Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Commentary on Croatian elections

politics > balkan
This seems like a rational and realistic assessment of the recent Croatian elections, by a Croatian, Dragan Antulov, whose weblog, Draxblog, is a great source of commentary about Croatia and beyond... The following passage seems to capture the essence of Western media coverage of, or even western policies, towards the Balkans in general...:

Most of the world media talk about "return of nationalists" in Croatia, while some carefully talk about HDZ being "reformed, pro-European" or "purged from extremists suspected of atrocities during 1991-95 war".
I'm not optimist. This all looks like wishful thinking. After September 11th 2001 USA and the rest of Western world forgot about Balkans. Their governments consider all of the regional problems solved – Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo elected "moderate, pro-Western and democratic" governments in 2000, refugees are returning, borders are being open, market reforms are improving living standards, media is free from hate-speech, war crimes suspects are being handed over to Hague tribunal or tried in domestic courts, former warriors are becoming champions of peaceful cooperation etc. Whenever something happens that doesn't fit this rosy picture, it is ignored and disregarded as something of little or no importance. When guerrilla war continues in Macedonia, it is regarded as "glorified border smuggling". When Serbian prime minister gets gunned down, it is the "desperate act of small band of die-hard ultra-nationalists". When nationalists win in Bosnia (parties that dominate Bosnian national assembly are same ones that led country into the war) they are "reformed".
Why should victory of Ivo Sanader be treated any worse? Since his party replaced "pro-Western moderate democratic" forces on fair, free and democratic elections, it should too be regarded as "pro-Western and moderate", because everything else should indicate that West failed in Croatia between 2000 and 2003.

I couldn't agree more, and it's not only the ex-Yugoslavia that's receiving this least-effort type of analysis either...

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