Sunday, July 08, 2012

"The Fall of Yugoslavia" by Misha Glenny [24]

Epilogue 1996 [continued]

The next fourteen pages [248-262] recount the situation in the Macedonian Republic throughout the period 1992-1996. The discussion is fairly balanced; Glenny does an admirable job of explaining that Macedonian Slav national identity is both historically recent and legitimate, and I give him credit for that. Being that the worst of his fears regarding Macedonia thankfully have not come to pass (and he wrote this several years before the Kosova war), there is little need to consider this section at length.

I will note that when considering Greek opposition to Macedonian national identity, he takes Greek "fears" of Macedonian expansionism a little too much at face value. Even though he does make the case that Tito once used Macedonian nationalism as an excuse for territorial expansion in the early years of his rule, he is far too quick to forgive ridiculous arguments about Hellenic supremacy and dubious ties to Alexander the Great at face value. He criticizes Macedonian soccer fans for nationalist displays at a game against Cypus, without considering that these displays were perhaps more a function of defiance rather than provocation.

As with Serbian nationalist attitudes towards Bosnian independence, Glenny seems to regard Greek nationalist "fears" regarding Macedonian independence as the default position from which any discussion of the issue should start. And his discussion includes absolutely no consideration of official Greek attitudes towards non-Greek minorities and how that might influence the situation.

All in all, it seems that had armed conflict broken out in Macedonia, Glenny's attitude toward the situation might have been quite similar, although he seems to have a higher opinion towards Kiro Gligorov than he had for Alija Izetbegovic. But having spent far more time than I intended on this book, I won't extend any further time or space on a hypothetical.

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