EUROPEAN CORNER

Serbs will be a minority in Serbia until the end of the century

Vučić is undermining the foundations of Serbia and the future of the Serbs as a nation because he has no realistic perception of the scale and far-reaching nature of the impending bloc division.

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Slobodan Milošević destroyed Serbia and several generations of its citizens because he did not understand that the bloc division of the world collapsed with the Berlin Wall. Serbia was the last former republic of the SFRY in which multi-party elections were held because Milošević insisted until the last moment that a democratic multi-party system was not needed and that a "pluralist" one-party system was quite sufficient for the Serbs.

Aleksandar Vučić is undermining the foundations of Serbia and the future of the Serbs as a nation because he has no realistic perception of the scale and far-reaching nature of the upcoming bloc division of the planet, turning Serbia into the only Russian "useful idiot" on the western side of the new "iron curtain" that has moved 500 kilometers to the east compared to the Cold War .

Just as Milosevic did not want to see the scope and epochal nature of the fall of the Berlin Wall, so Vučić refuses to face the scale and depth of the changes that occurred on the Old Continent with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Unlike Milošević, who only came to power when tectonic geopolitical changes occurred on the continent and the planet, Vučić has been ruling in Belgrade for more than a decade and could and had to correctly interpret the new geopolitical rearrangement.

Serbia paid for Milošević's strikingly expressed tyranny and paranoia by isolating the country, which lasted for ten years, and finally by bombing and losing Kosovo. Vučić's insistence on the outmoded and self-destructive Titoist policy of non-alignment, under the guise of the "four pillars" of foreign policy (China, Russia, the USA and the EU), will be even more disastrous. Serbia is not even Turkey, let alone Russia, to be able to afford the luxury of having a ruler like Erdogan or Putin. The West cannot isolate Turkey and Russia, but it can isolate Serbia.

One has to be geopolitically blind or completely illiterate not to understand the historical significance of Germany's severing ties with Russia, Sweden's abandonment of a two-century policy of neutrality, Finland's taking the risk of being on the front line with the Russian Federation, and Romania's determination to allow the largest NATO base on the continent. Not to mention Poland and the Baltic republics. In translation, there will be less and less understanding for Serbia if it continues to lead a Šicardžian foreign policy thinking that it is more cunning and smarter than others.

Milošević's fall lasted for a whole decade because the citizens of Serbia paid the price, isolated, robbed and exposed to all possible humiliations, starting with the fact that their salary was a few German marks, to buying gasoline in plastic bottles, to waiting in lines for kilos of flour and sugar. or in front of foreign embassies for a visa. In Milošević's Serbia, the payment of half of the pension was breaking news in Dnevnik 2 of RTS, the breaking slogan of SPS: "That's how it should be". Another isolation and ostracism from the Western world, to which it normally belongs, Serbia may overcome, but the Serbs, the best, the most capable, the best and in their best fertile years, will leave it.

When Milosevic came to power, there were about 6,5 million ethnic Serbs in the Republic of Serbia, the average Serb was about 35 years old, and the natural increase was 1,9, almost the required plus 2,1, necessary to maintain a stable population. In Vučić's Serbia, we have only 5,3 million ethnic Serbs, the average Serb is 44 years old, and the natural increase in 2021 was minus 10,9. With the average Serb well into his fifth decade of life, the tendency for the number of Serbs to decrease progressively (due to the birth rate, due to emigration) and that they are getting older, ethnic Serbs will be a national minority in Serbia by the end of this century, mostly in retirement homes.

Truth be told, the president of Serbia can still correct the route of the Serbian ship, but he will not be able to do so if he makes a strategic mistake in choosing his main ally and protector. His nervousness and insecurity are the result of the impression of losing the ground under his feet, because all the postulates on which his policy rests are called into question.

Vučić was in an ideal position until three years ago. The setting on the geopolitical planetary stage has helped him play a quadruple game and promise or tell every major planetary player what he wants to hear, be it America, the EU, Russia or China. In that ideal world for him, there was another extremely favorable circumstance, he was the perfect regional ally of Germany, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, on a common task: to slow down and make senseless the European integration of the Western Balkans. Merkel and Rute knew very well: if you stop Serbia on the way to the EU, you stop the whole region. On the other hand, it allowed official Belgrade to delay the process of normalizing relations with Pristina.

A. Merkel's departure from power and Russian aggression against Ukraine have, figuratively speaking, "turned the table". The EU replaced the policy of pragmatic relations with the Russian Federation with direct confrontation and sanctions. From being the largest commercial partner, China has become a threat to the security of the Old Continent and a disloyal competitor in the market. And what is most dangerous for the government in Serbia, the EU has changed its attitude towards the enlargement policy: from a stalled process, enlargement has once again become a geopolitical goal of the European Union.

Serbia seriously risks running out of money from the EU fund for the reforms and growth of the Western Balkans because Germany and a few other countries insist that the withdrawal of money from the fund, which has 6 billion euros, be linked to the rule of law and compliance with EU foreign policy. On the other hand, SNS is about to be suspended and on the way to being expelled from the European People's Party (EPP). The Pharaoh's welcome for the president of Bavaria, Markus Zeder, is an attempt by President Vučić to prevent such a scenario through the leader of the CSU. Let us remind you that the SNS entered the EPP, thanks to the "recommendation" of the CSU and CDU.

So, when Vučić talks about difficult times, difficult decisions and threats to vital national interests, he is referring to himself because, like any authoritarian leader, he has identified the state with himself. Those who wish Vučić well should remind him that Louis XIV did not say "The country is me", but on his deathbed in old age he uttered: "I am leaving, but the country will remain forever".

It could be said that the President of Serbia made a classic mistake defined by Abraham Lincoln through his remark: "Don't promise what you can't fulfill so that you don't have to do what you shouldn't". It is obvious that the promises have been made and now what should not be done must be done, especially before the recipients of the promises are rushed.

In politics there is one wonderful act, one could say magical, liberating: resignation! If you are not able to do the job as you thought, if you do not want to be responsible for the consequences that you cannot influence, if you do not see a way out, the magic word is resignation, because we can all be useful and no one is indispensable.

In general, Serbia often had rulers who tied their stay in power to the survival of the country. We were not lucky enough to remember the teachings of the former French Prime Minister, also a former radical like Vučić, Georges Clemenceau: "Cemeteries are full of irreplaceable people." For every politician and society, it is very healing and, if you will, relaxing deeply rooted awareness that there are no irreplaceable people, that the world will be the same without us and that power is not the only important thing in life.

In Montenegro, you know something about that, right?

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(Opinions and views published in the "Columns" section are not necessarily the views of the "Vijesti" editorial office.)