Talk of a “greater” this or that Balkan nation-state has subsided in recent years as the region experienced the creation of ever more minirepublics—a total of eight on the territory of former Yugoslavia. This trend toward fragmentation was initiated by petty nationalists and fostered by the United States and European powers that found it convenient and desirable to dominate and exploit a bunch of fiefdoms. The outside powers reinforced the new system of minirepublics by inviting candidacy in their continental economic organization, the European Union, and their now global security organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But is “greater” gone forever from the Balkan vocabulary? It might be prudent not to banish the concept. Think of the phrase of the late Willy Brandt spoken in 1989: “Jetzt wächst zusammen was zusammen gehört”—“Now grows together what belongs together.” Applied to the Balkans in coming decades the ethnic Albanians now living in at least five Balkan states and the ethnic Serbs living in five states, as well, are developing growing kinship with their fellow nationals beyond the current frontiers and local allegiances that currently separate them.

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