According to Edward P. Joseph, professor at Johns Hopkins University and foreign policy analyst, ‘people look at Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkans and see a “swamp” of problems – ethnic and national divisions, thousands of people leaving the region, failure to make progress towards NATO and EU membership and even air pollution’.
He added that the problem is the only country in the Balkans that does not accept the Western order, namely, in his view, Serbia.
“Serbia is an EU candidate but its candidacy is a farce. Serbia, in fact, promotes the values and sometimes the agenda of Russia and China, and has an important ally in Hungary. However, this is praised by Western officials, who turn a blind eye to the attack on democracy and the weakening of certain NATO allies such as Montenegro. Why? Because Serbia holds Kosovo in its grip. Serbia refuses to accept Kosovo’s independence, which is another formative component of the Western order in the region,’ Joseph said.
He believes that that problem has always been prevailed in this part of the world, and was evident in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war. “The problem is the divisions within the EU. Serbia only has power because five EU countries (four of which belong to NATO) do not recognise Kosovo. If Spain, Slovakia, Romania, Greece and Cyprus recognised Kosovo, the whole region, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, would be transformed. Why? Because then Serbia would accept Kosovo as an independent state without any pressure or coercion. In this way, Serbia would accept the Western order for the region, including the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro are separate and sovereign states”.
Joseph also underlined that Serbia’s acceptance of the Western order is a prerequisite for constitutional reform and a proper functioning of Bosnia.
“It is simple. All other problems, including the Bosnian-Croat issue, would become solvable. Everything would become probable in this scenario. Bosnia and Herzegovina would become a functional country and the threat of the Republic of Srpska seceding is disappearing. An alternative to democratic coexistence is to change the borders and, in many cases, relocate the population. This is the Russian method, which would lead to chaos and continued ethnic and national tensions, not a solution,” Joseph concluded.
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