are tagged as “fake” and “false”, broadly following the politically tainted “List” of censored independent and alternative media. As we recall the Catholic Church’s Index was a list of books “deemed heretical, anti-clerical or lascivious”.1  Ex Cathedra, Harvard has decided in one fell swoop that virtually the entire US based “Alternative Media” pertaining to tens of thousands of authors would be categorized not only as fake news, but fake science, knowledge and analysis. The Harvard Index however goes far beyond the Catholic Church’s Index which selectively banned books ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: An Illegal Entity Annexed and Ruled by NATO is to Create a Regular Army
Kosovo is to set up a regular standing army, officially defying everyone, including NATO, although the bloc’s objections are only half-hearted. The alliance would prefer that the illegal entity of Kosovo change its constitution in order to create an army. Just amend it, and then you’re free to have one. This stance looks more like connivance than any real opposition to the move. Washington’s position is more or less the same. It supports "the gradual, transparent transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into a multiethnic force in line with NATO standards" as long as it complies with the provisions of Kosovo’s constitution, reflecting that “entity’s multiethnic ...
READ MORE
USA & Islamists in Balkans in Coalition Again
SERBIAN SETTLEMENT IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA BEGAN IN THE SEVENTH CENTURY A.D.Note: Croats settled much later and in insignificant numbers. That is why they are not mentioned much in the literature.THE EMPEROR CONSTANTINE VII PORPHYROGENITUS (reigned 913-957) REFERRED TO BOSNIA AS PART OF *THE LAND OF THE SERBS*.BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA… THE LARGEST SINGLE NATIONAL ELEMENT IS THE ORTHODOX SERBS, followed by Moslem Slavs (few of whom can trace their origin to Turkish colonists) and Catholic Croats……The republics of Croatia and Slovenia are predominantly Roman Catholic, while the republics of Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA (!!!) are predominantly ORTHODOXIn the ’90-ies Alija Izetbegovic, former SS ...
READ MORE
Russia vs. America
GR Editor’s Note Moscow is accused of doping as part of a US dirty tricks campaign to prevent Russia from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. What is the record of the US with regard to doping? The main sports organizations including the NFL, MLB, and NBA have allowed unusually relaxed policies for performance-enhancing drug testing and punishment. The USADA is the US government agency responsible for the implementation in the United States of the World Anti-Doping Code, Yet, the record suggests that the USDA does not actively intervene in “big money sports” and often turns a blind eye ...
READ MORE
The Colonial Politics Appropriating Mount Rushmore
Trump’s Political Suicide Pushes China, Iran and Russia Closer
Why the U.S. is a Major Human Rights Violator
Don’t Romanticise the Kemalist Legacy!
UN, France & US in Libya and Ivory Coast: Using Violence and Islamic Forces Just Like Kosovo
Crazed Washington Drives the World to the Final War
Past all Reason: The Vietnam War
Why the United States’ Use of Force Against Syria Violates International Law
From a Sunday to a Monday in August, the Sixth Day
Draft Constitution of the Syrian Republic
In the Pandemic NATO Shows Itself to Be as Irrelevant as Ever
Nazi Roots of Ukraine’s Conflict
The US is Already an Authoritarian Regime
Ukraine Provocation in the Black Sea is Directed Against Russia
“Welcome to Nulandistan: Propaganda and the Crisis in Ukraine” (Documentary Movie, 2014)
Hillary Clinton – A Member of the “Axis of (D)evil”
“Fake Scholarship” and the Future of America’s University
Kosovo: An Illegal Entity Annexed and Ruled by NATO is to Create a Regular Army
USA & Islamists in Balkans in Coalition Again
Russia vs. America

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu