Dr. Milan Jazbec has produced an outstanding work that should stand as a pillar of scholarly and analytical study, adding substantially to our understanding of recent developments in Southeastern Europe. It should also stand as a beacon for our future policies there.
The perspective of the author is that of a government official and diplomat from what Jazbec himself calls “a small country” in the region.
But the scope of the book is breathtaking, since it encompasses some of the most sweeping changes emanating from Eastern Europe in the 1990s and analyses international activity in this regard since that time.
More to the point, Jazbec focuses on how “a small country” – his country, Slovenia – has made a considerable contribution to the positive forward movement of these developments. As a participant himself in the process, Jazbec provides up-close firsthand accounts of how the Slovenians confronted these changes and what they did to assist the international community to deal with them.
Milan Jazbec refers to a new “security matrix” in Europe, and, against this background, he traces the emergence of 22 new states from the dissolutions of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. He highlights the past activities and the future capabilities of multilateral associations, such as OSCE, NATO, the EU and others. And, an entire section of the book on “The Western Balkans” gives detailed and thoroughly researched analysis of each of the Southeast European states.
Through all of this, one gains the impression that we are indeed standing at a crossroad concerning Southeastern Europe. With the appropriate engagement of states in the region plus international associations plus significant outside powers, like the United States, we should be able to guide this region into full integration with the Euro-Atlantic community.
In fact, the continued engagement of the United States in Southeastern Europe would seem to be a key, without which the very phrase “Euro-Atlantic” would lose all meaning. The traditional relationship between the U.S. and Europe was indeed a formidable basis for taking decisive action in this region when it was needed. It will presumably continue to be the foundation of our policymaking in the future.
But we will only succeed in this if we resist the temptation of complacency and understand that negative forces can be very powerful. We will also only succeed if we move forward with full respect for the talents and capabilities of the peoples of this region themselves. The international community can assist, but it cannot impose solutions.
Though Dayton gave us an armistice in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, it never provided a basis for a fully functioning state. And, though NATO actions in several places in the region provided a security umbrella allowing democracy to emerge, that does not take the place of regional homeland defense. The future of Southeastern Europe lies in the hands of the states and the peoples of Southeastern Europe.
This monumental work by Milan Jazbec provides a vision from the perspective of a successful state in the region, a vision that all of us can gainfully study and implement.
President, Jackovich International
U.S. Ambassador (ret.)
The Western Balkans: An EU Challenge
The book “Security and Diplomacy in the Western Balkans” is the result of many years of work and research by our Institute’s very respected and distinguished member, dr. Milan Jazbec. We are particularly delighted that the suggestion and initiative for publishing this book came from several world famous European and American professors, experts who deal with regional and global security.
The dilemma that faces us is whether to Europeanize the Western Balkans, or let it them become a ghetto. There are less than few choices. If we allow it to become a ghetto, we will continue to threaten the EU and the Balkans, but if we Europeanize and include the Western Balkans in the EU, both the Western Balkans and the EU would gain from this.
There cannot be any second thoughts about the region discussed. The Western Balkans are Europe, and will soon become integral part of the EU, thanks to the thought-out and visionary actions of brave men who have created the foundations of the modern EU and thereby created the opportunity that Europe will never again be the Europe of war, but a Europe of peace, co-operation, and coexistence. Some states in the Western Balkans have become full members of NATO, while others joined the Partnership for Peace and are steadily moving closer to full membership. If we desire peace and stability in the Western Balkans, the EU and NATO are the solution. There is, for now, no other way.
In this book, we are witness to thorough and very interesting reading that, aside from aspects of security and reform of armed forces in the Western Balkans, offers the reader the evolution of the security process in Europe and Slovenia, the role and importance of several international organizations, such as the OSCE and NATO, and finally the role, importance, and co-operation of the UN, NATO, the EU, and the OSCE for ensuring world peace and stability.
The Berlin Wall is gone, and so are internal borders in the EU. The EU is in a process of enlargement. That is why we must all strive towards defeating the physical borders and the borders inour heads that seperate the Western Balkans from the EU. Let us lend a hand to the Western Balkans, so that it may become an integral and indivisible part of the EU and NATO. This will be a victory for everyone.
We hope that dr. Jazbec’s book will contribute to the understanding of the Western Balkans, and thereby do its part in the process of bringing this region closer to the EU.
Zijad Bećirović, M.A.
Director of the International Institute IFIMES
The Western Balkans: A View From Overseas 7
The Western Balkans: An EU Challenge 9
From 1989 to 2006 and Beyond
Part One - SECURITY
The Small New States in Europe After the Fall of the Berlin Wall and Their Diplomacies
The Evolution of the Security Processes in Europe and Slovenia
Globalizing European Security Processes
The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Change of the Paradigm
Part Two - THE WESTERN BALKANS
Defence Reforms in the Western Balkans: The Way Ahead
Bosnia and Herzegovina – A Way Ahead From a Slovenian Perspective
Part Three - INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Slovenia and NATO – What are the Lessons Learned?
Slovenia and NATO - One Year After
The OSCE and Interest Management in the Western Balkans
Organizational Challenges and Experiences of the Slovene OSCE Chairmanship
The Development of the ESDP: The Role and Perspectives of Slovenia
The Role, Organizational Aspects and Activities of the UN, NATO, the EU and the OSCE in Peace Support Organizations
Cooperation of the OSCE With International Organizations
The Western Balkans - A Structural Overview
About the Author and His Work