THE BALKANIZATION OF GREECE: THE UNFOLDING PROCESS

Nikolaos A. Stavrou
(Professor of International Affairs (Emeritus) at Howard University)

Copyright: Nikolaos A. Stavrou on line

A dangerous illusion shapes Greek foreign policy in the era of post-Balkanization of the Balkans. It is the illusion of unsustainable self-importance displayed by the chief Greek foreign policy maker when in fact her role resembles that of a classic tap dancer, performing a choreographed task for the amusement of a pre-selected audience. Like classic Harlem tap dancers, the rhythm and intensity of performance are determined by the duration and intensity of the applause. Thus at the conclusion of the most recent appearance in Washington the Greek foreign minister seemed ready to trade the dignity of the Serbian nation and the honor of Greece in pursuit of resolution of what has been known as a "name issue". The latest deal obligates Greece to "help sell the Kosovo" bitter pill to a demoralized Serbian nation in return for an acceptable substitute for FYROM. Such deals set in motion dangerous precedents and ominous implications for Greek interests and national security. A successful linkage of the Kosovo-FYROM issues, achieved by the chief handler of Greek officials in Washington, Nicholas Burns, leaves Greece vulnerable to future Balkanization; make no mistake about it.

For keen observers of Balkan affairs, this outcome is no surprise. For months the Greek foreign Minister was preaching "realism" to her counterpart in Belgrade with such persistence that it produced Vladimir Putin's linkage of Kosovo independence with the fate of Cyprus. One cannot help but be appalled by the thoughtless acceptance, and without counter arguments, the creation of a new state in the Balkans on the basis of geography, in gross violation of international law and a cavalier dismissal of the United Nations. It probably escaped the attention of the deep thinkers in the Greek foreign ministry but the fact remains that there is no such a thing as a "Kosovar" nationality pursuing self-determination, only Kosovo Albanians who are now setting the stage for an age old dream that was thwarted by the Balkan wars. The cradle of Serbian civilization, Kosovo, saw its demography altered by the settlement of 300.000 Albanians during the era of Nazi-Albanian collaboration which, combined with indigent Albanians, served as the rationale for Albanian claims against both Greece and Serbia. Just out of curiosity, how many Albanians have settled in Greece these days? This might sound as irrelevant history to cloned Greek enthusiast of diversity but it is worth repeating some glimpses of history from the not so distant past.

On May 3, 1941, six days after Nazi forces entered Athens, the government of Albanian Prime Minister Shefqet Verlaci dispatched a six member delegation to Rome to present to Duce "Albania's minimal demands toward Greece and Yugoslavia". Besides Kosovo, Verlaci asked for "the incorporation into Albania the cities of Ioannina and Preveza, together with their regions as well as certain other Greek regions, primarily in western Macedonia."Along with the "minimal" Albanian demands a song made its debut in Albania folklore with revealing lyrics which is still popular today, "pa Kosova e Chameria, nuke eshte Sqipeperia" (without Kosova and Chamuria, there is no Albania)

Does anybody in his/her right mind believe that the creation of a third blonde Islamic state in the Balkans would leave Greece in peace?  No one objects to the right of an ethnic group to seek union with their brethren across the border. But creation of states on the basis of manufactured "facts on the ground" sets the stage for the balkanization of Greece. Coupled with externally- incited anarchic tendencies within Greece and the propensity of the Greek government to behave as an aggregate of deal makers rather than the custodians of national interests, the scene is now set for new national tribulations and no fall back positions.

Regrettably, Greece has traded her options, one by one, to the masterminds of a new "Near East" strategic concept which is modeled after the pre-1912 Balkan realities and was articulated as early as June 1992 by imperial planners. May God save Greece from power hungry Greek politicians.