Any further negotiations with Dodik, which tolerate his insults, threats and the collapse of the Dayton Accord, which is guaranteed by the world's greatest powers, and offer compromises based on Dodik's and Dragan Covic's demands, supported by Zagreb and Belgrade, which reduce to changes of the electoral law of BiH, ignoring the judgments of international courts – is not the defeat and humiliation of Bosnia and Herzegovina but those Western politicians and politicians who deviate from their principles, which can have far-reaching consequences for them.
The Polish border has been attacked for the first time in 30 years and its security is seriously threatened. Alarming messages from Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki followed reports that 2,000 migrants from Belarus are crossing the Polish border, breaking through army and police cordons. Speaking about the problems that Poland is facing these days, the Prime Minister said that this is a new type of war in which people are used as human shields, claiming that the play was designed to create chaos in the European Union, which he directly accused Russia and Belarus of, that is, the Belarusian authoritarian president who has the support of Vladimir Putin, whom Morawiecki claimed to orchestrate this complete crisis, conceived in Moscow.
The "attack on Poland" is taking place in the midst of the great energy crisis in Europe, the enormous increase in Russian gas prices on which the European Union depends (whose price is growing in proportion to pressure to put Nord Stream 2 into operation), and problems with suppliers, mostly from China, which is why European producers already have damages measured in millions of euros, while the prices of goods and services are rising.
Merkel's role in bringing the EU closer to Russia and China
At the same time, internal political divisions in Europe are becoming more pronounced. The unity of Europe, which was its greatest strength, has been seriously undermined. Accumulated problems that have been pushed under the rug for years, selective ad hoc solutions that give half or no results, policies without clear visions and strategies, the dominance of neoliberal capitalism over the values on which the European Union is built - democracy, rule of law, human rights, all weaknesses that the Russian Federation has used and is using to strengthen its position on the geopolitical scene.
The European Union has never been bigger and weaker, and so far there is no adequate response to the Russian doctrine of the new foreign policy, nor the soft influence that is spreading more and more in Europe. The period without a strong US presence in Europe, imposed by Trump, has taken a serious toll, which is why both the EU and (Biden's) America, which has "returned", have a serious job ahead of it.
With the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, most members of the former Eastern bloc expected Germany to take the lead (with the support of France). But Angela Merkel's moves at the beginning of the year and at the end of her political career (which is also not insignificant) confirmed the trend that has been growing in Europe in recent years - that countries are guided primarily by their own interests. Merkel, who was known as a serious politician, did not seem to see (or did not want to see) what messages she sent with her moves, which were primarily in the interest of the German economy: from lobbying for Russia's North Stream 2 to pressure on other EU members to sign a trade agreement with China that has been the subject of a dispute between the European Union and China for years.
At the beginning of the year, while the transition of power in the USA after the elections was still going on, Merkel managed to sign a trade agreement with China, although messages came from Biden's team to wait until they enter the White House. The agreement was overturned in the European Parliament, but Merkel then lobbied Biden for support for Nord Stream 2, i.e. the lifting of sanctions, which provoked fierce reactions, primarily from Ukraine, which received a serious economic blow. On the other hand, Russia, as the exclusive supplier of gas to Europe, has secured itself through the Turkish Stream, which, despite the alternatives that have been tried in Europe in recent years, has maintained its monopoly, which allows it to continue using gas as a serious strategic tool, which is why NATO recently commented that the actual crisis with gas in Europe is a serious security question.
Support to Serbia and Croatia
In the context of events in the Western Balkans, Merkel's farewell visit to Serbia should be mentioned, from where she said that Serbia is a serious and reliable partner to Germany, thus giving full support to Aleksandar Vučić's policy, to the dismay of many because Serbia is a key source of instability in the Balkans. If not by then, then Angela Merkel's messages have certainly caused concern over the sudden interest in Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e. the candidacy and imposition of a new High Representative.
Considering that Germany provides thousands of jobs in Serbia with its investments, and that Vučić provides favourable conditions to German investors through free land and permits, and other subsidies through non-payment of electricity and the like (as, after all, to Chinese investors), which is, having in mind the problem that German suppliers face is undoubtedly of great importance, it is clear where such good Merkel-Vučić relations come from. And how, when it comes to "higher" interests, one can turn a blind eye to the political attitudes of Aleksandar Vučić and the problems he is creating in the region.
As, after all, the European Union "does not see" the policy pursued by Croatia, from denying international court rulings to supporting Milorad Dodik in overthrowing Bosnia and Herzegovina, because Croatia has long successfully solved the problem of migrants, i.e. protects the European border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sometimes by the use of force, which is documented and proven, but Croatia has never had any sanctions for that, which only confirms the tacit support of Croatia to keep migrants away from Europe in any way.
Consequences of EU policies on the Western Balkans
The economic, energy, security and political crisis of the European Union is directly reflected in the Western Balkans due to its geostrategic position, and the consequences are numerous and in the long run can cause very serious problems for both the Balkans and Europe.
Zaev's defeat in northern Macedonia in local elections and the return of (pro-Russian) VMRO-DPMNE, whose prime minister Nikola Gruevski once fled to Hungary requesting the political asylum, although an international arrest warrant was issued for him (the messages have been coming from North Macedonia that they do not expect that Hungary will protect convicted criminals, the policies pursued by Serbia and Croatia over the years to protect war criminals) have been described by many as a defeat for the EU. There is no doubt that Zaev lost the support of the citizens due to major changes in the country that did not result in opening the doors of the European Union, i.e. the problem that Bulgaria poses to Northern Macedonia, which is also related to influences from Moscow.
Incidents in Kosovo and increased pressure for the formation of Serb communities in the north of the country were met with a flat rejection by Kurti, who said he would not allow "Bosnianization" of Kosovo, clearly alluding to the problems which the entity of Republic of Srpska makes to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The changes of government in Montenegro, as it turned out very soon after the elections, are all but democratic as announced and supported by the West, because parties and individuals close to Belgrade and Moscow came to power destabilizing this country even though it is a NATO member like Northern Macedonia.
Demands for the partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the demolition of its state institutions have led to the biggest political crisis the country has faced since Dayton, sparked by the High Representative's decision to ban genocide denial and Hague tribunal rulings. Due to the fabricated crisis, instead of sanctions against those who do not respect this decision and the values of Western civilization which respects the verdicts and genocide committed in BiH, Milorad Dodik and Dragan Covic are compromised and offered political concessions to the detriment of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The policy of Belgrade and the role of Aleksandar Vučić are completely ignored, although Western analysts are increasingly dealing with that, bringing him into direct contact with what Dodik is doing and writing that Moscow is behind everything.
The Western Balkans are weapons in Russia's hands
Despite all this, the European Union said that the door to the Western Balkans was closed, which, after numerous reactions, was partially mitigated in official documents that do not bind anyone, especially not Brussels.
As the West - the United States, the European Union and NATO - seeks to find "compromise" solutions based on democratic values and reconcile them with the economic and energy crisis, Russia is using all mechanisms of a new way of warfare - led by civilian and military intelligence in order to strengthen its position in Europe, and thus geopolitically. This is confirmed by the latest developments with Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, but also certain policies of Bulgaria, Hungary and Greece. Russia’s action in Europe is aided by China’s economic influence in the meantime in the realization of its historic project known as the New Silk Road (both maritime and land).
By fomenting pan-Slavic friendship, Russia has expanded its influence, which has found particularly fertile ground in the Balkans, burdened by unresolved problems from the past and the conflicts of the 1990s for which Serbia has never acknowledged responsibility or defeat, nor has it been adequately punished before international courts. By supporting those narratives and myths that grew on both sides of the Drina in the years after the wars, Russia imposed itself as the only sincere friend of the Serbian people in the Balkans, and in return was given the opportunity to cause and control chaos through political crises through Belgrade in Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Large financial injections into Agrokor, i.e. taking over resources in Croatia from energy to drinking water sources, Russia has taken Croatia also under its control even though it is a member country of EU and NATO, encompassing its dominance in the West Balkans.
In the hands of the Russian Federation, the Western Balkans have become a weapon in the context of the new world order, which is increasingly mentioned by right-wing analysts and media praising Russia's strengthening, but also awakening ideas for rebuilding once great Austro-Hungarian empires – by the politics of Orban who is using the important geostrategic position of Hungary in the "heart of Europe", and the Ottoman, by the Erdogan's policies and moves he makes to return to Iraq, Syria, Libya, Qatar, the Balkans - in which the Western Balkans plays an important role. According to these right-wing analysts, we are witnessing the creation of a new world order in which Russia and China will dominate, and Turkey will have an important role - to the detriment of America and Europe.
Divisions in the Security Council
There is no doubt that Russia is primarily protecting its interests, i.e. withdrawing moves that correspond to its goals, and that the last session of the UN Security Council at which Bosnia and Herzegovina was discussed was only used to confront the United States, Great Britain and France with a (tacit) support for China by showing (and proving) a new bloc division of the world in which Russia plays an important role. The United Nations is a great address for this also because the current global order relies on five permanent members of the UN Security Council: the United States, the Russian Federation, China, France and the United Kingdom.
Bosnia and Herzegovina was an occasion for Russia to veto, but in essence the spears were broken around the Western Balkans and various policies that clash in it: the policies of Serbia and Banja Luka supported by Russia and China which is supporting Serbian nationalism revived through the "Serbian world" ”(Copy of the Russian world) which is nothing but a continuation of the ideology of Greater Serbia and which feeds on myths and narratives built on the denial of genocide, Hague verdicts and the glorification of war criminals. On the other hand, also the politics of Sarajevo, which advocates a civil Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country's entry into NATO and membership in the European Union, and which has the support of the United States, Great Britain and France. The conflict of these policies in the Balkans is essentially a conflict of values on which the Western world rests and the alternatives advocated by China and Russia without freedoms, democracy, human rights. The West is defending its values in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Due to all the above, it is clear that the defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e. the victory of radical policies led by Dodik and Covic, is the defeat of the entire Western world, from the European Union through the United States to the United Nations, because it violates international law, i.e. all of the values on which they are built. The eventual victory of Dodik as a Belgrade-Moscow pawn is a defeat for all Western politicians and their politicians. That is why the West should urgently change its approach, primarily for its own sake, and put on the table the only possible solution that will confirm that the decisions of international courts must be respected, that democracy (in which legitimate decisions are made by the majority) and human rights must be respected and that the rule of law is the basis of the functioning of all democratic systems. Fortunately, those who understand why the requests in BiH and in the world are so loud requesting it to be respected do not represent only a minority, while do not supporting the politics of Banja Luka and Beograd.
Any further negotiations with Dodik, which tolerate all his insults, threats and the collapse of the Dayton Accords, which are guaranteed by the world's greatest powers, and offer compromises based on Dodik's and Dragan Covic's demands, supported by Zagreb and Belgrade, are reduced to change of the BiH Election Law, which almost completely ignores the judgments of international courts - is not the defeat and humiliation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but of those Western politicians and politicians who deviate from their principles. If the verdicts of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights are not recognized and respected, it is a defeat of all values on which both the European Union and the United Nations are built on.
The chess game currently being played in the Balkans, in which Bosnia and Herzegovina is at the center, is important not only for BiH and the Balkans, but also for Europe and the whole world, because its outcome will have far-reaching consequences. This is a battle that good boys simply must not lose. And who the good boys are in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been known since the early 1990s. With his threats, Dodik only made the world remember that.