Donald Trump’s rise to power, combined with the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, is neutralizing American and British influence in the Balkans. As a result, the volatile region is vulnerable to a surge of illiberalism that could result in the renewal of ethnic-based conflict.
American and European regional experts gathered recently at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute to consider the Balkans’ future. Columbia Professor Tanya Domi opened the roundtable discussion by noting that the post-World War II system established at Yalta appears to be “cracking up.” The Balkans stands to suffer from any weakening of the existing order.
“The long peace” may be drawing to a close, Domi said, referring to the past two decades of relative stability in the region. Noting that Balkans are still “plagued by history, memories and grievances,” Domi and others expressed concern about the growing possibility of a return of the violence that occurred amid the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
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