Perilous: European Crisis Looms in the Balkans | World Affairs Journal

“The situation is increasingly perilous, and there is a growing risk of radicalization that threatens both the security of the fragile Balkan states and the stability of Europe as a whole.”

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The emerging Balkan crisis is partly the result of the failure of the countries of the region to achieve meaningful democratic progress since the fall of communism. Political institutions remain weak, corruption is endemic, and ethnic nationalism is pervasive. Key media outlets have been captured by the state, and politics are dominated by populist strongmen who polarize their societies. Political tensions have spiked in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, which were the main centers of conflict in the earlier Balkan wars, and they are also escalating in Macedonia, Serbia, and even Croatia. These problems have given Russia an opportunity to expand its political influence across the Balkans by exploiting dysfunctional institutions, national divisions, and historic grievances. The situation is increasingly perilous, and there is a growing risk of radicalization that threatens both the security of the fragile Balkan states and the stability of Europe as a whole.

Perilous: European Crisis Looms in the Balkans | World Affairs Journal