INSECURITY AND COÖPERATION: YUGOSLAVIA AND THE BALKANS

The fruits of détente in Europe are now being gathered. West German Chancellor Willy Brandt has completed his triad of treaties with former enemies in Moscow, Warsaw and East Berlin, The accord on West Berlin has confirmed that city's status and removed it, for the present at least, as a possible flashpoint of war. President Richard Nixon has made his voyage to Moscow to proclaim with the Soviet leaders a new era in Soviet-American relations, on which the return visit now sets its seal. Visions of sugarplums dance in the heads of Soviet planners and Western businessmen. Détente, of course, does not have the same purposes for all concerned, and some may find its fruits bitter or the sugarplums unripe. Nevertheless, as all prepare to sit down together in Helsinki at a conference on security and coöperation, the cold war seems far away.

These agreements, with all due reservations on the Western side, have the effect of nailing down the status quo-recognizing the consequences of the Second World War, as the Soviet pronouncements put it-in the central part of the continent. Basically they provide a settlement of the problems which have been at the heart of the 25-year tension of the cold war. Many uncertainties remain, of course, for the dynamism of politics on both sides of the East-West line will continue. Yet neither concern for the future nor legitimate skepticism about the present should overshadow what Brandt, Nixon and Soviet Party chief Brezhnev have done. Negotiations have produced agreements. Coöperation is developing. The main front in Central Europe is being stabilized.

Almost unnoticed is the contrast with the area to the south, where the Soviet security system has undergone serious erosion over the years. There the Kremlin's policies have been more flexible, and also less predictable. Why was it that the Soviets, who reacted firmly and with force in East Germany (1953), Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968), and would have done so in Poland (1956, 1970) had they felt their primacy really in peril there, let Yugoslavia and Albania go without a fight and have tolerated serious deviations in foreign policy on the part of Romania?

One can find good reasons. Stalin thought he could dispose of Yugoslavia's Tito by other means, and he did not want to risk a military move of uncertain consequences in view of America's hardening policies at that time. A decade later, Khrushchev tried to unhorse the Hoxha regime in Albania by subversion, but when that attempt failed he could not send in troops without violating the territory of Yugoslavia and consequently did nothing. As for Romania, a proper sense of caution in Bucharest keeps the challenge within limits, for the country is next door to the Soviet Union and could be chastised in short order if the Kremlin really thought it necessary. But it is a challenge none the less, in its basis the same as those of Yugoslavia and Albania: the primacy of national independence over proletarian internationalism, Moscow-style. That is an issue on which no national-minded East European Communist régime can relax with full confidence in its international rights or its proletarian credentials.

The Soviet leadership has not forgotten that at the height of the crisis over Czechoslovakia in 1968 both Tito and Romania's President Ceau?escu made ostentatious visits to Prague to embrace the then Party chief Alexander Dub?ek, raising visions of a resurrected Little Entente outside the Soviet fold. Nor have the leaders of Yugoslavia and Romania forgotten that the Soviets ostentatiously used both Hungarian and Bulgarian forces in the assault on Czechoslovakia. The scare felt in Belgrade and Bucharest after August 21 was real. Both Tito and Ceau?escu took the occasion to reject the proposition that has come to be known as the Brezhnev Doctrine, and this fundamental disagreement remains between them and the Kremlin, no matter how many fraternal greetings and harmonious communiqués are issued on the occasion of official visits.

The basic Soviet concern for the behavior of Communist nations in the Balkans can only have been increased by two developments in recent years, which give the region a greater importance in relation to conflicts in which the Soviet Union finds itself engaged with its two major rivals.

First, the progress of détente in Europe presents a contrast to the continuing tension and cold war in the Middle East, where the Soviet Union's expanding interests in the Arab world and its military presence in the Mediterranean lend a new significance to the countries which lie along its routes of access to those regions. Not only has this consideration led to more flexible policies toward Turkey and Greece, regardless of the character of the régimes in these two states; it has led also to a renewed concern with the strategic location of Yugoslavia and Albania. The Soviet Union has an obvious interest in unquestioned use of Yugoslav airspace and in naval facilities on the Adriatic coast, especially at its former submarine base in Albania's Valona Bay. The Mediterranean naval squadron, meanwhile, adds a threat from the south to complement the pressure of Soviet forces from the north.

Second, China has made her presence felt on the European scene precisely in those states of southeastern Europe whose main concern is to be independent of Soviet control. For the Soviet leaders, little Albania in its role of Chinese ally and propagandist was a minor nuisance which could be shrugged off or ridiculed. But Romania's exploitation of the Soviet-Chinese split, especially Ceau?escu's showy visit to China in 1971, was a real annoyance. And with the establishment of normal relations between Belgrade and Peking they could see in their more imaginative moments the whole Balkan area gradually being painted Chinese red. Not that China could provide much actual help to a small European country under the Soviet gun. Distant water will not quench fire, as Chou En-lai has remarked. But China's political presence is not to be denied.

With all this in mind, the Soviet leaders may not want the same international seal of approval on conditions in the southeast-these including not only the consequences of the Second World War but of the events of 1948-that they plainly seek for the rest of Eastern Europe. The contrast between the two areas raises for them the old question which 25 years of living with the fact of Titoism in Yugoslavia have not resolved. Will the new system of European security, which has so often been talked about in the past few years without anyone being clear as to the form it will take, sanctify the right of an East European Socialist state to have an independent foreign policy, or by accepting a Soviet sphere of influence deny it? Poland and Czechoslovakia and Hungary, for obvious reasons, are not posing that question now. In this year of détente and Soviet reasonableness it is not certain that Yugoslavia or Romania will pose it clearly either. But all those who will be signing pledges and declarations on European security should be aware of it.

At the present stage of Soviet policy caution seems to prevail over the spirit of adventure. The stake in improved relations with the United States is higher than even the optimists in Washington suspected a year or two ago, and there is no sign of Soviet readiness to jeopardize it by provoking a crisis in southeastern Europe. On the other hand, there is little sign of Western readiness to be provoked. One must ask whether the Soviets-cautious as their overall policy may now be-could resist trying to change the situation if they got the chance. The temptation may exist especially in Yugoslavia, ruled by a man over 80 and racked in the last two years by serious internal problems.

II

It is popular nowadays to play guessing games on the subject of Yugoslavia after Tito and to predict major crises both internal and international. Outsiders would do well to recall that Tito and his countrymen have made a practice of confounding self-appointed prophets and judges. Yet it is bootless to deny that Yugoslavia today is undergoing severe stress, even before Tito leaves the scene.

The basic causes lie in history, both recent and remote. Without minimizing its remarkable economic growth, Yugoslavia is not an advanced industrial country like Czechoslovakia. Without slighting the achievement of having held its nationalities together after the fratricidal conflicts of World War II, it can never achieve the solidity of a national state like Poland or Hungary. These handicaps give the society no wide margins of resiliency, and the very success of its bold reforms and new institutions has often added to the strain.

Economic, social and political developments have reacted upon each other, often in unexpected ways, as the country sought its undefined and unattainable goal of a proper balance between central authority (whether of party or of government) and the many other points to which power has been flowing under constitutional and other reforms: workers' councils, plant managers, banks and commercial entrepreneurs, local communities, and most important of all, the governments and party organizations of the six constituent republics and two autonomous regions. The combination of market socialism with "socialist self-management" has produced economic growth and an expansion of economic and political freedom. But the historic discord among nationalities, especially between Serbs and Croats, has meanwhile regained much of its old virulence, making the economic and social problems more difficult to solve and raising profound questions of political philosophy and public morale.

These ostensibly domestic issues go hand in hand with those of foreign policy. Underlying the entire performance of Tito and his régime has been their struggle against Soviet attempts to destroy the country's independence (coupled with a desire to be accepted as a Socialist state on their own terms) and their record of advantageous economic coöperation with the West without political conditions. Yugoslavia leaned to the West in periods when pressure was on from the East, but on issues of colonialism and Western imperialism it did not hesitate to follow a course parallel to Moscow's. The struggle with Stalin and with the Cominform, though decisively won in 1955, left a psychological heritage, evident both in the persistence of concern about "Cominformists" and in the ambiguity of Socialist Yugoslavia's relationship to "the international workers' movement." And on the other hand, while Tito and his colleagues welcomed Western economic help and accepted the steady liberalization of economic and political life which inevitably drew the country into closer ties with the West, here again attitudes were ambiguous, for the opening to the West brought not only higher living standards but also influences which some of the highest leaders, including the man at the top, found corrupting, dangerous, and the work of "the class enemy."

The conflict between "bureaucratism" and reform was central to internal developments and not unrelated to foreign policy; but the issues were rarely settled in clear-cut fashion because both tendencies were present in differing factions and in the minds of individual leaders. The adoption of the far-reaching economic reforms of 1965 and the dismissal of the country's number-one policeman, Aleksandar Rankovi?, in the following year, seemed to assure victory for liberalization and decentralization. The reforms were accompanied by additional financial assistance from the West and closer association with international economic institutions. The Yugoslavs obviously had no intention of abandoning nonalignment, but these events, capped by the shock waves of the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, seemed to indicate that their independent road to socialism, both internally and internationally, would be passing through areas of greater compatibility and association with the West, without giving cause for open rift with the East.

For the long run that may well be a sound conclusion. Yet Yugoslav history, both before and during the Tito era, shows that long-run conclusions are no key to the near future. The pendulum has swung back toward closer relations with Moscow, which has obliged by pledging $540 million in credits. And in the past year the country has been shaken by events which have called into question the capacity of its leadership, the viability of its institutions and even its ability to survive as a united state. It is more than a struggle over the succession. President Tito is not above the battle. He is in the midst of it. And the reverberations inevitably carry beyond the frontiers.

III

For the future, Tito wishes to assure to his people the unity of the country and a steady, purposeful leadership. Those two fundamental aims do much to explain his actions on economic and constitutional reform and his reaction to recent events, especially in the two largest republics, Croatia and Serbia.

The challenge which arose in Croatia in 1971, ultimately taking the form of student strikes and riots, was a direct result of the devolution of political power to Party barons in the individual republics, a resurgence of deeply rooted Croatian nationalism, and controversies over specific issues such as how much foreign exchange earned in Croatia could be spent for Croatia. That Croatia was being milked by Belgrade for the benefit of the less-developed republics was a long-standing grievance. New constitutional reforms had indeed given wide powers to the republics, and the Croatian leadership was imposing a virtual veto on federal action needed to cope with pressing economic problems affecting the whole country. Enjoying a popularity both novel and stimulating for Communist leaders, the group led by Miko Tripalo and Savka Dab?evi?-Ku?ar, who held the key Party and governmental positions, talked of Croatia's right to statehood (without defining it) and tolerated political organization and action by nationalist elements outside the Party. For Tito and the central leadership in Belgrade this was, almost by definition, counterrevolution.

Vague charges of collusion with the enemies of socialism and of Yugoslavia, with a trail of conspiracy reaching across the frontiers, were allegations rather than proven facts, but it was true that the outburst of nationalism in Croatia itself encouraged an intensification of activity among Croatian organizations abroad, most of it of fascist, ustasha inspiration, and that these organizations were operating rather openly in West Germany, the United States, and elsewhere. Some emigré leaders were boasting of their contact with Soviet agents. It may or may not be true that some part of the Soviet establishment was supporting subversion in this way; many Yugoslavs thought it was. On the official side, Brezhnev at this very time had embarked on a conciliatory line with a visit to Yugoslavia in September 1971. Since then he has been in a position to enjoy the spectacle of Titoism in trouble of its own making.

Tito acted sharply and decisively to halt the "rot" in Croatia and replace the offending leaders with others in the Croatian Party who had opposed them. He did not use the army, though he publicly said he would do so if necessary. Then began a thorough purge of the Party, the press, the universities and other suspect institutions. Whether the nationalist currents would have taken an outright separatist form was a question Tito did not wait for time to answer. He waited rather long as it was. What is certain is the shock given him by the whole affair and his determination that it never will happen again. In this he is probably wrong. Croatian nationalism will not be easily disposed of by Tito, any more than it was by King Alexander and his successors before World War II.

The Croatian affair of 1971 is intimately related, though not strictly comparable, to the critical situations which later arose in other republics, especially Serbia, where Tito ousted much of the top leadership in the early autumn of 1972. The Party leadership in Serbia headed by Marko Nikezi? had no dreams of separate statehood nor did it encourage any revival of "Greater Serbianism" to take advantage of the tribulations of the Croats. Nikezi? had succeeded in greatly reducing the influence of the old guard, those of the Rankovi? stripe-that indeed was the main task Tito had put him there to accomplish. Precisely why Tito, in the early autumn of 1972, chose to crack down on the leadership in Serbia and elsewhere is not entirely clear even now. No doubt he was extremely touchy after the experience with Croatia and worried about disintegrative influences. Nikezi? had been a believer in liberalization, including greater freedom of expression, and Stane Kav?i?, the deposed leader in Slovenia, an advocate of looking westward.

Tito was also impatient with inflation and other economic troubles, which the post-1965 reforms had not touched or had made worse. He was increasingly critical, as were many others, of the uneven distribution of new wealth. Banks, commercial firms and entrepreneurs, the most conspicuous of them in Belgrade, were encouraged by the reforms and the new market socialism to do profitable business, and they did, enriching themselves in the process. Mercedes cars, summer villas, expense-account living, all became symbols of status, a status to which a factory hand in this "workers' society" could not aspire. Corruption was not the big issue, of course, and served mainly to provide scapegoats for those engaged in more serious disputes, but it sharpened the antagonisms between nationalities and to many it seemed but another symptom of a society losing its way.

Tito's answer to a vexing and displeasing situation was the almost visceral reaction of an old-fashioned Communist: the central authority of the Party had been eroded; the thesis of the Party as an educational rather than a commanding force had been proved wrong; unless order and discipline could be restored, the country would be threatened with internal disintegration and external perils. Tito was not alone in his reaction, of course. Other Party leaders had similar thoughts, as did many more once his decision was taken. Indeed, the inability of the country's political institutions to deal with its real problems and the growing acrimony among national groups had already convinced many Yugoslav citizens that "something must be done." And so great was the prestige and power of the President that few were in a position or of a mind openly to question his way of doing it. With the spirit of enforced conformity in high gear, relatively new and ambitious Party leaders are heading the drive against the excesses of liberalization and the organizations and individuals tainted with it. A number of prominent leaders, some of them long associated with Tito, have stepped, or been pushed, aside as the campaign goes on. The list includes three former Ministers of Foreign Affairs: Ko?a Popovi?, Nikezi? and Mirko Tepavac.

Perhaps this desperate attempt to find in a revived Communist Party the answer to the many problems of a society in midpassage may be justified if it holds the country together at a time of incipient crisis. One may question, however, how much it can do to solve the problem of discordant nationalities or how it squares with the continued commitment to market socialism. One may question, as well, whether it strengthens the country's international position, although Tito has made clear that one strong reason for his new centralism at home is to ward off all perils from abroad, and that he is not joining anybody's camp. The problems of the succession when they come may be even more acute than if Tito had not taken the course he has chosen over the past two years.

IV

The time of succession will not inevitably bring political breakdown or intervention from outside. Yugoslavia's peoples, after all, have held together for over half a century except for the four years when they were torn apart by Hitler and his allies. Yet this will be inherently the severest of tests for the régime and the country. The constitutional arrangements, which include a collective presidency of 22 members (plus Tito) and a Party presidium of 52, all republics having equal representation, offer little assurance. The key may lie in the effective coöperation of Tito's closest associates, Edvard Kardelj (a Slovene), Vladimir Bakari? (the veteran Croatian politician), and representative leaders from Serbia, with the younger men like Stane Dolanc, who are now gaining power in the central Party apparatus. If the nationalist-centralist split reappears in Croatia, however, or if the army (which is mainly Serb) is called in, a real break between Serbia and Croatia is conceivable. It could tempt a foreign power to woo the Croats with promised help for independence or the Serbs with support for Serbian hegemony over all of Yugoslavia, and could tempt one or the other to accept it.

A more likely contingency is that people and Party will not stand together behind a centralized Party leadership; they did in 1948, but much has happened to both in the intervening years. And if they do not, there will have to be a new set of bargains on which the country's unity can rest: bargains between Party chieftains in the various republics, and probably also bargains between Party leaders and those who represent other forces in society. It could be a time of vulnerability to outside pressure.

It is unquestionably in the interest of the Yugoslav peoples to be allowed to work out their own political and social system without pressure or interference from outside. It is surely in the interest of other states in that region not to be drawn in, either by their own ambitions or by those of larger powers with which they are aligned. Finally, it is in the interest of European security and of world peace that those larger powers do not themselves intervene, directly or indirectly.

How are these dangerous possibilities to be avoided? Not by putting Yugoslavia and her succession crisis on the agenda of the United Nations or of a conference on European security. Yet the problem is one of pledges and understandings in which states other than Yugoslavia must have a part. The simplest and probably the most effective action can be taken by two men, President Nixon and Secretary Brezhnev. If security in Europe is of importance to the two powers in their present global relationship, then it should be worth the effort for a specific understanding on Yugoslavia by which each would make clear its intention not to intervene in that country. A tacit or unannounced agreement might be as effective as a formal one. Even the proposal by one party of such an agreement could have the salutary effect of putting the other on notice that any intervention on its part would not be ignored or passively accepted.

Such self-denying ordinances would be in perfect accord with Yugoslavia's proclaimed policy of nonalignment, to say nothing of her right of sovereignty. They would confirm the facts of the balance of power in that area as they exist today. And finally they would be suitable to the situation whether the assumption is the continuance of the blocs or their transformation through détente.

European members of NATO could help by stating their opposition to any intervention in Yugoslavia. That might serve as an additional warning and a signal that European nations have a proper concern with containing crisis and violence anywhere on their own continent. But the most constructive diplomacy Western Europe can offer lies beyond the immediate question of Yugoslavia and rather in a broadening of relations with the countries of southeastern Europe. Here much depends on the general progress of détente, or whether and how the countries of Western and Eastern Europe find common ground. Some new equilibrium may be possible, one which combines a freer scope for political aspirations and economic advancement with increased security for all concerned. The big question is whether that conception would be entertained for a moment by the Soviet Union.

V

To put it bluntly, security in the Balkans depends primarily on how the Soviet Union defines the requirements of its own security and world role. Let us assume that, whatever further progress is made toward stabilization in Europe, the Soviets will wish to limit sharply Western influence in the Socialist countries (including Yugoslavia) for security reasons and to protect their home front against contagion. Let us assume also that they will regard the Mediterranean and the Middle East as an area where they must project Soviet power in order to compete with America and with China. That is not an inaccurate description of what Soviet aims and policies have been for some years past. Will they bring greater or less insecurity in the future?

The answers to that question have a great deal to do with the so-called Brezhnev Doctrine but they cannot be found in any interpretation of its texts. The Kremlin may be moved to expand its area of control, or it may come to tolerate more independence for small nations. Despite the current vogue for détente based on the status quo, matters are not likely to stand where they are.

The communization of the Balkans-the expected result of the extension of Soviet power into that region in the closing stages of World War II-could perhaps be described more accurately in practice as the Balkanization of communism. Titoism was, moreover, the progenitor of a widespread phenomenon which fractured the Communist world. But it had a special meaning in its immediate vicinity, where strategic implications and ideological questions took the shape of a real-life political struggle within and across frontiers. We have seen also that, in contrast to what happened in central Europe, Russia has stayed her hand, and the issue remains. Geography and political circumstance may favor the assertion of independence in some cases and not in others, but the idea of national interest is no less real in Romania and Bulgaria, which are still within the Soviet alliance system, than in Yugoslavia and Albania, which are not.

The case of Romania deserves close scrutiny, which is what the Soviets have been giving it ever since the late Party chief Gheorghiu-Dej was able to persuade Khrushchev to take his troops out of the country in 1958. They have tolerated Romania's deviations and challenges on important international issues because they saw in them no mortal threat, but not without some gnashing of teeth over the consequences. Politically, the Romanians have treated the myth of the unity of the Socialist camp with contempt; they follow the line when it suits them and not when it does not. Militarily, they have weakened the Warsaw Treaty by limiting their participation in it, especially by refusing to permit maneuvers by treaty forces on Romanian soil.

Romania's independent line is now rooted in national policies of economic development which reject any real integration with the U.S.S.R. and other members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance; in international positions which have paid off both in material ways and in prestige; and in more than a decade of successful practice. President Ceau?escu has not hesitated to parade before the world his cordial relations with the United States and with China, and though he has not drawn from those relations all the political and economic benefits he hoped for, they have given him leverage in dealing with Moscow. Of course, he and the Soviet leaders are still able to be useful to each other in various ways, and both prefer the present modus vivendi rather than pushing their differences to a crisis point. In the past year, Ceau?escu has even trimmed his sails a bit, as economic problems and the general progress of détente between the Soviet Union and the West have worked to Romania's disadvantage. In contrast to Czechoslovakia in 1968, moreover, nothing in Ceau?escu's domestic policies seems to alarm the Soviets. His theme of nationalism strikes a popular note with the people, but Romanian socialism shows no sign of putting on a human face.

The importance of Romania and Yugoslavia to each other is self-evident. Each is convinced that a Soviet intervention in the other would soon be followed by the end of its own independence. Tito and Ceau?escu have met on numerous occasions. The two countries, traditional friends long before they acquired Communist governments, have expanded their economic relations, built jointly the huge new dam at the Danube's Iron Gates, and multiplied the visits of Party and cultural delegations. Both have sought increased trade with the West and participation in the work of international economic organizations such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the International Monetary Fund, still shunned by the Soviet Union and most other East European countries. Both, too, have been recognized as mavericks by the Soviet Union in its ceaseless efforts to line up Communist governments and Parties in a united front against imperialists, revisionists, dogmatists and other enemies.

Tito and Ceau?escu have been careful not to appear to be concerting their strategy against the Soviet Union. Tito is ever conscious of Romania's more exposed position as a neighbor and military ally of the Soviet Union. Ceau?escu has not had the free hand that his Yugoslav counterpart has had as spokesman and champion of the nonaligned, but he has gone Yugoslavia one better as a deviationist on a number of international matters, such as maintaining relations with Israel. Their solidarity with each other is most evident when one leader or the other expounds the fundamentals of his country's policy: national sovereignty, the inviolability of frontiers, nonintervention, the equality of nations large and small. That the Soviets preach the same principles does not put off the Yugoslavs and the Romanians, whose proposals on European security include some more pointed and specific items including a ban on military maneuvers and the massing of troops near international frontiers. Romania, at the preparatory sessions for the conference on security in Europe, deliberately stepped to the fore by insisting that the procedures recognize the absolute equality of all participating states regardless of size, structure or membership in military blocs.

VI

If events are allowed to drift, we may see a series of shocks and conflicts in the Balkan-Eastern Mediterranean region bound to increase both local and global insecurity, with the Soviets seeking every opportunity to make events work for them. Violence between Israel and her Arab enemies is but one of the dangers. The heating up of unsettled disputes in Cyprus and the prospects of internal strife in Greece and Turkey are others. Such events may lead the Soviets to reassess their requirements for military deployment in the Balkans, to take steps against Yugoslavia or Romania they have avoided to date, or to seek a more favorable position at the Turkish Straits. Their transparent intention to keep troops in Hungary is not unrelated to these contingencies. This is a time, moreover, when the freer play of Balkan politics can revive some of the deep-seated national conflicts which have plagued that area in the past.

Just as within Yugoslavia the Serb-Croat struggle seems to be regaining its old intensity, so could relations among the Balkan nations again be inflamed by Hungarian aspirations in Romanian Transylvania, Bulgarian ambitions in Yugoslav Macedonia or in Greece, or Albanian claims to Yugoslavia's Kosmet area with its Albanian majority. Great danger lies in any attempt by an outside power to take advantage of these antagonisms. Stalin tried it in the course of his all-out efforts to bring down Tito. His successors have on occasion, as a means of pressuring Yugoslavia, encouraged Bulgarian chauvinism in regard to Macedonia. If they choose this path in the future, it can have disastrous consequences for the nations of the region and for world peace. The same can be said about any Western attempts to exploit old Balkan territorial conflicts as a means of striking at the Soviet Union.

In the light of all these considerations, two subjects now on the world's diplomatic agenda assume added importance. The first is security, coöperation and the reduction of arms and force levels in Europe, under discussion at Vienna, Helsinki and presumably elsewhere in the years just ahead. The second is the promotion of peace and political quiet in the eastern Mediterranean, the area which the highest officials in both Washington and Moscow have termed the most dangerous in the world. The Yugoslavs are absolutely right in their view that European security is not separable from the security of the Mediterranean. And the two superpowers, in tackling the latter subject, will be absolutely wrong if they think that agreement on keeping the Arab-Israeli conflict within bounds is all they need to do.

In time the entire area of the Balkans and the Middle East will take on new shapes and forms as international relations evolve. Who can be sure that, five or ten years hence, NATO and the Warsaw Pact will have their present structure, or will be looked on in the same way? In this regard the Balkan states have already taken some steps indicating a sense of common interest among themselves. In the past few years Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey have created a network of bilateral and multilateral arrangements in commerce, culture, tourism and other fields. Albania, which recently renewed relations with Greece (after more than 30 years) and restored full diplomatic ties with Yugoslavia, has had some part in this movement. One can be skeptical, after what happened to comparable movements for Balkan unity which appeared fitfully between the many wars those nations have fought. Yet the idea has persisted throughout a period of ideological conflict in which the group of six has included a nonaligned state, two members of the Warsaw Pact with differing ideas of allegiance to it, one ally of China, and two members of NATO.

In the days of high cold war, proposals for a special Balkan combination or zone of one sort or another bore the mark of the times. In 1954 a Balkan alliance linking Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey was concluded with NATO's blessing. It was denounced by the Soviet Union and its then Balkan allies as directed against them (as indeed it was in a defensive sense), and in fact did not survive Yugoslavia's retreat from tentative collaboration with the West into more rigid nonalignment. Then came Romania's proposal in 1957 for an atom-free zone in the Balkans, including Greece and Turkey. It was plain to all that this was in reality a Soviet proposal, to which Romanian Premier Stoica attached his name; soon thereafter, Khrushchev made similar proposals, one of which also included Italy. The objective was to weaken NATO by barring nuclear weapons from the territory of some of its members, while in the Soviet-dominated Balkan states the situation would remain unchanged. So the Western response was negative.

The Stoica proposal of 1957 has been renewed in recent years by Romania. The lineal connection is often stressed, as it is useful to associate the Soviet government with an idea that Moscow has never repudiated. But the difference in time and circumstance is not to be overlooked, and there are significant embellishments including suggestions for organized economic, cultural and eventual political coöperation in the region. Such a proposal coming from the Ceau?escu government is intended to serve Romania above all, but also Yugoslavia and any other state interested in seeing that Soviet power in the region does not go unbalanced and unchecked. Bulgaria, now closely tied to Russia, is a special case. Throughout its modern history it has sought the protection of a great power because of its conflicts with its neighbors. A genuine reconciliation with them could have its effect over time.

The future policies of Greece and Turkey and their requirements for security are another matter. To what extent they will seek new regional relationships as useful substitutes for the old ties with NATO and with the United States remains to be seen, All we need say here is that no one's eyes should be closed to such possibilities. It is some distance, in any event, from the regional concept and the present tentative commercial and other ties to the effectiveness of common policies in providing security. No nation has to abandon alliance ties before they are obsolete. The danger lies in having no alternative to them when they become so.

A respectable degree of regional cohesion, combined with a tacit code of nonintervention by outside powers, is the kind of pattern that may be emerging in other areas of the world such as Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Persian Gulf. It is still a rather nebulous concept for those regions, and to envisage it for a group of nations so close to the U.S.S.R. and including members of the "Socialist Commonwealth" requires more than a little imagination. Yet it is not unimaginable that the Balkan nations may increase, inch by inch, their cohesion and their ability to act in their own behalf; that a network of peaceful economic and other relationships between them and the rest of Europe will grow up, which no one will want to destroy; and that the weight of the United States and of China in the world balance, though neither attempts to build a specific anti-Soviet grouping in the area, can have some restraining influence on Soviet decisions. For a complex border region which has never known security it may be the only way out.

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