Balkan Strategic Studies

October 31, 1992

A Sane Balkan Policy

By Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS. Virtually ever strategic policymaker in the world must bear some blame for the developing war which is enveloping the Balkans as a result of the disintegration of the Yugoslav federation from its original boundaries. All of us? We have made this an issue for the United Nations, a global body, and all the peacekeeping and peace-enforcing which the Balkan conflict will entail. And yet we are once again allowing the merits of the situation to be decided by the international media, and, de facto, by the forces best able to manipulate images for the media. Thus far we have seen a runaway grasp on the media exercised by Croatia and its allies, particularly Germany. But we must not allow this to color how the rest of the world reacts to the Balkans crisis.

Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy has this month prepared some information on the illegal supply of weapons which is currently feeding the Balkan conflict. Principally, it shows how Germany and other states are providing massive weapons support to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, in contravention of domestic and international law. Next month we will detail the extent of foreign mercenary involvement in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, again an activity undertaken with the blessing of the German and other governments. Germany, it is true, has a traditional geopolitical role in the Balkans, as does Austria. But this should not blind the rest of the world which could be avoided or ameliorated by the judicious exercise of good intelligence collection, unbiased all-source analysis, and policymaking which dares to fly in the face of populist media reports.

What will happen if Greece sees no alternative to military intervention, for example, in the former Yugoslav state of Macedonia? How will this affect NATO? Two NATO states, Greece and Turkey, have different interests in the Balkans, both with historical and modern origins. Can Turkey stand by and watch Iran (and other Muslim states) attempt to seize the Islamic battle standard in the fighting in Bosnia, where many Muslims are involved?

Who among the European community or NATO policymakers is aware of the full Balkan mosaic, its historical and current attitudes. Why is the US prepared to allow Europe to take the lead on the Balkans crisis when Washington has traditionally been called upon in this century to restore the peace in Europe when it shatters into war? And why is Germany persistently prepared to support Croatian -- and Iranian -- attempts to inflame the overall conflict?

Defense & Foreign Affairs has never been afraid, in its 20 years of existence, to take an unpopular view in order to force a balanced argument of a vital strategic situation. In this current crisis, Serbia has consistently failed to make its case to the West of the United Nations. Its leaders, with the exception of the Prime Minister, were caught off-guard by the crisis. But does this mean that their situation should not be heard and understood?