By Prof. Raymond Tanter, John Psarouthakis
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Additional info for Balancing in the Balkans
Partly because of Bonn’s tilt toward Zagreb, Germany argued that recognizing Croatia and Slovenia’s independence was a way to bring an end to the fighting. Germany formally proposed recognition of Slovenia and Croatia at the European Community Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of July 4, 1991. The Community initially rejected the suggestion and Paris led the opposition to the recognition option. By the end of July, however, Bonn moved again and prospects for recognition increased due to an aborted coup in Moscow in August 1991.
The end result was that there was no diplomatic solution. Differences among the Great Powers exacerbated ethnic antagonisms among the local actors. Bonn, London, and Paris each had their favorite faction within Yugoslavia. The conflict in Europe was primarily between France and Germany, but there also were disputes involving Britain. Such intra-alliance disagreements lowered the credibility of the Western resolve. The lack of resolve and the absence of force regarding Yugoslavia derived from a preoccupation among the European states to maintain a balance of power among themselves rather than to resolve conflicts in Yugoslavia.
Hence, there was less information about Croatia’s attitude toward secession. Because of wishful thinking, Western policymakers tended to discount the ethnic tensions dividing the country. Eagleburger’s preference for Serbia and Baker’s visit to Belgrade during the summer of 1991 indicated that the United States refused to recognize the clear move toward ethnic separatism throughout the country. The Baker-Eagleburger diplomatic approach reinforced Serbian military power. Absent the military capabilities of outside powers, the Serbian army looked formidable in contrast to the forces of the other republics.