Are Serbs and Americans really that much alike, as Ambassador Hill claims?

In an interview with the EUpravozato website, on the occasion of America’s Independence Day celebration, the United States Ambassador to Serbia, Christopher Hill, stated that Serbs and Americans have much more in common than they have differences. Although they somewhat agree with what the American ambassador said, Serbian political experts interpret the motivation behind this statement differently.

“I often say that Americans and Serbs have something in common, and that is that we don’t like being told what to do, and in that spirit, we have discovered that we can achieve a lot together,” Hill said.

Ambassador Hill added that the United States is Serbia’s partner on its road to EU membership and that, although America’s role is not to secure new memberships, it will assist Serbia in its membership efforts to the extent possible.

Branka Latinović, a former ambassador, says that she sees Hill’s statement as a continuation of his efforts to overcome what she described as a “painful and sad period” in the bilateral relations between the United States and Serbia, alluding to the events of 1999.

She notes that there are numerous examples in the world of countries that have been in a situation similar to ours and have managed to overcome it.

“It is enough to mention the relations between Iran and the USSR, when Soviet troops left Iran only after several UN Security Council resolutions in 1946, and then the relations between the USA and Japan or Vietnam and the USA,” our interlocutor points out.

Latinović states that Ambassador Hill’s persistence, patience, and engagement to bring the bilateral relations between these two countries to the highest possible level of cooperation, including strategic partnership, are evident.

She cites historical cooperation between Serbia and the USA as an example of such a relationship, from Serbia first being granted the status of a favoured nation, through American assistance in bringing volunteers from the USA to the Thessaloniki front, to the role of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson during the negotiations in Versailles.

“Ambassador Hill is clearly working to finally bring our relations to that desired goal, and for his tenure in Serbia to be remembered. This is delicate and challenging, especially as Europe faces a completely new geopolitical reshaping,” our interlocutor concludes.

Dragomir Anđelković, a political analyst, tells Danas that if observed over a longer period, there are indeed more similarities than differences between Serbs and Americans.

“Both nations are egalitarian in many ways, and they were united by their alliance in the First and Second World Wars, as well as by proper cooperation for decades before, after, and between them,” says our interlocutor.

On the other hand, Anđelković adds, there is also a fundamental difference that has come to the forefront in recent decades.

“Serbia was the victim and America the aggressor. Even today, that power is taking part of our territory, while the Serbs have done nothing harmful to the Americans,” he explains.

Anđelković emphasizes that Ambassador Hill does not talk about the divergence of views that have emerged in the last decade because, as he says, his position requires him to “with a broad smile and nice words, impose what are the interests of his country no matter how much it is to the detriment of our country and the truth.”

“Part of this is uncritical support for the authoritarian regime in Serbia, which is contrary to the idea that democracy should also connect Serbs and Americans,” Anđelković notes.

Dragan Šutanovac, President of the Council for Strategic Policies and former Minister of Defence, says that although it is common practice today to emphasize the differences between the USA and Serbia, the facts are actually the opposite.

“The Serbian diaspora in the USA is exceptionally successful and integrated into American society. Throughout history, many Serbs have held and still hold outstanding and respected positions in political, business, scientific, healthcare, sports, and many other spheres of American society,” our interlocutor emphasizes.

He adds that the best indicator of this is that despite the events of the late 1990s, it did not affect the desire of Serbian citizens to live and work in the United States.

Šutanovac points out that the best indicator of America’s positive attitude towards Serbia is the presence of a large number of American companies.

“It is up to us to strengthen these ties and to become allies in the future, just as we were during all the world wars,” Šutanovac concludes.

(Danas, 04.07.2024)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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