by Andrew Korybko
The Balkan region bore the brunt of the immigrant wave that first crashed into Europe last year, becoming the geographic bottleneck through which over one million people had to pass in pursuit of their cherry-picked welfare resorts in Western, Central, and Northern Europe. Just as they’ve historically functioned for centuries, the Balkans reemerged as the critical link in connecting Europe with the Mideast, and in what has become somewhat of a global ‘tradition’, this was once more done at the region’s expense and without its willing participation. The prevailing media trope nowadays is that the “Balkan Corridor”, as it’s been labeled, is now closed, with the innuendo being that the problem has stopped for the moment and is no longer of relatable concern.
That couldn’t be further from the truth in any regard, since the forthcoming months are expected to bring another human tsunami of over one million people to the EU, not counting any additional numbers that might flee Libya if international hostilities are recommenced there or if Algeria falls apart during a civil war-like successionist crisis. Not accounting for these possibilities, which in any case would likely spill over into Southern Europe via the Mediterranean and Strait of Gibraltar, the majority of the one million people who are expected to flood into Europe again this year will predictably enter through Greece and attempt to recreate the Balkan voyage that their predecessor’s spearheaded for them last year.
While it may superficially seem as though the “Balkan Corridor” and its ‘upstream’ countries are secure, the fact of the matter is that the present contingency measures haven’t been adequately tested yet. The nature of the threat against them is morphing into a much more asymmetrically effective one that will surely test the entire region’s defensive capabilities in the near future. Even if the Central Balkan countries of the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia (the cusp of the “Balkan Corridor”) overcome this imminent challenge, there’s no indication that their other Balkan counterparts won’t be affected as the immigrants and their NGO human trafficking handlers frenziedly innovate geographic workarounds in opening up new smuggling routes to their envied European welfare destinations. Furthermore, there’s also the distinct risk that the immigrants will push across the Strait of Otranto and tumble into Italy, which would be perilously destabilizing if this is timed with a concurrent inflow across the Mediterranean from Libya.
In order to make sense of everything that’s happening and where it might all be headed, the article first begins by analyzing the present state of affairs and drawing attention to some of the trends that typically evade mention from the mainstream media. Afterwards, it develops some of the disruption scenarios that were first intimated above and explains the danger that they pose to the Balkan region as a whole. Finally, the research concludes with policy recommendations for the Macedonian and Serbian governments so that they can retain their sovereignty and security to the highest degree possible under the forecasted circumstances and beyond.
The New Regionalism
The present circumstances in the Balkans give legitimacy to the claims that the countries of the former Yugoslavia are experiencing the first stages of a new form of regionalism, albeit one which is heavily influenced by Austria-Hungary and is the unexpected outcome of the artificially provoked and US-engineered Immigration Crisis. The revival of a faint and distant sense of semi-coordination between the ex-Yugoslav Republics is made possible only through the political-diplomatic involvement of Vienna and Budapest, the historical hegemons over most of the area and which only recently have felt confident enough to reassert influence throughout their former sphere and its near environs. What is occurring right now is not necessarily unnatural in and of itself, as attested to by the decades-long coordination in the space between Slovenia and Macedonia, but it’s just that it’s happening under forced circumstances and through the involvement of outside powers, thereby making the process that will be elaborated on below unsustainable in the immediate post-crisis environment (whenever that may eventually come).
The Hapsburgs Rise Again:
The supreme monarchy of the royal Hapsburg family hasn’t been restored, but its symbolic centers of power are once more flexing their muscles in their traditional sphere of influence over most of the Balkans. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have teamed up with one another in presenting a unified front in helping the Balkan transit countries defend themselves against the onslaught that they’re receiving as a result of the Immigrant Crisis, and for these reasons, the two states will once more be collectively referred to as Austria-Hungary. Because of the nature of globalization and its post-Cold War impact on the region, it’s impossible for the unilateral and uncoordinated action of a single state to fully contribute to the security and benefit of its neighbors, ergo the need for a multilateral and coordinated solution in addressing the present problems.
Due to the legacy of the federal republic’s dissolution and the subsequent wars that broke out as a result, it’s extraordinarily difficult for some of the members to pragmatically coordinate with one another owing to the heightened security dilemma that still exists between them (e.g. the Croatian-Serbian Missile Race). In such a situation, and with non-regional countries directly affected by the lack of a cohesive Balkan response to the Immigrant Crisis, Austria-Hungary reentered into their centuries-old strategic alliance in order to promote their own self-interests through streamlining a multilateral solution to the issue. Hungary has very been successful at cultivating an image of trustworthiness among its neighbors because of the no-nonsense approach that Orban has consistently articulated towards this problem, dispelling any potential distrust that most of his target audience might have to his country’s motives despite his sly advancement of a tacit pro-NATO agenda.
From “Balkan Corridor” To “Balkan Coalition”:
Austria-Hungary has been instrumental in bringing the Balkan states to the negotiating table and hammering out a semi-cohesive but acceptable response for handling the Immigrant Crisis. In order to understand how the “Balkan Corridor” transformed into a very loose “Balkan Coalition” led by the non-Balkan states of Austria-Hungary, it’s worthwhile to remember the discombobulated mess that the region was set to become after the second half of last year.
Hungary unilaterally constructed a border fence with Serbia and then later with Croatia, cutting off the immigrants’ favored smuggling routes and necessitating their full-fledged redirection to Austria. This in turn overwhelmed the authorities of the new transit countries, especially tiny Slovenia, and engendered a chain reaction of border-protective policies by each of the Balkan states. Because the ‘upstream’ states of Slovenia and Croatia were not fully coordinating their moves with their ‘downstream’ counterparts in Serbia and Macedonia, the result was predictably unsettling for the latter two and raised substantiated fears that tens of thousands of immigrants might one day be trapped on their territory with nowhere to go. It should be said at this point that pragmatic cooperation between Croatia and Serbia, a crucial connective point along the “Balkan Corridor”, is very difficult to initiate owing to Zagreb’s antagonistic attitude towards Belgrade, which itself is a lingering negative legacy of the Yugoslav Wars, World War II, and even traceable to periods before this. Therefore, the only way out of this political deadlock was for an outside force trusted by both sides to diplomatically and politically intervene, ergo the strategic entrance of Austria-Hungary into the equation.
Through an extended series of meetings on the issue that went on over the past couple of months, Austria-Hungary was crucially able to get the former Yugoslav states to agree on a semi-coordinated means in addressing the Immigrant Crisis, although the format through which they reached this breakthrough agreement was not without controversy. At the end of February, Austria had convened a conference that brought together the governments of all of the late Yugoslavia (including the NATO-occupied Serbian Province of Kosovo), Albania, and Bulgaria in order to hash out a lasting deal on the issue, but Vienna had notably not invited Greece to attend. The Hellenic Republic has infamously transformed into a launching pad in facilitating the immigrants’ planned journeys into the continent, and Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz defended his decision by pointing out that Greece has “clearly expressed no interest in reducing the (migrant) influx and in contrast wants to continue waving them through” to Macedonia, from where they make their way northward.”
In all fairness, the Greek authorities are totally overwhelmed by the daily influx of immigrant arrivals and their country is so dramatically mismanaged and economically dysfunctional that it’s difficult for them to properly prioritize an effective way in responding to this challenge, although that in no way absolves their leaders of neglecting the issue or even sometimes actively exploiting it as a convenient “Weapon of Mass Migration” against their Macedonian rivals to the north. Austria and the other countries of the conference were cognizant of the Greek situation and the reason why its leaders oscillate between alternatively ignoring and exploiting the Immigrant Crisis, and understanding their practical limits, they knew that they have no realistic capacity to assist Athens in patrolling its eastern maritime frontier (which was declared a Western European-led NATO responsibility anyway). Faced with these physical and political constraints in engineering a regional solution to the Immigrant Crisis, the Vienna-led bloc opted to instead seal the mainland border through which most of the new arrivals have traditionally passed, which explains the focus that the group has given to the Republic of Macedonia in order to achieve as much strategic depth and ‘buffer potential’ in protecting its members as possible.
Being aware of the “naming dispute” and knowing that Greece’s position on the issue makes it absolutely guaranteed that it would never enter into sensible cooperation with the Republic of Macedonia, Austria decided to forgo what otherwise would have been a stalemated conference and take the bold choice of purposely omitting Greece. Vienna ostensibly justified its decision on the grounds of Athens’ unconstructive attitude in general, but the choice was likely undertaken out of equally motivated consideration to the impracticality of Athens ever cooperating with Skopje on an urgent and high-level political-security topic such as the Immigrant Crisis. The point in recalling what can plausibly be presumed to be the Austrians’ true position on the matter isn’t to reignite yet another of the endless series of debates pertaining to the “naming dispute”, but to explain the geopolitical reality of the situation and highlight the imperatives underpinning Vienna’s decision. The Austrians have stereotypically been known for being pragmatically efficient, and keeping with their long-established nature, it’s sensible why they would want to avoid having the Greek government hijack a political-security event in order to waste valuable time in using the international platform to promote its bilateral dispute with Macedonia, especially since all of the members (except Greece of course) already recognize the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name.
Unrestrained by the possibility of one of the gathered participants distracting the group from its stated objectives or possibly undermining the meeting’s prospective achievements out of a lack of purposeful commitment to seriously tackling the Immigrant Crisis, Austria and the rest of the invited countries reached a major agreement to shut down the “Balkan Corridor” and defend their regional neighborhood. In and of itself, this doesn’t constitute a “Balkan Coalition” in any sense of the word, especially because Albania and NATO-occupied Kosovo’s involvement precludes any possibility of such a concept ever materializing with Serbia, but what the author intends to draw particular attention to is the landmark tacit understanding that was reached between the former Yugoslav states that represents an unprecedented level of post-1991 cooperation, no matter how unofficial and fragmented it is in its current form. Never before have these countries agreed on such an initiative since the dissolution of their once-unified federal republic, and this historic event was only brought about by Austria-Hungarian diplomatic-political intervention in responding to the Immigrant Crisis that affects them all.
The EU’s Skepticism:
Brussels is far from pleased with the latest developments and menacingly frowns on the fact that a non-EU-controlled subregional gathering was capable of tentatively coming to a multilateral agreement in responding to this urgent problem. In particular, the EU is worried that Orban’s “Euro-Cautionary” approach (a more objective description of the much-maligned “Euroskeptic” label) will create a demonstration effect that the Balkan countries that are now within the variable influence of Austria-Hungary will soon seek to emulate. That being said, Brussels has no actor to blame but itself for subregionalism coming to the fore of EU geopolitics, especially in the Balkan region, since the bloc created the strategic opening for this through its neglect of all the erstwhile Yugoslav states. The EU was exceptionally unconstructive in its dealings with the Republic of Macedonia, and not just in terms of how it has dealt with the US-concocted political crisis in the country, but also more pertinently in how it chided the authorities for their brave attempts to unilaterally defend their southern border in the past.
The consequence of these counter-productive and ill-thought-out policies was that the entire Balkan region received a lasting negative impression about what the EU is really interested in. The existing members of Slovenia and Croatia felt let down by the organization that they had previously sacrificed so much to join, with a sense of nationwide confusion settling in while the population wondered why they weren’t being treated as equal members of what they formerly thought was an egalitarian bloc. For the non-member countries of Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia (the Central Balkans), it became painfully obvious that Brussels only wants to exploit them for economic purposes, especially when observing how the earlier- and still-exploited countries of Slovenia and Croatia were also left out in the cold. The Central Balkan inhabitants begrudgingly realized that there’s actually quite a low price that the EU is willing to pay in helping to economically and strategically assist them during tough times, further underlining their newly awakened sense of objectification vis-à-vis the bloc. Being perceived in such an exploitative matter and practically abandoned to deal with the Immigrant Crisis all on their own, it’s unlikely that these countries’ citizens will ever trust the EU again after it left them high and dry at the moment when they needed its help the most.
One could attribute the EU’s insensible behavior to the Cultural Marxist ideals that dominate its elite or to the ‘politically incorrect’ explanation that these said bureaucrats plainly don’t think that the Central Balkan countries are “worth the price” that would have to be paid in assisting them, but regardless of the reason behind it, the EU’s actions (or lack thereof) severely damaged the trust that the local population may have earlier had in them and tempered their previously naïve dreams of one day partaking in the fabled ‘dream’ of “European integration”. Ditched by the very same organization that their governments had earlier thought they could depend on and had importantly convinced their constituents that they can beseech in times of need, the leaders of Macedonia and Serbia had no practical choice but to cooperate within the Austrian-Hungarian framework that was being proposed to them. Taking this into consideration, it can be understood that it wasn’t Belgrade and Skopje’s first choice to enter into a larger multilateral regional dialogue led by Vienna (with Budapest playing a strong junior role in this initiative, as the Hungarians always have historically behaved when placed shoulder-to-shoulder with the Austrians), but that the EU essentially forced them to do so because they had no other option to pursue which could deliver visible results to the populations that they’re legally accountable to.
The EU’s skepticism towards the emerging regionalism in the Balkans is therefore misdirected and would be better reoriented towards introspectively examining its own political shortcomings and tactical errors in allowing the situation to irreversibly get to this point. There’s no going back to the previous state of affairs and it’s quite possible that Brussels acknowledges this, which is why it’s lashing out so strongly against Austria-Hungary and shunning the states that have participated in closing the “Balkan Corridor”. This is a strong sign that the EU is scared that the Central Balkan states, now very loosely integrated in a strategic-political sense due to Austria-Hungary’s proactive leadership, will progressively move away from Brussels’ prevailing attitude of transnational centralization and instead develop a positive bias towards Vienna-Budapest’s demonstrated practice of national sovereignty and pragmatic international cooperation. The significance of these changing attitudes is important because it adds to the eroded distrust that Central Balkan (non-EU) states have towards the official EU bureaucracy and further contributes to the argument that their people have less of an attractive appeal towards Brussels nowadays than they had before the Immigrant Crisis and the EU’s bungling response to it. Additionally, extrapolating further, this makes the local population more conducive to non-EU-organized international cooperation, whether it’s with Austria-Hungary and the very informal and single-issue-oriented “Balkan Coalition” that it’s made possible or between the Central Balkan states themselves, specifically the Macedonia-Serbia-Republika Srpska strategic axis.
Dark Days Ahead
The Balkans are bracing for the second immigrant wave that’s expected to crash into the region in the coming months, and while the Republic of Macedonia has fortified its main border crossings with Greece, the entire frontier has yet to be secure. To add to that, the country is comparatively tiny and therefore only has limited capabilities in dealing with what could predictably become regular and large-scale “swarm” attacks against it, which would put the authorities in the uncomfortably dilemma of choosing between sacrificing their sovereignty and the probable safety of their citizens or opening fire against what the Western mainstream media has painstakingly gone to extraordinary lengths to manipulatively portray as “non-violent and eager-to-integrate secular refugees”. Additionally, if by some minor miracle the Republic of Macedonia succeeds in fending off and/or deterring a large-scale and NGO-coordinated siege of its borders, then there’s always the possibility that these asymmetrical weapons will be redeployed against Albania and Bulgaria, with the distinct possibility existing that immigrants in the former might make the short journey across the Strait of Otranto and end up en mass in Italy. This would essentially trigger an implosion that could turn one of the EU’s largest yet most structurally fragile states into the political and economic equivalent of a ‘second Greece’, with all of the resultant consequences.
So that the reader understands the angle that the author approaches the Immigrant Crisis from and can therefore more easily follow the train of thought that influences the proceeding sections, it’s unquestionably necessary that Kelly M. Greenhill’s “Weapons of Mass Migration” research be reviewed in advance and that the reader also peruse Brainstorm’s “Immigrant Crisis: Facts, Myth or Plot?” and the author’s own two-part series on “Civilizational Aggression: Non-Western Rebirth And Leftist Rebranding”.
The Soros-Jihadist Vanguard:
Credit for the particular neologism used in describing the coordination between these two sets of fifth generational warriors belongs to the author’s friend Elena Juki Bekić, but the idea was earlier explored in part in the civilizational aggression article that was just mentioned above. The general point being expressed by the author and his colleague is that militant leftists have an ideologically identical agenda as jihadis do in tacitly joining forces to overthrow Western Civilization, and the fruit of their implicit cooperation is observed most tangibly through the support that Soros-related NGOs provide in assisting immigrants in illegally traversing state borders. While there are many documented instances of this occurring, the most relevant to the present research is the recent incident of over 2,000 immigrants storming an unprotected riparian portion of the Macedonian border near the Greek town of Idomeni. While initially presented to the global media as an ‘impromptu’ act organized solely on the part of ‘desperate refugees’, it soon came out that it was entirely coordinated in advance by NGOs and ‘political activists’, some of which had even printed a map in Arabic that contained false information about buses that were supposedly waiting for the immigrants on the other side of the border.
Being aware that the entire event was provably manipulated for a preplanned purpose and understanding the innovatively desperate lengths that the Soros-Jihadists will go to in order to sustain an unrestricted amount of civilizationally dissimilar immigration to Europe (for reasons that are explained in the earlier cited texts), it’s reasonable to conclude that the recent stunt near Idomeni was really just a test run for a larger strategy that is being perfected and prepared for deployment at the height of the forthcoming immigrant wave later this year. The NGOs and their affiliated ‘political activists’ had accomplished a few overlapping goals through their border provocation. Firstly, they managed to identify the precise areas where Macedonian border security was weak or non-existent, and they also succeeded in easily baiting over 2,000 immigrants into testing the state’s response to their illegal passage. This provides them with valuable intelligence in gauging the authorities’ reaction to all of this and identifying how long it took for them to even become aware of the large-scale border violation. Another objective that was completed during the course of this trial run was that 30 of the accompanying Western individuals (purportedly ‘journalists’ but which could practically mean any ‘political activist’ with a cell phone camera and a rehearsed answer) were temporarily arrested and then fined for illegally crossing the border, which while being a completely rational response to any lawbreaking activity, is already being conjured up as the opening stages of a renewed information war aimed at discrediting the Macedonian government and internationally ‘legitimizing’ a forthcoming Color Revolution against it
It’s expected that the coming months might see many more such incidences of this type, motivated both by the desire to break the Balkan ‘seal’ so as to uncontrollably flood the region with more transiting immigrants (again, for the geopolitical purposes that were outlined in the earlier cited articles) and to destabilize the Macedonian government in the run-up to the 5 June early elections. Realistically speaking, there’s a possibility that local Greek authorities, whether on their own prerogative or under the command of their higher-ups, might aid and abet the forces pursing the latter objective due to the rivalry that the country has with Macedonia. Greece has a responsibility to monitor the immigrants that stay in Idomeni and to notify their Macedonian counterparts if they observe what obviously looks like a large-scale movement of thousands of people towards the international border. It’s regretful that no Greek official took the initiative to do this, thus spoiling what could have been a trust-building experience and which could have even laid the foundation for constructing a pragmatic and much-needed border-cooperation mechanism between them. There’s no use speculating on why the Greeks didn’t take the obvious and legally responsible step of informing their cross-border counterparts that the immigrants had moved out of their camp and were swarming en mass at an exposed point along the mutual border, but it wouldn’t be surprising if some of them felt that turning a blind eye to this unavoidable situation was their personal way of venting pent-up anti-EU anger and relishing in schadenfreude at the Macedonians’ expense.
The combination of the Soros-Jihadist vanguards’ ideological fervor and the Greeks’ lackadaisical approach to policing their joint border with the Republic of Macedonia suggests that no matter how much the Austrians try to assist the Macedonians in keeping the “Balkan Corridor” plugged, it’s foreseeable that some sort of ‘leaks’ will inevitably occur, with the question being not under what motivation the fifth generational asymmetrical aggression will continually be waged, but just how devastating it will ultimately turn out to be and how long the offensive will go on for.
There’s a possibility that the Soros-Jihadists will redirect their “Weapon of Mass Migration” away from the Central Balkans and towards its Western and Eastern flanks, whether as a means of diversifying the offensive against Europe or out of practical necessity owing to what might eventually become Macedonia’s impregnable border (whether due to solid frontier-wide fortifications or a shoot-to-kill order). In such an event, there’s a chance that the immigrants could be corralled and unleashed against Albania and Bulgaria, with the tangential opportunity to ship them across the former’s adjacent Strait of Otranto for easy ‘export’ to Italy.
Addressing Bulgaria first, it’s not forecast that the country will experience a large-scale immigrant influx, not only because it was one of the first to fence off part of its borders (in this case, against Turkey and right before the present crisis began), but because it’s geographically unattractive from the vantage point of eager immigrants. Assuming that some of them pass through Bulgaria en route to their desired welfare resort of choice in Western, Central, or Northern Europe, they’d presumably have to continue along the Eastern Balkans to Romania and then Hungary or somehow slip through to Macedonia or Serbia and redirect themselves on to the Central Balkan track. It’s not predicted that they’ll do the former since Hungary has rightfully earned its reputation as a rapid builder of border fences, so in that case they’d be compelled to reroute along the previously used Central Balkan route, which by that time might have already been secured since they weren’t able to penetrate Macedonia in the first place.
Granted, the eastern Macedonian and Serbian borders probably aren’t as secure as their southern ones are, but with a concerted Austrian-Hungarian-led effort, these two leading states could either assist with fortifying these frontiers on their own or possibly trying to spread the financial burden by soliciting funds from their other members of their extremely informal and loose “Balkan Coalition”. In all likelihood, it’s not expected that they’ll succeed in squeezing a single cent out of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, or Montenegro in subsidizing Macedonian and/or Serbian border security, but they might have a better chance in having those aforementioned states contribute some sort of material support instead, especially if they can be convinced that even doing so symbolically would promote their collective self-interest. Nevertheless, multilateral “Balkan Coalition” assistance isn’t something that observers should get their hopes up for, but they could reasonably expect Austria-Hungary to offer some sort of unilateral support instead.
The Western Balkan route beginning in Albania is much more alluring for immigrants than the Eastern Balkan one in Bulgaria, and the combination of porous borders and geographic convenience is responsible for its appeal. To begin, it must be said that the precursor to the Immigrant Crisis was undoubtedly the large-scale but comparatively less significant outflow of Albanians from their namesake state and the NATO-occupied Serbian Province of Kosovo, which both the author and the esteemed Serbian geopolitical analyst Dragana Trifkovic have both written about before. In hindsight, this was definitely a structural test run in gauging the EU’s response, testing the transport corridors, and setting into place the necessary human smuggling networks at key Schengen Zone border areas. Applied to the contemporary Immigrant Crisis, the Albanian route would be attractive as an alternative or complementary component to the Central Balkan Macedonian-Serbian one, but the main issue hindering its large-scale viability is the lack of multimodal transport corridors linking Albania-Montenegro-Bosnia-Croatia-Slovenia. There are certainly roads that could fulfill this function, but the lack of railroad infrastructure is a huge turn-off for the Soros-Jihadis because it inhibits the large-scale and cost-affordable transport of the enormous quantity of immigrants that they envision possibly being sent along this route. Also, it’s not known how many chartered bus services there are that run along this path either, nor how quickly additional ‘reinforcements’ could be ‘deployed’ in assisting with this massive human trafficking operation, so there certainly appear to be various constraints that negatively affect the practical effectiveness of the Western Balkan Corridor.
However, from a strategic sense, the US could have an interest in ‘stockpiling’ rowdy and dissatisfied immigrants in Albania in order to intensify pressure on the government and compel it to double down on its reactionary response of “Greater Albanian” nationalism in addressing its rapidly deteriorating domestic situation. The author wrote about how the myth of ethnic irredentism is an integral component of the Albanian elites’ ‘toolset’ in mitigating legitimate Color Revolution-like opposition to their kleptocracy, and the geopolitical focus of this would predictably fall upon the Republic of Macedonia (which is already experiencing existing radical Albanian destabilization) in the timely run-up to its 5 June early elections. If the Albanian government doesn’t accelerate its operations to undermine its Macedonian counterparts, then the US could easily kick-start the process by redirecting the immigrant mass from Greece to Albania, whether under the false Idomeni-like impression that there are buses supposedly waiting for them inside the country or out of a new brilliantly marketed plan to have them take a short boat ride across the Strait of Otranto to Italy. Since the Immigrant Crisis is inherently chaotic to its core, there’s even the chance that the US wouldn’t have to guide events in this direction and they could ‘naturally’ proceed according to this scenario on their own, even if it’s contrary to the US’ immediate interests vis-à-vis Italy at the time. If this scenario transpires in any headline-grabbing way, then Albania would fulfill a similar ‘launching pad’ role to Italy as Greece currently does towards the Republic of Macedonia, with the territory of the Hellenic Republic of course being the ultimate nerve center for coordinating the bulk of the illegal immigration that’s headed for Europe.
Safeguarding The Central Balkans
The Republic of Macedonia and Serbia occupy enviable geopolitical positions in the Central Balkans that make them oases of strategic attractiveness to all of the Great Powers, but correspondingly, this has also proven to be a vulnerability as is obviously evidenced by the destabilization that they’ve suffered as a result of the Immigrant Crisis. Since the Soros-Jihadists are on the verge of unleashing a second follow-up to last year’s overwhelming events, it’s imperative that both of these countries immediately take measures to safeguard their interests and prepare for an inevitable siege in the event that Macedonia’s southern border doesn’t hold and/or the immigrant swarm detours and strikes the Central Balkans from the Western and/or Eastern direction. Other than unilateral internal measures that can be applied in enhancing their deterrent capability, such as criminally charging all foreign ‘political activists’ and ‘journalists’ that accompany the immigrants across state borders with human trafficking, there are three broad guidelines of advice that Macedonia and Serbia should adhere to in jointly crafting the most effective polices in protecting and promoting their grand strategic interests:
Keep Austria-Hungary At Arm’s Length:
Macedonia and Serbia need these two states’ support for the time being in order to properly weather the second round of the Immigrant Crisis, but they should avoid committing to any vague promises of political reciprocity after the storm has passed. For example, Skopje and Belgrade should accept whatever material and financial provisions that Vienna and Budapest want to volunteer, but this mustn’t be done with any strings attached and it should be made explicitly clear that all parties are agreeing to it out of the collective self-interest that they have in preventing the asymmetrical swarms from breaking through the Macedonian and Serbian borders. To be direct, the author advises the Central Balkan governments to be wary of any post-conflict institutional proposals that Austria-Hungary might try to make in formalizing their influence over the region (e.g. an undeclared version of NATO and/or the EU), and it’s advisable that Skopje and Belgrade not be drawn into any prospective projects against their own will solely as a means of ‘paying back’ Vienna and Budapest for their prior support.
Tighten Central Balkan Cooperation:
Austria-Hungary developed the current framework for Macedonian-Serbian coordination through their proactive initiatives in multilaterally defending against the US’ “Weapons of Mass Migration”, but while this was envisioned as part of a broader cooperation platform with the other Balkan countries, it’s a stillborn idea to think that it will ever practically result in anything tangible and non-immigration-related anytime soon. Therefore, it’s to their best benefit to focus mostly on tightening collaboration between themselves and fleshing out the skeletal coordination structure that’s been created for them, which would then allow them to progressively take ownership of it and apply it towards the advancement of their shared long-term interests, principally China’s Balkan Silk Road. There’s also the pressing need to coordinate their democratic security in safeguarding their countries against Hybrid War threats in the run-up to each other’s elections and in the post-electoral environment afterwards, ideally sustaining this close level of relations into the indefinite future and contributing to their overall joint security. Additionally, this nascent structure could easily be extended to include Republika Srpska, which would then broaden the organization’s base to include all of the Central Balkans and turn the proposed structure into an even more geostrateically significant actor in regional affairs, much as the Visegrad Group functions in its own respective area.
Multilaterally Engage With The World:
Having institutionalized the Central Balkans on an equitable and self-interested footing, the participant states can then begin dealing with their counterparts on a multilateral basis through their newly created organization. Because none of the members are in the EU or NATO, they have the strategic freedom to practice sovereign policies outside of these unipolar-dominated constraints, thereby bestowing them with full independence and the potential to seal deals with each and every major international actor. For example, the Central Balkans could negotiate pragmatic agreements with the EU, Russia, and China, remembering that its pivotal position along the latter’s Balkan Silk Road imbues it with a strategic importance disproportionate to its relatively tiny size. Expanding on that, although Russia’s Balkan Stream is indefinitely suspended, Russian businessmen are still eager to invest along the transnational connective infrastructure corridor that Moscow’s chief global ally is constructing through the region. Relatedly, the EU has vested economic reasons for why it would want to see the Central Balkans succeed in functioning as the facilitative gateway for European-Chinese trade, so it’s very possible that with time, the unnamed coordination mechanism between Macedonia and Serbia could seal a deal with Brussels that’s much more beneficial to their countries than whatever is currently being dangled out in front of them right now. In order for that to happen though, and for the Central Balkans to become the pivotal geostrategic link between Brussels, Moscow, and Beijing, it must first succeed in repelling the US’ Hybrid War intrigues against it and surviving the second wave of “Weapons of Mass Migration” that are about to be deployed against them.