The Balkans as Geopolitical Periphery of Eastern Europe – Past Implications for an Uncertain Future

Trapara, Vladimir (2020) The Balkans as Geopolitical Periphery of Eastern Europe – Past Implications for an Uncertain Future. In: Security Challenges and the Place of the Balkans and Serbia in a Changing World. Institute of International Politics and Economics; Faculty of Security Studies, Belgrade, pp. 75-86. ISBN 978-86-7067-275-8

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In the post-Cold War period, the Balkan Peninsula experienced the issue of “Balkanization” – fragmentation of once compact multiethnic political space – similar to the one it had already experienced in the 19th and early 20th century. Both historical instances of Balkanization countered wider European integrative trends of the time. A historical comparison between the first and the second Balkanization finds the cause for this “repeating” of history in an extraordinary geopolitical position of the peninsula as the periphery of geopolitically significant Eastern Europe. As a theoretical framework, Miller-Kagan’s patterns of great powers’ involvement in regional conflicts are used, alongside with geopolitical classic Halford Mackinder’s concept of Eastern Europe. The main thesis is that due to the peripheral position of the Balkans within Eastern Europe, the great powers’ influence in the region has been continuously limited – instead of opting for integration like they did in Central-East Europe (a region of higher priority) they allowed local actors to balkanize their political space. However, the Balkans was just a pioneer of the first Balkanization – after World War I the process spread throughout Eastern Europe. Signs that the second Balkanization is also spreading – not only in Eastern Europe (with further fragmentation of the post-Soviet space) but also throughout the EU (with the rise of sovereignism due to the migrant crisis, as well as with regional separatism in several Western European countries) – are clearly visible. The conclusion is that in times of global uncertainty, explaining historical similarities could help in answering the challenges before they arise.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: Balkanization, the Balkans, great powers, geopolitics, Eastern Europe, Halford Mackinder
Depositing User: Ana Vukićević
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2021 10:18
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2021 10:18

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