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Journal: Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans, Vol. 2, No. 2 November 2000

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  • Florian Bieber
    From: Vassilis Fouskas Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans Volume 2 Number 2 November 2000 Contents Editorial Themes Europe and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1 1:05 AM
      From: Vassilis Fouskas <KU14841@...>

      Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans

      Volume 2 Number 2 November 2000



      Europe and the Balkans in a historical perspective, 1804-1945

      Power politics and nationalist discourse in the struggle for ‘Northern
      Epirus’: 1919-1921

      The Balkans and international politics in the 1940s: on the Eden-Gusev
      pre-percentages agreement

      South European Modernity
      Alternatives to modernisation: new forms of social action in Mediterranean

      Seat/vote proportionality in Romanian and Spanish parliamentary elections

      Cyprus, the European Union and the search for a new Constitution

      Review Article
      NATO: Growing pains or early retirement?

      Book Reviews

      There is nothing more disturbing than a system of academic thought which,
      costlessly and inaccurately, tends to consider every place or individual
      country in the world as ‘unique’, having a ‘particular’ physiognomy with
      ‘specific’ characteristics and ‘unparalleled’ identity.
      The Balkans is an extreme case in point: following the collapse of
      ‘actually existing socialism’ and the end of the Cold War, western minds
      seem inclined to see the region as an incomprehensible and unique place,
      which is rife with ethnic hatreds, genocidal and nationalistic politics. As
      if this all took place nowhere else in the world. And as if this all was
      the result of politics pertaining to jingoist Balkan political elites
      alone. If anything, the debate between Pavlowitch and Gowan in JSEB v.1,
      n.2, demonstrated that the Balkan crisis and the economic plight of the
      region are as much the work of regional nationalism pursued by various
      ethnic political elites as it is of NATO’s and the West’s themselves.
      In this issue, reviewing nearly 150 years of Balkan and European history
      (1804-1945), Stevan K. Pavlowitch concludes that considering the Balkans as
      an appalling land with no parallel in Europe betrays comparative historical
      analysis and, hence, a balanced and unbiased assessment. In point of fact,
      Pavlowitch convincingly argues, there is nothing historically unique with
      the Balkans, as the region has always been part of the geo-political,
      cultural and geo-economic landscapes of Europe. Pavlowitch’s elegant
      comparative overview of Balkan history is complemented with two thematic
      accounts on the issue of ‘Northern Epirus’ in the aftermath of the First
      World War and the question of ‘pre-percentages agreement’ between Eden and
      Gusev in the 1940s.
      Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos examines the writings of Greek and Albanian
      nationalists on the question of ‘Northern Epirus’ between 1919 and 1921 and
      argues powerfully that their notions were drawn from the very
      power-politics game of Great Powers, as ‘the texts [of both sides] analysed
      (…) suggest that Greek and Albanian nationalists were well aware of
      precisely what those wielding power expected to hear’. Gavin Scrase sheds
      light on the overall historical context of the infamous percentages
      agreement between Stalin and Churchill in 1944, where the two leaders
      divided the Balkans into countries and degrees of influence between them.
      In his latest memoirs Years of Renewal (1999), Henry Kissinger, Foreign
      Secretary of the USA at the time of Turkey’s two consecutive invasions of
      Cyprus in the Summer of 1974, claims that ‘Cyprus is a case study of ethnic
      conflict’ and that the problem as such was not in his ‘general scheme of
      things’ in 1973-74. Cyprus is portrayed by Kissinger as a forerunner of the
      post-Cold War ethnic conflict in the Balkans and elsewhere, while himself
      refusing all responsibility.
      Recently declassified material in the Public Record Office in London and
      the US State Department suggests the opposite. The account by Brendan
      O’Malley and Ian Craig on The Cyprus Conspiracy; America, Espionage and the
      Turkish Invasion (London: I.B. Tauris, 1999) makes crystal clear that the
      invasion and ethnic partition of the island was not a failure of American
      diplomacy but the implementation of a long-standing plan (we are delighted
      to acknowledge that both authors have kindly accepted to contribute to the
      journal in one of its forthcoming issues).
      Andreas Theophanous, who makes use of The Cyprus Conspiracy, examines the
      issue of Cyprus from a different analytical angle. After having given
      reliable background information on the subject, he looks at the
      relationship between Cyprus and the EU in order to pave his way for an
      informed Constitutional proposal, a blueprint for policy-makers in settling
      the issue of the divided island within the framework of the EU’s acquis
      communataire once and for all. Clearly, Theophanous insists that Turkey’s
      position for considering the island as her strategic underbelly and,
      therefore, as militarily exploitable, has been the only serious difficulty
      in all internationally negotiated efforts since 1959-60. In point of fact,
      Theophanous implicitly says that, at least in the case of Cyprus, Turkey
      exercised foreign policy and diplomacy directly via her military and this
      is the major obstacle for putting forward any viable solution of the Cyprus
      problem. Theophanous’ Constitutional proposal is a federal option,
      politically negotiated, which would give both ethnic communities enhanced
      administrative powers and security within the EU. In this context, and
      given the tensions in the southern flank of NATO composed of Greece and
      Turkey, as well as the recent bombing of Serbia last year, the review
      article by Charles Silva on NATO’s enlargement reads with great interest.
      The journal introduces the new section ‘South European modernity’ inviting
      writers from every spectrum of social sciences to contribute. In this
      issue, Giulio Sapelli sets the tone of the discussion with a comprehensive
      sociological essay on social life and action in Mediterranean towns. A wide
      range of issues are thus opened: the relative economic split between
      northern and southern Europe; the family as a welfare unit; the
      ‘corporatist-clientelistic’ nature of the political game in Spain,
      Portugal, Greece, Italy and Turkey as opposed to the more sophisticated
      bureaucracies of northern Europe and the USA, which are somewhat capable of
      institutionalising corruption and ‘lobby-politics’. And the list is really
      endless if one takes a comparative look at the issues of transition to
      democracy in southern Europe, eastern Europe and Latin America, or the
      ‘Euro-Mediterranean’ partnership project of the EU launched in Barcelona in
      1995. From this perspective, the article by John Hickman and Chris Little
      in the ‘Policy-making’ section, which makes a successful and enlightening
      comparison between the Romanian and Spanish electoral systems, heralds an
      equally promising start.

      Vassilis Fouskas
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