Return of the Balkans: Challenges to European Integration and U.S. Disengagement
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For the first time in its modern history the entire Balkan Peninsula has the opportunity to co-exist under one security and developmental umbrella combining NATO and the European Union (EU). Unfortunately, European and American leaders have been unable to complete such a unique historic vision, while the progress of several Western Balkan countries continues to be undermined by a plethora of political, social, economic, ethnic, and national disputes. This monograph focuses on the escalating security challenges facing the Western Balkans, assesses the shortcomings and deficiencies of current international engagement, considers future prospects for U.S. military involvement, and offers recommendations for curtailing conflict and promoting the region’s international institutional integration. In particular, to prevent the future deployment of U.S. forces, more comprehensive strategic intelligence gathering is needed, together with the identification of local and foreign political actors promoting instability, early warning signals regarding impending conflicts, and a commitment to incorporate all countries in the region into NATO and the EU.