Washington’s policy in the Balkans has been a failure for more than two decades. Beginning with the US-led military interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990s, the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies have made difficult situations worse. The supposedly successful Western missions merely created two economically and politically dysfunctional wards of the international community. In 2017, ethnic tensions are rising again throughout the region. US leaders need to face the sobering reality that Washington’s previous meddling has brought neither stability nor justice to the Balkans. Instead, the United States and NATO have foolishly empowered the main disruptive faction. The principal source of turmoil was never Serbian expansionism. It was—and remains—the drive by Albanian nationalists to create a Greater Albania, which would encompass sizable chunks of territory from several neighboring states. Key elements in Kosovo and Albania are pushing that agenda with renewed vigor, and the growing tensions threaten to create turmoil in multiple countries.

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