Serbia's Foreign Policy: Substance and Rhetoric

February 24, 2010 // 11:00am12:00pm

Two years after Kosovo independence, the majority of Serbs still reel with
the loss of their ancestral province and continue to resent the role the
United States played in the break-up of their country. At the same time,
most continue to support becoming part of "the West" and joining the
European Union, and are almost equally eager to strengthen their country's
political, cultural, and even military ties to the United States.

As if such contradictory positions were not enough, Serbia's leaders have
recently come up with a foreign policy claiming no less than four pillars--European, American, Russian and Chinese. Starved for cash and desperate for new investment, Serbia is trying to prove this is a workable regional strategy, and not mere posturing.

No wonder some are calling Serbia's position schizophrenic, a mission
impossible. Yet Serbia's foreign minister, Vuk Jeremic, tops the country's list of most popular politicians, and is considered to be the only one able to bridge party lines and loyalties. Serbs seem captivated by the paradox of their country inching towards EU membership with US backing, while their top diplomat invests all his energy into thwarting US ambitions to secure UN membership for America's Kosovo Albanian protégés. Is there any substance to this policy, beyond playing to the nation's sense of self-importance? How did a foreign agenda born of domestic political necessity become the bedrock of an increasingly wobbly pro-Western coalition government in Belgrade?

This event will take place in the 6th floor boardroom.

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Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Emily R. Buss // Program Assistant

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