There is an excess of history in the Balkans, an excess of nationalism. The Balkan peoples are poisoned by nationalism since they were children, constantly dealing with national issues, and while we hate – they are robbing us. Here we are, the common people in the Balkans, and they – our political elites in the many Balkan countries. Nationalism, always and everywhere, is a great tool to distract people’s attention elsewhere, so you can peacefully steal from them. Because no one will watch you then, at least not closely enough.
Gruevski heavily used nationalism as a tool of rule. This provided him with support even though he made the citizens even poorer, and bought him few extra years of power. Hence, the breach with his nationalist practices of governance had to come. For Macedonia to finally move forward, it must build good interethnic relations and, moreover, a social climate must be created where ethnic identity will not be perceived as an overall identity of one person, and finally it will not be important if someone is Macedonian, Albanian, Roma, but what kind of person that someone is. Macedonia should make its contribution in the Balkans to improving the relations with the neighbors so that we, the smaller Balkan countries, stop being marionettes to the great world players and the international capital, and defend our joint interests together.
All this can create the impression that SDSM and DUI’s new government is on the right track. Unlike the fight against poverty and against abuse of power, the government launched an extremely offensive externally. Since day one. Signing a deal with Bulgaria, promoting the use of the Albanian language, now resolving the decades-long name dispute with Greece. The very offensive they are throwing to address these issues is indicative. Why is such an offensive related to these issues, and there is not about the standard of living of the ordinary citizen? Do they naively, but sincerely believe that the membership in NATO and the EU will automatically improve life in Macedonia? On this issue, all we hear is “we’ll see”, “we will discuss”, in other words – we want you to forget everything we promised. We’ll throw you a bone, and even that would be too much for you and your poverty?! This is basically what this issue has come down to.
What is the motivation for this offensive strategy that has tackled the resolution of national issues? Do they, naively, but honestly believe that by joining NATO and the EU, life in Macedonia will be automatically improved? Or are they so radical anti-nationalists who, aware of the evil inflicted by nationalism, want to inflict a deadly blow overnight? Or, perhaps, it is an exceptional willingness to do everything necessary to be in power? I’m going with the third one.
About the adopting of the law on languages, it so obvious that there is unnecessary to explain. It is clear as day to everyone. SDSM wants to stay in power and therefore needs DUI’s support. DUI needs strengthen the rating in its voting body, so insisted that this issue is the most important issue for the common Albanian in Macedonia, and not the fact that the common Albanian in Macedonia hardy makes ends meet, just like the common Macedonian citizen. They actually don’t care about this, just like SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE don’t care.
The motivation for hasty solution of the name dispute needs to be more analyzed. Apparently, it is connected to Macedonia’s urge to instantly become a member of NATO. But, where is this emergency coming from? Is Macedonia at risk of being attacked in the next period? No, that’s not it. Will foreign investments rise when we become a member of NATO? First, if we want to work on improving the living standard of the ordinary people, it could be achieved through other measures, not by insisting that Macedonia becomes a NATO member at all costs. Second, the level of foreign investments in any way does not automatically mean a higher living standard for the citizens. Third, we’ve been a part of NATO for some time now, as a member of the Partnership for Peace, so if there were any economic repercussions from being a part of NATO, we should have seen them by now. No, the readiness for urgent NATO membership simply cannot be motivated by the urge to improve the living standard of the citizens.
At his moment, NATO needs Macedonia’s full membership more than Macedonia needs it. In the past 15 years, the USA has led a disastrous foreign policy. It jeopardized its global interests and allowed its competitors, Russia and China, to significantly strengthen. The failure in foreign policy was most obvious in the extremely important region in the Middle East. Instead of absolute and firm control over this region, the US is witnessing the growing influence of Russia and Iran. The turbulence in Ukraine also undermined previous American self-reliance. Russia annexed Crimea without letting the United States and the EU oppose it in any effective way.
In that situation, it is obvious that the intention is not to omit the strings in the Balkans and to cement the belonging of the small Balkan countries in the Western sphere of influence. In reality, the possibility of greater Russian influence does not exist, but you know the saying: once you burn yourself with hot milk, you will start to blow on yogurt as well. Regarding Macedonia, this means its immediate full membership in NATO. Since the Greek veto is an obstacle on that road, an urgent need was introduced to resolve this issue. And since in the case of Greece it will be more difficult to impose the will, the pressure to make a compromise is mainly aimed at Macedonia.
The new government appears to be fully prepared to satisfy the wishes and interests of the United States. When a country brings itself to a subordinate colonial position, then the power in that country is allowed to do everything as long as it acts according to the will of the colonial master. So when the will of the colonial master is Macedonia at all costs to urgently become a full member of NATO, why not make a compromise on the name of the state?
SDSM already created dissatisfaction with its rule on many grounds. The inevitable conclusion is that they are ready to do everything necessary to be in power. And when someone has that motivation, nothing good can come from it.
(The author is a political scientist and a member of Levica)