The Balkans remain a very serious geopolitical situation, as Wesley K. Clark accurately described in his April 12 Thursday Opinion essay, “The trouble brewing in the Balkans.” The problems in the region are receiving little attention from the Trump administration (or the media), which is why Mr. Clark’s essay and the companion essay by Daniel Twining and Kenneth Wollack, “Democracy assistance is not meddling,” are important.
Our peer competitors (Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) are filling the vacuum created by the European Union’s lack of interest and support. Building on the many inherent tensions in the region, other nations and groups such as the Islamic State are investing energy and funds to influence these nations.
Mr. Twining and Mr. Wollack pointed out the work done by their two nongovernmental agencies to assist these countries on their roads to democracy and continued independence. In February 2004, when Macedonia’s president died in a plane crash in Bosnia, I was working with Macedonia’s ministry of defense. I was impressed with the manner in which the country responded to that tragedy and the smoothness of the government’s transition to new leadership. I wonder whether that same level of comity would be displayed today, because of the pressures and circumstance highlighted by Mr. Clark, Mr. Twining and Mr. Wollack.
Mr. Twining and Mr. Wollack and their organizations are to be commended for the assistance they are providing to help mature democratic societies in that region. Our government should be more proactive in assisting them.
David Garner, Woodbridge