The United States foreign policy in the Western Balkans during Trump's presidency: trajectories and recent changes

Kuvekalović-Stamatović, Jovanka and Jojić, Stefan and Pejić, Igor (2019) The United States foreign policy in the Western Balkans during Trump's presidency: trajectories and recent changes. In: Влијанието на големите сили врз безбедноста на малите држави / Меѓународна научна конференција, 23 - 25 Јуни 2019, Охрид=The great powers influence on the security of small states / International scientific conference, 23 - 25 June 2019, Ohrid. Fakultet za bezbednost, Skopje, pp. 114-128. ISBN 978-608-4828-46-4

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The news about Donald Trump winning the presidential elections in the USA and becoming the 45th American president came as a surprise to the whole international public, as well as to the countries of the Western Balkans, which observed the presidential transition with mixed hopes. Many practitioners and observers from the Western Balkans expressed their expectations that this outcome would cause changes in the US foreign policy positions towards this region. This article aims to examine the place of the Western Balkans (WB) in the first two years of Trump‘s mandate and trace the (potential) deviations of the American Western Balkans policy matrix. The research consists of an analysis of political and diplomatic official public discourses, as well as studies exploring the nature of the US political and security requests imposed to the Western Balkan states. The longterm element of the US WB policy is a hegemonic position in its relations with small WB countries – with rulemaking and imposing key principles in their political and security interactions. Authors argue that David Lake‘s security relations models offered in his works on anarchy and hierarchy in international relations are a proper theoretical framework for observation of such asymmetric relations. Considering the security relations between the great powers and small, weak countries, David Lake outlines several types of their relations through alliance, protectorate, informal and formal version of an empire. American influence on the security of Western Balkans countries has elements of the protectorate and informal empire relations, so it could be best described as a hybrid relationship, relying on Lake's terminology. The results indicated that since Trump`s arrival as President, there has been a change in the established matrix of the US foreign policy towards the Western Balkans. Although the change is most visible in the field of public discourse, the flexibility with which Trump`s administration treats some of the urgent security issues in the region is evident. Considering the direction of Trump's foreign policy and his forthcoming successor, whether through elections or by impeachment, certain actors from the Western Balkans have obtained a more independent position in their relations with the United States, temporarily deviating the patterns of behavior described in Lake's models.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: United States, foreign policy, Western Balkans, security
Depositing User: Ana Vukićević
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 13:15
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2023 08:28

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