You read it right. Now, keep going…
Global politics viewed from the western perspective is full of prejudice, and mostly it is connected to the wealth of the nation. The richer the country, the more respect it holds. Stability is a close second. Wars, revolutions, and rebellions are considered to be a sign of primitivism. It has to be pointed out, only if these calamities are happening on your territory. If you’re promoting them in other countries, they are considered the sign of active foreign policy. Imperialistic? Perhaps. But not primitive.
This criterion can be heard in the voice of the American president when he calls African states ”sh*tholes” or in your grandmother’s warning not to visit Angkor Vat for the fear of being boiled alive and eaten by the local cannibals. This ignorant view doesn’t stop on the borders of continents and races but it follows us into the heart of Europe. To the place where the hunter-gatherer met with the first farmer and started the oldest European cultures and civilisations. Ages ago. Literal ages. Old Europe, they call it. The cradle of the West. Known today as the Balkans.
”Balkanisation is a geopolitical term used to describe the process of fragmentation or division of a region or state into smaller regions or states which are often hostile or uncooperative with one another”
Oh, golly, what a great nickname for us all! Hostile and uncooperative. Grandma would be proud. Not the process of spreading literacy, but one of fragmentation and the division of regions so small, they could end up being city states! Laughable! City states?! Imagine something ridiculous like that. In Europe? Fragmentation and division? Hostilities? Unheard of! It’s the Balkans and their weird primitive ideas.
To be fair, the last European war, prior to the Ukranian crisis, was on the Balkan peninsula. Bloody and savage wars in Croatia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, shocked the whole world. Genocide, ethnic cleansing, and many other atrocities and war crimes are still in the media today. Just last week, another Serbian leader was convicted of war crimes. So it is no wonder that ”Balkanisation” was picked up from a dusty 19th century German thesaurus, an exotic and negative word for those ”exotic and negative” people from far away.
Yes, there are still some hostilities and a lack of cooperation, nothing strange for countries that went to war in recent history, and economies need time to recover from the cataclysmic corruption that war leaves behind. Not destruction. Corruption. Destroyed houses are easier to rebuild than a broken moral compass. So, things are not great, nobody should claim that the Balkans are doing amazingly, but this prejudice still exists and is an embarrassment for the whole of Europe, and for the EU most of all. So much so, that the halls of our common parliament ring with ignorance and war propaganda.
Croatia and Slovenia are having a border dispute. To pressure both governments into finding a quick and easy solution, some members of the parliament are using volatile rhetorics once again. ”The powder keg of Europe!” they yell. ”Pandora’s box of the Balkans”. They warn of war preparations and weakened peace. Not to insult these MPs, but to claim that two EU/NATO member states will go to war over a fishing village either deserves a trip to the doctor, or a brief history lesson. So, let’s start.
Slovenia and Croatia never went to war. Never. Never, ever. Let that sink in. Two European, Balkan countries (they claim they are not, but the rest of the planet disagrees), two neighbouring countries, never went to war. Never burned each other‘s villages, never massacred each other‘s citizens. Never shelled cities, never sank ships, never raped, pillaged, plundered, or occupied each other.
How many countries in Europe can say that about their neighbours? That they wentthrough thick and thin with them, fighting invasions together, and suffering together under imperialistic yoke. Creating, back in 1927; TIGR, first anti-fascistresistance in Europe, and after changing six different states in last hundred years, still didn’t go to war. How many countries can say that?
Balkanisation? More like Restofeuropeanisation.