The Balkans


I've been working on south-eastern Europe for more than a decade, and lived in Kosovo for much of the last half dozen years. Articles and reviews, on the history and culture of the region and on international intervention, have been published in a variety of magazines and sites over the years. Here are links to a couple of examples:


  1. -‘Ask not what the EU can do for you’ was a comment piece looking at Kosovo’s stuttering progress towards the European Union, and the first signs of doubt about its benefits. ‘From Kosovo to Kabul’ considers the lessons of the intervention for other international adventures.


  1. -‘The beginning and the end of humanitarian intervention?’ was published in Defence & Security Analysis journal and is available through Taylor and Francis online. When Tony Blair and Bill Clinton led the world into Kosovo in 1999, it seemed to be the first of a new breed of interventions embodying Britain's 'ethical foreign policy' and the doctrine of just humanitarian action set out by the British Prime Minister in his famous Chicago speech, and building on American regret about non-intervention in Rwanda. A decade later, the NATO engagement in Kosovo seemed more likely to have been the first and last of its kind, a kind made possible by the perceived failures in Bosnia and now made impossible by the perceived failures in Afghanistan and Iraq. The article reviews the Kosovo intervention as an apparently clear example of 'force for good': the threat and use of force, with limited actual commitment of materiel and relatively limited human cost, to remedy a clear example of human suffering and to bring stability and democracy. The chapter reviews the ways in which the success was achieved. It also suggests various aspects of the intervention which were not so successful. The exploration of the apparent successes and the consideration of the failures offer a new synthesis of argument on what makes for effective intervention, and on the limits to the good that force can do.


In the last year or so I’ve spoken to audiences including the University of Westminster seminar series on international intervention, under the title 'The whore of the ages: 100 years of not learning from Balkan interventions' (here’s the whole thing on youtube), and the European Conference of the International Society for Military Ethics, on 'Object lesson or subject people?: on the receiving end of the responsibility to protect'.


Latest contribution is ‘Mice in the Pot: International Inverventions and Balkan Realities’ in Albania and the Balkans: Essays in Honour of Sir Reginald Hibbert, edited by James Pettifer through Elbow Publishing.



For the work of The Ideas Partnership in Kosovo, have a look at our dedicated site.


For some translations of poetry from the Albanian, you should be over here.