"Western Balkan strategy led by Washington urgently needed"

In order to prevent regional instability, "a more vigorous Western Balkan strategy led by Washington is urgently needed."

Source: Tanjug

That is according to senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington Janusz Bugajski, who penned a piece for online journal Europe’s Edge, cited by the European Western Balkans and Tanjug.

To prevent political radicalization and ethnic polarization that could ignite armed conflicts, a more vigorous Western Balkan strategy led by Washington is urgently needed, Bugajski writes.

“The Balkans are returning onto America’s radar screen as threats to regional stability and European integrity mount. To prevent a dangerous spiral of escalation, Washington must pursue a more vigorous strategy to help secure the remaining states within Western institutions and curtail Russia’s spreading subversion," he argues.

According to Bugajski, Several recent events in the region - such as “Moscow-directed coup attempt in Montenegro, the creation of a Russian-trained paramilitary force in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the assassination of a moderate Serb politician in Kosovo" - might have "some background strategy."

These regional instabilities seek more attention of the US, and such an initiative must be based on three pillars: counter-subversion, national security and regional collaboration, he stressed.

“Counter-subversion entails monitoring and combating imminent security threats, whether these stem from illegal paramilitaries, terrorist cells, criminal organizations, or Russian-financed networks,” Bugajski says.

When it comes to the national security, he believes that each state needs to be brought under the NATO umbrella.

“Washington can take the lead role in unblocking Macedonia’s and Bosnia’s progress toward NATO and offering both Serbia and Kosova dual entry once they establish full bilateral ties and complete the necessary military reforms,”says Bugajski.

According to him, the last pillar of US policy should be based on regional security collaboration.

“It is clear that nationalist radicals and Kremlin operatives directly benefit from the resulting instability,” he thinks, and notes that "another blow to regional stability" was the recent murder of Oliver Ivanovic, which, according to him, "clearly benefits politicians who want the Belgrade-Pristina talks to fail.”

He adds that the Serbian delegation "withdrew from the (technical) discussions after news of the murder."

Bugajski is "especially concerned about Serbia’s defense links with Moscow and how its acquisition of new weapons systems may affect regional stability," writes the European Western Balkans.


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