When containment becomes dangerous for Europe

When containment becomes dangerous for Europe

by Stefan Haderer

Europe has emerged as a peace project. Now this corner stone is threatened to crumble in a new Balkan crisis. Macedonia’s opposition is doing everything to bring down the government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. In a strange way this resembles similar scenarios in Ukraine. Again there is a state that should be “readied for Europe” by all means. The western containment policy seems to be applied to the Balkan as well, where one tries to “clean up” the states from all Russia-friendly connections. The strategy, however, is highly explosive, because the EU will not be able to cope with a cross-border civil war and an intra-European refugee disaster in the long term.
When politicians like Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz now speak of a “strategy for the West Balkans” and of an EU accession of Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo one should very seriously consider for the time being, whose targets are addressed by this. Is it the interest of those civilians, who continue to live under ethnic tensions and have to deal with the radicalization of terrorists that are sponsored partly by Saudi Arabia? Is it in the interest of the European Union, which would definitely over-strain itself by the early admission of crisis-riddled states? Or is it in the end the interests of the United States, that would like to see a fall of all Russia-friendly governments – in particularly those that support lucrative Russian gas projects as Turkish Stream in Southeastern Europe?
The path that Macedonia has embarked on, was already predetermined by the administration of US President Barack Obama. Victoria Nuland, the leading US diplomat for Europe and Eurasia, and wife of the neo-conservative policy adviser Robert Kagan, visited the government of Gruevski in the Macedonian capital Skopje in July 2014. There she assured the politician and advocate of “Euromaidan”, the Ukrainian revolution, that the enlargement of NATO would have the highest priority in the future. Macedonia deserves, so Nuland literally, “its rightful place within NATO and the European Union”.
Macedonia and Serbia have not supported the sanctions against Russia, referring to their economic situation. It is precisely this step that now becomes very expensive for Gruevski and the Macedonian government. One remembers the threat of former US President George W. Bush: “Those who are not with us are against us.” It is the credo that the world has felt over and again in recent years. But it is also the commandment, which Europe’s politicians submit to ever more willingly, by refering to the preservation of democratic values.
A new “color revolution” in Macedonia, as it is feared by Russia, is not inconceivable. That this will stabilize the situation in the Balkans may be strongly questioned – a conflict-free Europe is obviously no top priority at present.     •

Source: “Wiener Zeitung” from 19.05.2015

(Translation Current Concerns)

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