UPCOMING EVENT: The Future of Kosovo’s Statehood and Its European Integration Perspective

The Emerging Democracies Institute

cordially invites canadian online pharmacy free shipping you to a panel discussion:

“The Future of Kosovo’s Statehood and Its European Integration Perspective”

Featuring

Albin Kurti President, Lëvizja Vetëvendosje! (Movement for Self-Determination)

Shpend Ahmeti Mayor of Prishtina

moderated by

Reuf Bajrovic President, Emerging Democracies Institute

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, Root Room 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington DC 20036

On Failed Policies: The EU’s Serbia “Triumph”

The news that Serbia is now officially in membership talks with the European Union (EU) has largely been presented as the triumphant last steps of the country’s transformation from international pariah to emerging democracy. Among EU officials, eager to present existing conditionality and membership policies as a means to pacification and democratization, Serbia will in many regards be the ultimate success story. The reality, however, remains more complex. The current government is composed of a colourful cast of former war crimes enthusiasts and spokespeople. Domestically, lasting authoritarian tendencies, deeply embedded in state institutions, have contributed to an on-going culture of political purges and serious concerns about minority rights. Moreover, the idea that a country where the police are still used to harass and silence reporters, in their own homes no less, is on the doorstep of EU membership reads like something of a perverse joke. And yet one cannot entirely be surprised. After all, the EU happily absorbed still-divided Cyprus a decade ago, with the promise of European integration preceding Cypriot reform. Given a lack of concrete commitments, that thaw, unsurprisingly, never truly materialized. In Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), the EU continues to display an entrenched unwillingness to enforce the decision of the European Court of Human Rights or any semblance of basic European norms of human and democratic rights, a policy that has left the country teetering on failed sate status. Meanwhile, a new law set to further cement ethnic partition and thus war-time expulsion(s) and killings threatens to disenfranchise a further 70,000 BiH citizens. This, of course, primarily at the behest of the Dodik regime in BiH, itself engaged in a long-standing campaign of intimidation against activists and journalists, of whom Belgrade remains the primary benefactor. The idea that EU membership can substitute for substantive institutional and policy reforms ought to have been put to rest years ago and yet precisely this bankrupt idea persists. A Europe that does not stand for genuine democratic reforms, human rights, inclusion and accountability only persists in continuing the failures of policy makers of generations prior. However, this “no policy” regime as I have called it elsewhere appears to be precisely the approach preferred by Brussels. The results we can expect then will likewise be sadly familiar. Jasmin Mujanović | @JasminMuj

EVENT: Beyond the State: Turkey’s Political Crisis and Challenges to Democracy (VIDEO)

On Friday, January 17, 2014, the Emerging Democracies Institute organized a panel discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC titled “Beyond the State: Turkey’s Political Crisis and Challenges to Democracy.” The panelists were: Bayram Balci, Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Ulas Doga Eralp, Lecturer, International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, American University’s School of International Service Joshua D. Hendrick, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Global Studies, Loyola University Maryland; author of the book: Gülen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World Richard Kraemer, Senior Program Officer, National Endowment for Democracy The discussion was moderated by Reuf Bajrovic, the president of EDI. You can watch the video of the entire event here:

UPCOMING EVENT: General Election 2014 and the Protests in Bosnia: Is Change Possible?

Please join the U.S. Institute of Peace and Emerging Democracies Institute in one of the earliest opportunities for a public discussion with experts examining whether the ongoing protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina cause concern for the upcoming elections.

Two days after violent clashes with police, more protesters gather in front of the federal parliament building in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Feb. 10, 2014. Photo Credit: The New York Times/Ziyah Gafic

Two days after violent clashes with police, more protesters gather in front of the federal parliament building in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Feb. 10, 2014. Photo Credit: The New York Times/Ziyah Gafic

Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the deepest political crisis since the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the war in 1995. Years of political deadlock, dire economic conditions including an unemployment rate hovering above 44 percent, and growing impatience by citizens with their political leaders, fueled violent protests across the country and led a number of government officials to resign. The constitutional structure designed in Dayton succeeded in ending the war but its critics argue that it has prevented the country from developing beyond wartime divisions. Noted experts on the region will examine whether the recent wave of protests will impact the election and whether meaningful change within present constitutional structures is possible. This event will feature the following speakers:

Darko Brkan, Discussant President, Zasto ne

Renata Stuebner, Moderator Senior Program Specialist, U.S. Institute of Peace

UPCOMING EVENT: Tunisia’s Transition: Successes, Obstacles, and the Role of the International Community

This event is cosponsored by the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and the Emerging Democracies Institute (EDI).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Tunisia has recently completed the historic milestone of approving a new constitution, representing a remarkable achievement of consensus-building in a difficult climate of political polarization. This important step has also been accompanied by an unprecedented peaceful transfer of power from the Ennahda-led government to a caretaker government. Despite this momentous progress, however, enormous challenges remain – both on the economic and political sides. At this critical juncture in Tunisia’s transition, what obstacles lie ahead in implementing and solidifying democratic rule? What role can the United States play in aiding Tunisia economically and politically? And what opportunities exist for the international community to cooperate with Tunisia to help it serve as a model for the rest of the Arab world? Join us as panelists from the United States and Tunisia discuss the prospects for Tunisia’s transition to democracy and international cooperation.

William Roebuck Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State

His Excellency M’hamed Ezzine Chelaifa Ambassador of the Tunisian Republic to the United States

Emna Jeblaoui Former Advisor to the President of the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly for Civil Society and Democratic Dialogue

Stephen McInerney Executive Director, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)

Moderator: Reuf Bajrovic President, Emerging Democracies Institute (EDI)

Click here to RSVP for the event.

We’ll also be live-tweeting from the event (@POMEDWire and @EmergingDems), order canadian pharmacy so follow the conversation online using #TunisTransition. Please contact Alex Russell at [email protected] with any questions.

UPCOMING EVENT: Local Elections in Turkey and the Future Direction of Turkish Democracy

The Emerging Democracies Institute

cordially invites you to a panel discussion:

Local Elections in Turkey and the Future Direction of Turkish Democracy

Eventbrite - Local Elections in Turkey and the Future Direction of Turkish Democracy

featuring

Dr. Fevzi Bilgin

Executive Director, Rethink Institute

Cenk Sidar

CEO, Sidar Global Advisors (SGA)

Prof. Soner Cagaptay

Director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute

Dr. Nora Fisher Onar

Centre for International Studies of the University of Oxford, Bahcesehir University

moderated by

Dr. Ulas Doga Eralp

School of International Service, American University

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, Choate Room

1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington DC 20036 The local elections in Turkey have never been this critical for the future political trajectory of the country. Amidst the growing allegations of corruption, leaked tapes, and increasingly vocal civic discontent the Erdogan Government is going through a tough time in realigning its priorities in the domestic and international arena. Both the European Union and the US Administration are keeping a close eye on Turkey as the country enters a year-long election season. Should the international community expect significant changes in Turkey’s power structures? How did the corruption allegations impact the elections? Did Gezi Park protests make a difference? How will the Gulen Movement respond to the election results? The panel will discuss the impact of the election on the canadian pharmacy checker future of Turkey’s democracy.

Dr. Fevzi Bilgin is the Executive Director of the Rethink Institute in Washington,DC. His areas of expertise are constitutional politics, religion and politics, and political liberalism, Turkish politics, Middle Eastern politics, and US-Turkey relations. He received BA from Ankara University and PhD in political science from University of Pittsburgh. His publications include recent books, Understanding Turkey’s Kurdish Question (with A. Sarihan), Political Liberalism in Muslim Societies.

Cenk Sidar is the founder and CEO of Sidar Global Advisors (SGA), a Washington, DC-based global macro research and strategic advisory firm that has been assisting top financial institutions, governments and multinational corporations investing in emerging/frontier markets since 2009. Sidar successfully developed the firm`s client base, building a broad range of experience assisting Fortune 100 companies, hedge funds, and private equities in their overseas operations and investments. He is a frequent contributor to various outlets including Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, and Hurriyet Daily News and has made television appearances on CNBC, Bloomberg HT, Turkish Radio Television, and Voice of America. He is a member of Republican People’s Party (CHP) and advises the party’s leadership on foreign policy and economic issues. Sidar holds an MA degree in international economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, a postgraduate degree in European studies from SAIS’s Bologna Center in Italy, and a BA degree in business administration and international relations from the Istanbul Bilgi University. His academic awards include the Bank of Austria Scholarship, the Jean Monnet Scholarship, and the Johns Hopkins Scholarship. In 2012, Sidar has been selected as one of the top 99 foreign policy leaders under 33 in the world by the Diplomatic Courier and the Young Foreign Policy Professionals. He is a member of the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Advisory Council, Atlantic Council, Turkish Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV), Atlantik-Brucke e. V., the European Young Leaders Program, the Jean Monnet Program, the Project Interchange Alumni, and the American Academy of Achievement.

Prof. Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. He has written extensively on U.S.-Turkish relations, Turkish domestic politics, and Turkish nationalism, publishing in scholarly journals and major international print media, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, Jane’s Defense Weekly, Newsweek Türkiye, and Habertürk. He is a regular columnist for Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s oldest and most influential English-language paper, and a contributor to CNN’s Global Public Square blog. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, NPR, Voice of America, al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN-Turk, and al-Hurra. A historian by training, Dr. Cagaptay wrote his doctoral dissertation at Yale University (2003) on Turkish nationalism. Dr. Cagaptay has taught courses at Yale, Princeton University, Georgetown University, and Smith College on the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. His spring 2003 course on modern Turkish history was the first offered by Yale in three decades. From 2006-2007, he was Ertegun Professor at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies.Dr. Cagaptay is the recipient of numerous honors, grants, and chairs, among them the Smith-Richardson, Mellon, Rice, and Leylan fellowships, as well as the Ertegun chair at Princeton. He has also served on contract as chair of the Turkey Advanced Area Studies Program at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. In 2012 he was named an American Turkish Society Young Society Leader.

Dr. Nora Fisher Onar is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul, and Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies of the University of Oxford. Her work on Turkish politics and foreign policy at the interstices of the Middle East and Europe speaks to the theory and practice of international affairs in an increasingly multi-polar world. A recipient of the Sakip Sabanci International Research Award and the Ronald D. Asmus Fellowship of the German Marshall Fund, she completed her doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate work in IR at Oxford, Johns Hopkins (SAIS), and Georgetown (SFS) respectively. She has published extensively in academic and policy fora including, among others: Cooperation and Conflict, Theory and Society, Foreign Affairs, Middle Eastern Studies, and Turkish Studies.

Dr. Ulas Doga Eralp is a professorial lecturer at the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program of American University’s School of International Service. He holds a PhD from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. His work focuses on international conflict, human rights, development and democratization. Dr. Eralp has also been consulting international organizations such as the World Bank and the UNOPS. He is the author of a number of articles and book chapters on the Western Balkans, Middle East, Cyprus, European Union and Turkey. His second book, “Turkey as a Mediator: Stories of Success and Failure”, will be published by the Lexington Books in the fall of 2014.

On Transitions: The Year Past and the Year Ahead

As we look forward to 2014 and so anticipate another year of major political changes, it’s important to reflect on the tenuous nature of change itself. That is to say, transitions from authoritarianism are rarely smooth and revolutions often “eat their young.”

This, in fact, is exactly what is happening in Egypt, the Christian

Science Monitor reports. As the young activists who led the popular revolt against Mubarak are being summarily imprisoned and assassinated by the military in the name of “law and order,” members of the deposed Muslim Brotherhood are increasingly transforming themselves into a guerrilla army. As Tom Perry writes, “[the] most populous Arab country enters the new year with deeper divisions in its society and more bloodshed on its streets than at any point in its modern history. The prospects for democracy appear bleaker with every bomb blast and arrest.” The streets are once again being transformed from spaces of potential, to spaces of repression.

Meanwhile, in the Balkans, the specter of the Yugoslav dissolution still haunts. In a voluminous series of reports, Balkan Insight reports on the massive sums expended by the post-Yugoslav states in defending war crimes suspects at the ICTY. Despite a professed turn towards embracing global human rights norms and reconciliation, governments across the region remain invested in “rehabilitating” the individuals and seemingly the broader campaigns that so violently undid the former Federation.

Little wonder either, considering that the most powerful man in Serbia, at least, is a former ultra-nationalist, who now pursues an “anti-corruption crusade” with the same vigor with which he once pursued the dream (nightmare) of “Greater Serbia.” Only that in becoming a darling of the European establishment, Aleksandar Vucic never did quite repudiate his past self.

Across the region, as The Economist writes, the coming year promises to be one of contestation though with elections expected in both Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the case of BiH, however, this expectation remains tenuous: with no solution(s) in sight to the “Sejdic-Finci” impasse, the EU promise of not recognizing the elections looms large. Meanwhile, as the fallout of Croatia’s same-sex marriage referendum continues, as do tensions with the Serb community, the promise of genuine democratic consolidation though EU membership appears to be an axiom in doubt.

In short, the directions of both the greater Middle East and the Balkans in 2014 depend greatly on the emergence of new political actors and their ability to resist the repression of the old guards. Unless this occurs, the old regimes and their tendencies will be a long time dissolving yet.

— Jasmin Mujanović | @JasminMuj

POLICY BRIEF: Local Challenges, Global Implications: Bosnia- Herzegovina’s Cultural Institutions in Crisis

As Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) enters another election year, the ongoing political crisis that has paralysed the country since the last general elections, in 2010, has only deepened. The inability of the elected authorities to agree to constitutional reforms has already cost the country 45 million euros in EU pre-ascension funds alone. Yet for years already, this political establishment has contributed to a progressive deterioration in the living standards of ordinary citizens. Public infrastructure has all but collapsed, the economy is in a virtual standstill and funds for civic projects of any sort are likewise almost non-existent. This crisis has been acutely felt among BiH’s cultural institutions, in particular: its museums, galleries and libraries. However, in response to the closing of the National Museum of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Zemaljski Muzej Bosne i Hercegovine) in the winter of 2011/12, a global coalition of scholars, activists and artists began organising a series of protests to bring international awareness back to BiH. Calling themselves “Culture Shutdown,” this collective soon garnered worldwide media attention for their creative and provoking actions. In conjunction with Culture Shutdown members Dr. Susan C. Pearce, Assistant Professor of Sociology at East Carolina University and Jasmin Mujanović, PhD candidate in Political Science at York University, EDI is pleased to present this timely analysis of BiH’s ongoing cultural malaise: “Local Challenges, Global Implications: Bosnia- Herzegovina’s Cultural Institutions in Crisis.” It is our sincere hope that this brief will prove informative for all those who understand or are eager to understand the critical global implications of this local crisis. Download the brief here.

A Primer on the “Bosnian Spring”

Above: “We are hungry in three languages.” The speed at which events are unfolding in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) virtually defies belief. Nevertheless, a tremendous collection of analysis and insight has already begun to emerge from both the foreign press and, still more importantly, local activists, journalists and academics. My own op-ed on Al Jazeera’s website, It’s Spring at last in Bosnia-Herzegovina, hones in on the question of democratic participation and the reactionary logic(s) of the existing constitutional order in BiH. I argue that:

The fury on display in the streets of BiH over the past few days was an ugly sight. But what is still more hideous has been the past twenty years of corruption, thieving and manipulating on the part of the entirety of the BiH political establishment. Already, they have attempted to deny any personal responsibility and to offer duplicitous temporary solutions. It is much too late for them. For the people of BiH, however, this is merely the beginning. Tumultuous days are no doubt ahead, but as long as the citizens of this little land do not forget the fear they inspired in their rulers tonight and continue to press their demands, together, they may yet usher in a truly democratic Spring.

Eric Gordy’s text also intervenes pointedly into the debate about exactly how to characterize these events in BiH. Importantly, Gordy notes that the driving motivation behind these uprisings is socio-economic rather than ethno-national and that there is genuine energy for change contained within these facts:

This is not, at least in its gentler daytime incarnations, one of those protest movements that shouts a lot and has no orientation. Well, the part of it that has been setting stuff on fire may be, but there are meaningful parts of it that have been engaged in a different kind of articulation. The six demands from the Tuzla workers, include investigation of illegitimately obtained public property, elimination of special privileges for the political class, and formation of a new government that excludes participants in the existing one (which has since resigned). The eleven original demands of the Tuzla protesters, published by the group “Jer mi se tiče,” include social welfare and the right to work. There are a few other documents with lists of demands out there, and there will a be few more over the next few days, but they have some themes in common. They want an end to the self-serving of the political class, they want to be able to work, and they want social rights improved across the board. None of them are basing any claims on nationality, religion, or any of the other divisions that characterise BH in the stubborn international stereotype of it.

Florian Bieber also provides for a review of what has been published in English language blogs and the press, citing both Gordy and myself among others, and argues that as it pertains to the international community, re-engagement in BiH will require taking seriously the democratic demands that have already begun to be coherently articulated:

Finally, international actors will need to tread carefully as well. Sometimes, silence is golden and if any message should be clear, the strategy of talking to six party leaders and thinking that this is the way to change Bosnia for the better has failed and should be over. Before designing a new grand strategy for Bosnia, it would be better to ensure that citizens get a better say in how the country is governed, a new strategy–certainly needed–should come then.

On this point, I must also sildenafil citrate 100mg acknowledge the tremendous work being done by my colleagues at the BH Protest Files project. The point here has been to translate as quickly as we’ve been able to, the actual declarations of the citizens, workers and students of BiH, as well as the analysis being produced by local academics and observers. Among these texts Larisa Kurtović’s powerful call for democratic, citizen-led transformation must be singled out:

What has to change is the basic relationship between the powerholders and the citizens who pay their absurdly high salaries for very little meaningful work, the citizens who are the source of the tax revenues from which the state lives, and who with their work created the factories and firms the sale of which the governing parasites have used to build their private villas and buy their luxury Audis. Those are the same parasites who have brought citizens to the end of their patience, and sometimes to the edge of existence. The children of this arrogant, self-satisfied oligarchy do indeed have “much to lose” – but they do not have more right to life, to a future, to security, to ambitions and dreams than have the children of workers in Tuzla or than the young “delinquents” who set fire to the building of the cantonal government and other objects on Friday, the 7th of February. In the name of those sacrificed children – because of whom the citizens of this country protested sildenafil 25 mg price in 2008, 2013 and 2014, children who this octopus-state has betrayed by destroying the firms where their parents worked, the entire system buy sildenafil online ireland of social protection, health care, public education, and even the pathetic means for issuing identity documents – citizens must continue to come out to the streets and by considered methods demand a different, better future than the one that is cynically smiling at them from the abyss into which they have been staring for the past 22 years. The floodgates are open – forward!

Tremendous change is coming to BiH, that much is clear. We are seeing the emergence of an incredible network of citizens, scholars and policy makers who have activated themselves and are creating, as we speak, the opportunities for a genuine democratic transformation in this country. BiH’s international interlocutors can no longer claim that they have no local partners but the established political oligarchs. Concrete, considered, effective policy demands are being issued by the people of BiH and if the international community is interested in actual reforms in this country, it would behoove them to take these appeals most seriously, indeed. Jasmin Mujanović | @JasminMuj

Crimea & Yugoslavia? An Interview with Dr. Josip Glaurdic

Josip Glaurdic is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies and a fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge. His 2011 text The Hour of Europe: Western Powers and the Breakup of Yugoslavia is a groundbreaking analysis of the diplomatic policy debates that took place in Western capitals from 1987 to 1992 and shaped the international community’s response to the dissolution of the country. No other text, before or after, has so thoroughly chronicled the decisions made and not, in Washington, London, Bonn, and Belgrade in what was the most significant geopolitical crisis of the time. As comparisons to Yugoslavia are being actively drawn in the ongoing Russian occupation of Crimea, I decided to talk with Dr. Glaurdic to get a sense of whether the similarities between the two scenarios are more than rhetorical and what, if anything, the international community should recall from the Yugoslav experience as it searches for a coherent policy response. Parallels are being eagerly drawn between the situations in Crimea and what occurred in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) during the 1990s by a number of commentators. Their views don’t entirely line up with one another, at least if we’re to consider this piece from Moscow-funded Russia Today as part of the debate. Is there actually a comparison to be made between Belgrade’s policy towards the western Yugoslav republics in the 1990s and Moscow’s occupation of Crimea? I actually don’t have a problem – as a historian or social scientist – with the first two articles you are referring to. There is no point engaging with the third article from RT, because it is simply a waste of time to give attention to something so fundamentally out of touch with reality. Ian Traynor has identified rather well the modus operandi of the Putin regime, which seems so similar to what the Milosevic regime was doing in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s. The similarities are indeed uncanny. It is almost as if there was some old Soviet manual for preparing such operations that both Putin and Milosevic were reading from. Ivan Krastev’s view of what Kremlin ideally wants – to turn Ukraine into a “Greater Bosnia”, i.e. a divided country where it would have strong influence over one half of it – fits into Traynor’s identification of the three possible scenarios and I think they’re both spot on. That is exactly what Putin wants – barring a complete victory and a change of regime in Kiev, which is not likely to happen. The only thing that I would add – when it comes to comparisons of the Putin and Milosevic regimes – is that Putin seems to be enjoying his status vis-à-vis the West, just as Milosevic did. From Milosevic’s personal communications we know that he loved – on a deeply personal level – giving the West so much trouble. It fed his ego. And it seems Putin relishes this opportunity as well. Even though – it must be said – he made a series of strategic mistakes during this whole ordeal. What I find more troubling, and what neither one of the articles you referred to recognize, is that the responses of the Western powers have remarkable similarities to their responses to Yugoslavia in the early 1990s – beyond merely the shuttle diplomacy and the infamous “EU troikas”. We all understand the limitations of Europe’s decision making, foreign policy, and military capabilities – but the response thus far has been really weak indeed. Western leaders continue to claim that Ukraine is sovereign on all of its territory, but everything they have done (and not done) suggests they have accepted that Crimea is de facto lost. They seem to be hoping for a Georgian scenario as the best possible option here. Considering the economic tools at their disposal – that is simply short-sighted. Not only because it is signalling to a particularly vicious regime that it can act with impunity. But also because it is signalling to the newly integrated Eastern half of Europe that its fears and policy preferences are just not valid enough to push the EU in a particular direction. And that is not only short-sighted. It is destructive for the European project on the most fundamental level. It might have been possible to quarantine the Yugoslav crisis, but it won’t be possible to quarantine Ukraine. Media and propaganda are already a huge part of this struggle between Ukraine and Russia. This short op-ed by Victor Ostapchuk struck me as relevant given the attempt(s) by pro-Russian analysts to justify Moscow’s actions on the basis of some supposed historical entitlement to the territory. Historical revisionism played a large role in the Yugoslav wars also. On the other hand, many people in West are not very familiar with the history of (the former) Yugoslavia or Ukraine, so these simple narratives seem plausible to them. How should one respond to such revisionist accounts? There can be only one way to respond – write more and write based on solid historical scholarship. I am all for keeping an open mind, for not trusting any sort of “official” lines when it comes to history – but there have to be limitations to our cynicism. Not all historical narratives are created equal. I understand that it is very difficult for the publics in Western democracies to properly judge the comparative value of these different narratives – especially after we have been so royally misled by our governments on enormously important matters of war and peace in this century – but that is all the more reason why sensible and unbiased scholars must not stand on the sidelines when crises like this happen. That said, I must say that I cringe every time someone tries to justify a particularly unpalatable policy move – such as this imperialist invasion of Crimea – with an argument of some sort of “historical right”. It is no wonder that Henry Kissinger – the reigning prince of Realpolitik – has done exactly that in his recent editorial in the Washington Post. I can almost hear him doing the same thing back in the early 1990s. Just that then Serbs had a historical right to Bosnia, or to Krajina, or to Kosovo. Putin could just as well have said: “We feel a deep historical and spiritual connection with Ukraine, so we want to build relations based on mutual trust, friendship and common interests. Since Ukraine also feels a deep connection with its neighbours to the West, let it be a bridge between us and the rest of the continent.” That is also an argument built on “history”. How come this “historically” based policy did not even show up on the radar in the Kremlin? The sad thing is that this sort of thinking is based on a poor understanding of what proper Realpolitik is – or rather, what any self-respecting Realpolitik strategist would do, faced with a problem such as this one, or the one in the early 1990s in former Yugoslavia. Here is a perfect quote, ironically from Henry Kissinger’s doctoral dissertation, explaining it: “Whenever peace – conceived as the avoidance of war – has been the primary objective of a power or a group of powers, the international system has been at the mercy of the most ruthless member of the international community.” The New York Times, in its recent editorial urged caution in Ukraine and stated that “a bully welcomes a slugfest”. I think that’s wrong. I think bullies prefer when others just give in. The situation in Ukraine is changing rapidly. What should Washington and Brussels be doing, in your opinion? I think it’s time for a serious reconsideration of Europe’s relations with Russia, where everything is going to be on the table. That includes our relations with Moscow when it comes to energy. Putin understands that his upper hand on this issue has a time stamp on it. Russia’s energy reserves are not infinite. It is time to bring that expiry date forward as much as possible and to make it clear to Moscow that this is indeed going to be the case. Moreover, Europe’s economic relations with Russia are not only energy-based. Serious sanctions could be implemented. Travel limitations could be instituted – not just for the organizers of the invasion, but for the members of the whole regime. Bank assets could be frozen. Ultimately, however, all of this is going to cost money and it will disproportionately hit Europe, which means the US will have to chip in to jointly carry the burden. Putin and his regime are counting on the West barking, but not biting. It is time to bite where it really hurts – and that is his wallet, which is full of money he syphoned out of Russia for himself and his cronies. Does the Yugoslav experience tell us anything about what we might expect in the months (or years) to come in Crimea? What is important for the international community to avoid in moving forward with its diplomatic efforts? I think we are likely to see the mix of the three scenarios Ian Traynor identified in The Guardian. The moves toward Crimean secession will continue. The situation in Eastern Ukraine will be critical, however, as both Moscow and Kiev will be fighting for the “hearts and minds” of the Ukrainians in those regions. Low-level conflicts and protests there are likely, with Moscow propagandists working full speed to turn the locals toward joining Crimea. One wrong move there by either side, one incident, could turn that area into the next setting of a major confrontation. It will be crucial for the Ukrainian government and military not to answer any provocations with violence. Just as it will be crucial for the West – EU and the US – to keep an active presence in the region and at the negotiating table. They will have to make a much more forceful stand against Moscow as I explained earlier. And they will have to hold firm, rather than releasing the pressure at the first sight of conciliation from the Kremlin. Slobodan Milosevic was extraordinarily skilful in fooling the Western diplomats and policy makers with his promises of cooperation and with his wrapping of aggressive policies into “rational” garbs. Putin must not be allowed to do the same. Also, the Western powers will have to financially prop up the new Ukrainian government and offer Ukraine further association. Moreover, I think they will have to breathe new life into the enlargement process in other areas where Russia’s presence has been very troubling – i.e. in Southeast Europe. The presence of a Soviet threat was a crucial factor in the unification of (Western) Europe during the Cold War. Right now it seems that the threat from Putin’s Russia is acting more as a factor of division within the EU. It will be up to the leaders throughout Europe – and in Washington – to make sure that is not the case. This past economic crisis has shown, however, that Europe is in desperate need of real leaders who are capable of recognizing the threats and opportunities this historical moment is presenting, and of moving the continent forward. So, I am not terribly optimistic that we will actually see the scenario I outlined put into place. Interview by Jasmin Mujanović | @JasminMuj