US Views the Balkans As Battlefield to Fight Russia

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Written by Peter Korzun; Originally appeared at strategic-culture.org

Otto von Bismarck, the legendary first Chancellor of Germany, scoffed at the notion of intervening in the Balkans. He believed that the region was “not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.” The US appears to hold quite a different view on the matter. With a resurgent Russia on the international stage, it plans to ramp up the attempts aimed at establishing its dominance in the Balkan region.

US Views the Balkans As Battlefield to Fight Russia

Moscow is concerned over Washington’s attempts to increase its influence on the politics of the Balkan states and draw them into NATO. Andrey Kelin, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of European Cooperation, said that the US wants to “fully master the Western Balkans, and, after Montenegro, to draw other countries into its orbit too.” According to him, any wave of NATO expansion, especially at a time of poor relations between the bloc and Russia “is an additional factor complicating European security.”

The statement comes after the report entitled ‘Balkans Forward: A New US Strategy for the Region’, was published by the Washington-based Atlantic Council on Nov.28. It warns of increased Russia’s influence, blaming Moscow for “attempts by Russia to capitalize on the region’s lingering pathologies to undermine the European project” and other alleged wrongdoings. The authors claim that Russia is seeking “leverage” by making “as big a mess as possible” in the Balkans region, citing unconfirmed assertions and invented stories as evidence. For instance, the report states that Moscow has been “cultivating a client” in Milorad Dodik, the leader of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska. Russia’s “playing games” in Kosovo is another example. The list can go on. Not a single fact is adduced to support the stories.

The Russia bogie is used as a pretext to justify the calls for a permanent American military presence in the Balkans, a “historic rapprochement” between the US and Serbia, and for the US to regain its reputation as an “honest broker”. The authors believe that establishing a permanent US military presence in the region would “anchor the United States’ ability to influence developments“. Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, which is built on Serbian land without consulting with the government of Serbia, is believed to be ideal for this purpose.

The report does not shy away from advocating outright interference into internal affairs. It singles out Serbia, saying “Belgrade can and should be a close partner and ally in the region, but it can only become one if it begins to meaningfully distance itself from Russia.”

The Atlantic Council is a meeting place for heads of state, military leaders, and international leaders from both sides of the Atlantic. It has great influence on the US foreign policy decision-making process. Some proposals unveiled in the report align with prior calls by US policy hawks, such as Senator John McCain, who in April called for a substantially strengthened US commitment to the region.

Looks like his calls are heard and recommendations are followed. Hoyt Brian Yee, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, will soon take up the post of US Ambassador to Macedonian capital Skopje. “For a long time, the United States is present in the Western Balkans, and we are planning to stay there,” he said at the conference organized by the Atlantic Council in Washington the next day after the report was published.

James Jay Carafano, a Heritage Foundation Vice President, has come up with a plan of his own, offering guidelines to boost US diplomatic, economic and military efforts to drive Russia from the region and make it dominated by the United States. He believes that “The Balkans remain a soft spot in US transatlantic policy. We need to be more proactive there – and sooner rather than later.”

With Montenegro having joint NATO recently, Macedonia appears to be next. The Atlantic Council’s report offers to launch mediation efforts aimed at putting an end the long-standing row between Athens and Skopje over Macedonia name and, thus, unblock Greece’s ongoing objections to the latter’s membership in NATO. The center-left government, which came to power in late May, sees NATO membership as a top priority. The Macedonian people think otherwise. According to a recent poll by the International Republican Institute (IRI), Macedonian support for NATO membership is at its lowest level since 2008.

It all goes to show that the US views the Balkans not as a region with prospects of economic cooperation and partnership on equal terms but rather as a battlefield against Russia. What the United States does is enforcing an openly destructive choice between the West and Russia on the Balkan countries. Such a policy will lead to increased tensions and destabilization on the European continent as well as in the region. The last thing the region needs is US military presence to oppose Russia – the country with strong historic and cultural ties to the Balkan states.

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  • pet

    Potential Russian allies in the Balkans are only the orthodox peoples
    of Slavic origin. However, one way or another, all these people were betrayed by Russia in a
    moment of their historical need as Russia was working against them and arming
    their enemies along with US, UK, France, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc. during
    the breakup of Yugoslavia. The most numerous nation in the region are the
    historically pro-Russian Serbs who were badly beaten, ethnically cleansed and fragmented,
    all of it with Russian complicity. We just can’t pretend that nothing happened as it seems to be a
    trend in Serbia these days. As Russia proved to be unreliable and untrustworthy
    “friend” and “brother” to the Serbs it is very dubious that it would act any
    differently in the future. Besides, because of its recent policies in the region Russia
    today has no access to Serbia either by sea, air or land. It may be the right
    time for the Serbs to turn the page.

    • 1691

      bulsh%t ! we know who your master is. nice try but we are not buying it!

    • Lav

      Complete rubbish, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Arthur Smith

      Russian illusions about “slavic brothers” died along with the Empire they drawn into WWI. Panslavianism is dead and good riddance. They let down Byzanthium and still whine about catholics and “kebabs” ruining their fun instead of forming a united front and standing up for themself. With friends like this who needs enemies?

  • dutchnational

    What a nonsense report. The notion Kosovo is Serbian says enough.

    • GroundlessAir

      Ofc it’s Serbian, it is under occupation by NATO since 1999 after they butchered the Serbians there and forced them from their own country. Serbians only do nothing about it so far cause they plan to join the EU by 2022, this is one of the concessions they had to give to have a chance to join, amongst many others, they had to appoint a lesbian PM ffs.. But if Serbs won’t get membership of the EU by then, it can unravel fast and this fake “state” of Kosovo will return back under Serbia’s sovereignty.

      • John Smith

        Kosovo is Serbian as Krimea is Ukrainian.

        • GroundlessAir

          Ooooooh you little… damn nice, well played there. Prevented me from launching a countercomment.

    • Augsta “Augsta”

      For once I agree with you dutchnatiomal … It’s just pure nonsense… Although I like SF and it’s Website SF Should study History a lot more and really get an in-depth view of history. Just like you report about Israhell stole Palestine from the Palestinians which is a 1000% TRUE. Just like the little Palestinian boys and girls grow up listening to the stories their How Palestine was stolen from them. Me growing up as a little boy I heard the same stories about Palestine I heard the same story how Palestine was stole from them.i also herd How Kosova was stolen from the albanians Know one thing Albanians were the first peoples in the Balkans have been there for 2500 to 3000 years they were called the Illyrians the free one that’s who the Albanians are. Palestine will come back and be Palestinian real soon It’s only a matter of time before the zionists get theirs and I think their time is going to come real soon.

    • Bob

      Kosovo is not recognized by many states – furthermore it is an EU-KFOR protectorate that cannot sustain itself without latter.

  • Tommy Jensen

    Balkan states are generally dictatorships with discrimination against gays and women´s rights to their own body to abort all their children, so women can be free from men´s suppression during 1000 years.

    It is necessary to regime change these countries into democracies, and here NATO and US military bases in Balkan will serve as a natural tool to defend freedom.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fc0dc63c32f1b957fd2b7c583a6e783bcf3965251a9a91316a0262751056c023.jpg

  • chris chuba

    “US VIEWS THE BALKANS AS BATTLEFIELD TO FIGHT RUSSIA”

    The U.S. views every country near Russia as a battlefield to fight them, Finland, the Balkans, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, the Stans. They are probably trying to make inroads into Mongolia.

    In Russia’s favor, they just need to wait for us to implode like they did and for the same reasons, we are overextended. The most conservative estimates put our national debt at $30T in 10yrs. With interest rates as low as 3% that puts our annual debt service at $900B, at 5% $1.5T and that is before we pay for our Defense budget which is already over $700B ($1T if you count the hidden costs).

  • John Smith

    This is fake news Russian propaganda. No one cares much about the Balcans. There is nothing much going on there. No military activity. Not much of an economic activity. Even less political action.

    There is no Russia to fight there. There is no “west” to fight a Russia there.
    People of the remaining (non in NATO/EU) of the Balcans are simply desperate. Poverty, no perspective, corruption, Mafia and untouchable politicians/dictators. And the only possible path out of the misery the people see is EU and NATO.

    • Lav

      Another clueless zombie talking about the ‘BalCans’ and Russian propaganda… The Washington-based Atlantic Council is “Russian propaganda”? The Voice of America is “Russian propaganda”? If you don’t know anything about this subject, then stfu please.

      http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/reports/balkans-forward

      https://www.voanews.com/a/report-urges-permanent-us-military-presence-in-balkans/4141345.html

      • John Smith

        Just insulting lol.
        You have nothing to say.
        Nothing to add to the discussion.
        Just insults. :)

        By the way genius, in case you are not aware, I did not comment on VoA or other articles, I commented here, to this one. A no-name “southfront” pro-russian propaganda, west bashing site -the usual.

        • Lav

          “just insults”? are you BLIND? Or just braindead? You can’t see links or what?
          ‘You have nothing to say.’ actually that’s YOU.
          ‘Nothing to add to the discussion.’ that’s YOU again.

          Your lies can’t hide the fact you are CLUELESS. You was wrong. Proven facts: the Atlantic council has nothing to do with Russia. You think John McCain is “Russian propaganda” too? lol

          https://www.politico.eu/article/us-europe-need-to-step-up-in-balkans-senator-john-mccain-says-kosovo-bosnia-albania-serbia-nato/

          Your claims are ridiculous. Your lies and ignorance are debunked. Now you need to apologize and stop wasting my time with rubbish. Or just sod off.

          • John Smith

            Thank you for confirming what I said.
            You have nothing to say.
            So you insult and invent things I didn’t say.
            Now you invent that I said McCain is russian propaganda?
            Lol what a clown you are :)

            Now Im sure you have nothing to add to the conversation – other than lies and insults. :) Have a nice day

          • Lav

            blah, blah, more empty rubbish from your mouth…
            “You have nothing to say.” Keep repeating that nonsense if it makes you feel less dumb :D
            “Now you invent that I said McCain is russian propaganda?” you obviously don’t see a question mark there, you definitely are blind (or just braindead?). That was a question and you have NO answer. Because YOU have nothing remotely intelligent to say. Again, you are the proven liar (*a bad one).

            “Thank you for confirming what I said.” I confirmed- you are a clueless zombie. No need to thanks. Because only a clueless zombie says something like: “This is fake news Russian propaganda. No one cares much about the Balcans.” -Atlantic council and J.McCain say otherwise. Facts.

          • John Smith

            This is fake news Russian propaganda.
            Correct.
            J.McCain on VoA is saying something very different than this russian propaganda portal is saying.
            Despite your clown attempts to show the otherwise.

            J.McCain: Our presence in northeast Europe has served as a stabilizing force.

            This propaganda portal: ..a battlefield against Russia…a destructive choice between the West and Russia on the Balkan countries…policy will lead to increased tensions and destabilization on the European continent

            They say completely different things, despite your factory propaganda troll lies.
            Cheers.

          • Lav

            What you are still here, trying to prove that you are not the clueless zombie? Too late kid. All is proven, this discussion is closed, you only make fool of yourself (even more I mean)

            John the babbling idiot Smith: “No one cares much about the Balcans”
            John McCain: “I do!”
            The Atlantic Coucil: “We do!”
            John the babbling idiot Smith: “No you don’t because I say so… and I say he say you say, I have no idea what the f I say but I keep saying… I know! russian propaganda something something!’

            Dude you are pathetic. Worthless babbling, nothing else, that’s you. Facts not insults. You are a failure even as a troll. Have you no shame?
            You have no brain that’s obvious.
            Now say something incredibly stupid again…

          • John Smith

            Russian propaganda troll. Typical.
            Just insults & actually saying nothing.

            “”northeast Europe” Lol clown all the way. :)
            You don’t understand that the VoA article is about the Balcans?
            Or you don’t understand that John McCain gives example of stability provided for “northeast Europe” for the Balcans?

            Or you don’t understand the difference between:
            John McCain: stability
            Russian Propaganda article: destabilization
            That is the same or opposite? Yes clown the same?

            “No one cares much about the Balcans”
            John McCain: we should care more about the Balcans (since we don’t care much at the moment)
            Exactly what I said ;)

            Dear russian factory troll hahaha

          • John Smith

            “northeast Europe”? Balkans?!”

            Lol acting a fool now? :) So funny.
            So typical for the propaganda troll you are

            Here you go have a nice read:

            “Our presence in northeast Europe has served as a stabilizing force for our allies, so the military structures and the constant presence in
            –>southeastern Europe<– should … provide a real sense of security for political leaders to make difficult decisions and to undertake necessary risks."

            John McCain: stabilizing
            Russian Propaganda article: destabilization

            you don't understand the difference?

  • Bob

    Macedonia and Serbia need to be very wary of US-NATO. The latter have repeatedly supported and protected separatist ethnic Albanian terrorists within those territories to damage the host states. Circa 2000 NATO intervened in Macedonia and bused out masses of ethnic Albanian terrorists, just as they were about to get surrounded and dealt with by Macedonian forces, and it turned out many were in fact Kosovar Albanians who had previously received German and US SOF training inside Albania proper before going into Kosovo conflict and then onto Macedonia. These countries need to be very wary of pro US-NATO leaderships that are heavily funded from US organs like National Endowment for Democracy – basically color revolution laboratories.

    • testera

      Macedonia is already lost. It will stop existing in this form sooner or later. Albanians and Bulgarians will butcher it. Greeks might manage to get a piece, but would probably have to settle on claiming the name back. Then southern Montenegro will have sudden problems.
      Further down the line things will depend on level of islamisation of UK and Germany.

      • Bob

        Realpolitik US policy seems to be to fragment Macedonia – recall a US ambassador or diplomat publicly advocating this last year. Facilitating partition and ultimate fracturing of states along ethnic lines is the standard US Neo-Con foreign policy playbook now – when seeking to divide and conquer any traditionally non-US dominated region.