Beyond the Balkans

Last week’s “Balkan Express” was the 278th installment I wrote for over the past seven years. I’m proud of them all, and don’t regret anything I’ve written. But as I said myself, on several occasions, this is not 1999 any more.

Not that anything has changed dramatically between last week and today: Bosnia is still a moribund artificial construct mired in ethnic hatreds and corruption; part of Serbia is still under imperial occupation, and Washington insists on making it an “independent” state. Old conflicts simmer in other places still, and new ones may spring forth at any time. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of this corner of Europe, their lives won’t be boring for a long while yet, and I will still write about that a lot.

There are, however, other issues and events I’d like to address, taking place beyond the Balkans – and therefore not being within the declared scope of “Balkan Express”: the recent death of Russia’s first president, for example, or the upcoming elections in France, or the proposed EU legislation to ban certain forms of speech. It isn’t as if I haven’t touched on some aspects of EU and American politics – that would be impossible, as conflict in the Balkans has touched upon both since its inception.

Beginning this week, I will continue covering the Balkans, but will also comment on events in Europe – both “old” and “new” – in what should be much the same column, with a different name. “Balkan Express” is now retired. Please welcome its successor, “Moments of Transition.”