Balkanizing the Balkans

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Vol: 15, Issue: 2

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Atwood, Paul L.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization; NATO expansion; Kosovo war; ethnic cleansing; Serbia; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; Russia; International Law; Peace and Conflict Studies; Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies
article description
This article seeks to place the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Kosovo war in the context of the larger issue of NATO expansion. It argues that the question of ethnic cleansing in that province of Serbia was largely exploited by the United States, the creator and most powerful member of the alliance, to break up the former Yugoslavia, to divide it, and to make it more manageable for Western interests. In the guise of stopping Serb repression, NATO seized an opportunity to build more bases throughout southeastern Europe, including those being constructed in NATO's newest member states, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. These actions are deeply threatening to Russia, positioned as it is in either the former USSR or in former Warsaw Pact nations. The aim of NATO expansion is seen as an effort to weaken Russia, especially in the vital oil-rich Caspian Sea basin, which is being contested for a pipeline to flow either to the west through Turkey and Azerbaijan or through Russia's Caucasus region. NATO expansion also worries China, which fears its largely Moslem, far western provinces will seek some measure of unity with the Moslem republics of the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. NATO expansion, far from bringing stability to Europe, is inherently destabilizing.