Stephen Zunes : Eastern Europe
After experiencing decades of rightwing attacks for being “soft” on Moscow, progressives may be feeling a bit of whiplash as they witness prominent conservatives—with Donald Trump in the lead—heaping praise upon an autocratic Russian leader. Trump has praised President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative who tolerates little dissent, for his “very strong control over a […]
The survival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Welfare Party of an attempted coup last week is a mixed blessing.
Turkey’s march towards authoritarianism took another dangerous turn this past week with the forced resignation of moderate Islamist Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, apparently at the insistence of President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.
The 20th anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution that overthrew the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia was one of the most impressive civil insurrections in history. It was not the military might of NATO, but the power of nonviolent action by ordinary citizens which brought down the system. The popular uprising against the repressive system that had ruled their country for much of the previous four decades — along with comparable movements, which came to the fore that year in Poland, Hungary and East Germany — marks a great triumph of the human spirit….
Since the end of the U.S.-led war against Serbia, the country is slowly emerging from the wars of the 1990s. Despite lingering problems, Serbs appear to be more optimistic about their country’s future than they have for decades. The United States deserves little credit for the positive developments, however, and a fair amount of blame for the country’s remaining problems….
It has been 10 years since the U.S.-led war on Yugoslavia. For many leading Democrats, including some in top positions in the Obama administration, it was a “good” war, in contrast to the Bush administration’s “bad” war on Iraq. And though the suffering and instability unleashed by the 1999 NATO military campaign wasn’t as horrific as the U.S. invasion of Iraq four years later, the war was nevertheless unnecessary and illegal, and its political consequences are far from settled….
Even among longstanding supporters of national self-determination for Kosovo, the eagerness with which the Bush administration extended diplomatic recognition immediately upon that country’s declaration of independence on February 17 has raised serious concerns. Indeed, it serves as a reminder of the series of U.S. policy blunders over the years that have compounded the Balkan tragedy….
Was the United States too hasty in recognizing the new state of Kosovo? Ian Williams and Stephen Zunes have different takes in this strategic dialogue. To see the original essays, follow these links to Williams and Zunes.