By Selim Ibraimi- Center for Security Studies and Development (CSSD)
The state security dilemma for the Balkan states lies in the tendency of governments to go back in history. Alliances have an important and center role in Balkan politics.
States and governments seems that don’t want progress, membership on NATO and the EU has been forgotten.
Strategic agreements with Russia, China or Middle East, are type of politics to balance U.S. interests in the region. The geopolitics of energy and state security, play very important role in the societies of the Western Balkans. Annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 has put the region under the “era e Putinism”.
-The expansionist policies of Russia could reach the Balkans with new project so called “Turkish Stream”.
-“Turkish Stream” should become operational in late 2016 or 2017 and the main hub for Western Europe, will pass through Macedonia. In this way some states of the region will be under direct hit by Moscow and Ankara.
-U.S., UK and Germany based in media reports have a second plan to keep these states to prevent shifting toward Russia or possibly to other regional players.
-With Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), project that will start from Azerbaijan, and bypass through Black Sea, Greece, will also reach Albania and Italy. This is major a project of century and U.S and Western Allies may counter Russian interference in the Balkans for years because the dependency on Russian gas will go down.
-The Second idea is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). TTIP could last until the end of the century and Balkans and Europe may benefit a lot.
Balkans may get some grants as Western allies got under Marshall Plan.
But the feature relays on the people of the Balkans, how they will accept new trends and when semi authoritarian governments will go away.EU with divided foreign policies can’t lead the region alone.
The U.S. and UK are the two major forces that may help in this case.
-Possible force that can play role in democratization is Germany.
China with global markets polices can destroy local markets and the dream of Turkeys foreign policy can be scrutinized.
-U.S.-Russian rivalry descended into Macedonia and diplomatic pressure on Macedonia may lead to a formation of two types of government: pro-Russian or pro- Western.
New crisis in Macedonia have reveal a strategic competition of U.S. and Russia for the Peninsula.
New Chinas strategy on building naval ports all over the world has impressed Greece .The proposed new naval Port in Greece may change the balance of power in Southeast Europe.
In long term U.S. has to change the policy of dealing with local governments and change the way in which foreign aid for the countries of Western Balkans is distributed.
-Public diplomacy and new form of investments in energy sector are the major steps that U.S. should do in the Balkans.In this way U.S. can prevent the formation of new “Cold War zones”.
New democracies can grow easily. Nation building can be finished shortly.
– America is stronger and in the long-term, represents the best guarantor for the third world. For Balkans, America and EU should be the theme of the century. American century is ahead.
-Multilateral world has the risk of developing different ideologies and free world has to do the right thing by changing the economic policies and national security strategies. Other states on the rise, with heavy flow of the capital, in the feature in some parts of the EU and the Balkans, can pose a risk for new democracies supported by the U.S.
-Strategic competition for the Balkan Peninsula never stopped through history. The decade ahead belongs to the rivalries and to interest of World Powers. The US should think how to robust the Balkans again. Putin is looking for client state in the region.
Next: Trump and the Balkans