Macedonia between Trump and Soros
By Alqi Koçiko
Albanian Daily News
Published January 23, 2017

In the midst
of a “reheated” Tirana-Belgrade atmosphere, where the first violin was the
prime-ministerial friendship and reciprocal promise that dialogue and efforts
of rapprochement should continue despite debate in certain issues, the incident
involving a typical nationalistic propaganda train came like thunder in clear
skies. The train took off towards, but never arrived in Mitrovica, while
another dispute’s echo could still be heard in the political space between
Tirana and Pristina: whether the Tirana PM should and how much represent and
speak on Pristina’s behalf in front of Belgrade.  



But if we
could be entitled to “get used” to such episodes coming from Serbia (firstly an
incident, then the “initiative” to calm down the spirits and the subsequent
“merits” for avoiding escalation of an unpleasant event), what passed almost
unnoticed was Serbian Foreign Minister calling Macedonia FYROM out of the blue
and suggesting that his country keep naming southern neighbors this way. How
come this bitterness of a Slavic country to another? 



Actually, in
both cases the provocation was aimed primarily at the Albanian factor and
Macedonian “victimization” was only a collateral damage. Serbia can be called
many names, but “uninformed” is not one of them; and it knows that after
president Donald Trump enters the White House, some issues left unsolved (even)
in the Balkans must be resolved.



Switching
the analysis for a while in a macro level, Trump’s claim for constructive
relations with Russia and collaboration to put an end to some of the ongoing
international crises was commented as blasphemy by many opponents; but this
moment is already gone and the odds are that practice will replace theory
pretty soon.   



And Balkan
remains one of (still) problematic and fragile regions, with Bosnia unsettled
and in continuous crisis; with Kosovo being repetitiously provoked while yet
not recognized by Russia; and Macedonia always weak and exposed not only
because is a young democracy, but having an added element of difficulty, namely
its heterogeneous population. The Serbian “specialists” kwon well that only by
provoking problems can they be part of international tables posing as part of
the solution.   



This new
picture of international relations that has just started to be drawn with the
arrival of the new American President, finds Macedonia at a really delicate
moment. The recent general elections revealed as winners (although suffering
serious electoral leakage) the nationalist Gruevski from the Slavic parties,
and Ali Ahmeti’s DUI (BDI) from the Albanian parties. Everything in their power
is being done from certain factors for this alliance to fail, and their
reasoning actually sounds… sound. The couple is of course to blame for the
situation of Albanians nowadays, as well as for Macedonians discontent toward
Gruevski. For sure Gruevski-Ahmeti are responsible and the results showed that
they were punished to a certain extent; and maybe they learned their respective
lessons. Ahmeti knows that if he lets down the Albanians one more time (as far
as the Ohrid Agreement is concerned, but also unemployment, economic situation
etc), there will not be another chance. Gruevski on the other hand, saw himself
at the cliff’s edge and common sense says he is aware of the reasons, which cannot
be scaled down only to George Soros’ name. But in the meantime, they are still
the winners. The electorally grown Zaev of LSDM, again, didn’t reach the
necessary critical mass to claim the country’s government, despite the great
support of Soros’ line in Skopje and the chain scandals that he provoked on
Gruevski’s expense.   



Ironically
enough, the Soros factor makes of Macedonia a Balkan miniature of American
developments; two so different countries where the efforts of a magnate,
philanthropist and speculator (curious how these two adjectives can stand side
by side in this case) failed glamorously the political candidates he endowed.
And given that politics and governance call for realistic and concrete
calculations which need vision, Macedonia’s Albanians must choose wisely.   



It would be
a serious blow if Kosovo’s case is not presented to the Russian-American table
as a mere invitation for Russia’s recognition; in the same way and at the same
table, it would be unfortunate that Skopje presents itself as a Soros problem
for president Trump. This is not in Albanians’ best interests. 





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