Balkan Troubles: The European Perspective and the Case for US Engagement

On May 16, the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative, in partnership with the European Fund for the Balkans, hosted a panel discussion on European perspectives regarding US engagement in the Balkans. Moderated by Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, and introduced by Igor Bandovic, senior programme manager at the European Fund for the Balkans, the panel included Dimitar Bechev, nonresident senior fellow at the Eurasia Center, Florian Bieber, director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Milan Nic, nonresident senior fellow at the Future Europe Initiative, and Majda Ruge, fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

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The Balkans: Threats to Peace and Stability

Chairman Rohrabacher on the hearing: “As the new Administration begins to put in place the pieces of their foreign policy, now is an appropriate time for Congress to reevaluate and consider our approach to the Western Balkans. I, like many observers of the region, have been frustrated by the lack of political reconciliation, economic development and stability. I fear that the status quo cannot continue indefinitely and that political backsliding is possible. This hearing will give the Subcommittee the chance to hear from both Administration officials and private experts on that current state of the region and what further actions or policy changes may be needed to ensure the Western Balkans continue to move in a direction of good governance and ethnic tolerance.”

On the occasion of the election of the Prosecutor for War Crimes of the Republic of Serbia: No discussion on the future of war crimes prosecution

On Monday, May 15th 2017, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia elected Snežana Stanojković, former Deputy Prosecutor, as the new Chief Prosecutor for War Crimes in Serbia. This position has been vacant since January 1st 2016. Human rights organizations are welcoming the election of a new Head of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP), primarily because of the importance of continuity in the domestic prosecution of war crimes, which was threatened with disruption because the appointment of a new chief prosecutor had been delayed for almost a year and a half; and also because this occasion should indicate the final start of the implementation of measures designed to increase the efficiency of this office.

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Information Warfare Versus Soft Power

CAMBRIDGE – Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election, and its suspected hacking of French President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign servers, should surprise no one, given President Vladimir Putin’s (mis)understanding of soft power. Before his re-election in 2012, Putin told a Moscow newspaper that “soft power is a complex of tools and methods to achieve foreign policy goals without the use of force, through information and other means of influence.”

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