CH2 Balkanization - Balkanization The Balkans What do these...

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Balkanization? The Balkans? What do these words mean? The Balkan Burden. "The Balkans" have both geographic and geopolitical significance. Geographically, it refers roughly to the region bounded by the Adriatic Sea, the southern Carpathian Mountains, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. Geopolitically and even geo-historically, “the Balkans” have accumulated numerous and often contradictory connotations, sometimes patronizing, sometimes wistful, but often disparaging. For example, the Balkans have been described as the major crossroads between Europe and the Middle East and as a battleground between the major empires. The region has been depicted as a rich conglomerate of cultures and religions and as an ethnic and religious conflict zone. In recent years, the Balkans have been viewed as both a critical security zone and as an unstable non-European periphery. Since the Collapse of communist Europe, the "Balkans" have once again captured the headlines in the American and West European media and the attention of foreign policy makers. The concept of "Balkanization", following the disintegration of the Soviet Bloc and the collapse of the communist Yugoslav federation, has again entered the security vocabulary. It has come tosignify, much as it did at the beginning of this century, a simmering inferno of conflict and instability that no outside power can control and no local power can evidently escape.As a result, all the countries of this geographic region have been collectively framed into a geopolitical framework that no state can purportedly surmount. The pejorative "Balkan"image thus allegedly explains the often bloody "ethnic conflicts", the authoritarian regimes, the rampant criminality, the customary corruption, and the incurable economic backwardness. Ironically, it has suited two specific parties, one interested and one disinterested, to perpetuate these Balkan myths. On the one hand, the forces of nationalism, authoritarianism, and ethnic division active in parts of the region have

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