As U.S. President Joe Biden has completed his 100 days in office, it seems that his supervisors are setting foreign policy on important domestic issues. But perhaps the decline in the number of epidemics in the coming months due to the success of its vaccine could give the President a chance to reconsider foreign policy.
While Biden appears to be seeking to forge a new alliance with Iran and end the “eternal war” of the US in Afghanistan, one area that can easily be won by foreign powers and the Balkans. Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, this part of Europe is where the US military intervention in the 1990s is considered a success.
Thirty years ago, the Balkans attracted the attention of Senator Biden at the time. He strongly condemned the wars of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic by fighting and supporting US wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. For these reasons, Biden’s election last November was welcomed in both countries and brought great hope for a new US security in the region.
While other countries of the former Yugoslavia have made progress with the European Union and NATO alliances, Bosnia and Kosovo remain. Croatia is a member of both. North Macedonia recently joined forces with NATO as negotiations with the EU are expected to begin soon. Montenegro has also become a member of NATO and is currently in talks with the EU. Serbia denies leaving NATO, but is moving ahead with negotiations on a membership agreement with the EU.
This leaves Bosnia without a way to the EU or NATO anytime soon. Kosovo’s prospect of participation at the moment is far from over. To the left of the limbo, there is concern that Bosnia could be plunged into chaos due to some kind of conflict and that Kosovo’s development will be stabilized without a clear path for EU and NATO member entry.
Much of this is in line with the fact that for more than a decade the region has been largely neglected by successive U.S. regulators. Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump pursued foreign policy with no success. A meeting at the White House in September ended with Serbian and Kosovar leaders failing to address a major issue in the two countries: recognizing Kosovo’s independence.
Biden has been able to address the challenges of negligence and inadequacies in the past by taking bold action in Kosovo and Bosnia, where the US has been very pleased.
There are two steps he must take. First, Biden could force the completion of NATO-boosting operations in southeastern Europe. Kosovo is eager to join the Alliance as Bosnia has made progress, despite domestic sanctions. Many of his allies, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, want to join NATO, while many political leaders of the Republic of Srpska – are opposed.
But this was not always the case. More than a decade ago, Serb member of the Bosnian president Nebojša Radmanović sent a letter to NATO outlining Bosnia’s commitment to becoming a full member of the Alliance. What has changed since 2009 is that the Serbian leaders of Bosnia – in places left by the US stand – have taken a stand against NATO and pro-Russia. Despite public outcry over NATO members in Bosnia, Serbian Serbian leader Milorad Dodik highlighted the country’s growing alliance with the Alliance, including its participation in the defense of US Defender Europe 2021.
Instead, the Bosnian proposal to become a member of NATO is part of the legal process with the help of Bosnian Serbian leaders. The country’s recent 2018-2023 policy also confirmed that “the continuation of NATO-related policy remains a priority for Bosnian organizations.”
Biden officials are expected to force the immediate entry of Bosnia and Kosovo into NATO. This could lead to a better future for both countries and help them to become part of the Alliance. American political, military and economic reforms in Bosnia and Kosovo over the past two decades can be found.
Amid the unresponsive response of Bosnian organizations to the fight against the scourge, traditional leaders have turned to brutality, which has led to a lack of public interest in corruption and incontinence. The hope that ten years ago that EU and NATO members could resolve some of the issues raised in the Dayton Peace Treaty has shattered hopes. The rapid pursuit of Bosnia’s entry into NATO could now prevent the country from becoming another fifth world war in Europe.
Advancing Kosovo’s call to NATO is likely to trigger change and development in the new European country, which has been struggling financially. It could also alleviate fears that tensions with Serbia could escalate and that tensions in the northern region could escalate. In a bid to merge Kosovo and NATO, Biden’s management has sent a clear signal to Belgrade that Kosovo will move forward despite good governance. It may also help to force Serbia to identify its neighbors and change their relationship.
Second, the US must pressure the EU to offer membership in Bosnia and Kosovo. Bosnia continues to join the EU and give them the opportunity to become members may be necessary to expel the country from their failure. This could empower Bosnia to make political and economic decisions that Bosnian politicians cannot and will, above all, have the opportunity to secure EU funding for key educational, health and infrastructure projects.
Advances in EU entry are also important in Kosovo. Serbia is far ahead of its neighbors in negotiations and if it does reach an agreement soon, it could block the opportunity to stay in Kosovo. The United States’ insistence on promoting EU incentives in Kosovo in the form of candidates could help address the situation and ensure membership. Kosovo’s role will also provide EU funding for reform and construction and pressure politicians to take action against corruption and economic stagnation.
In short, Biden’s management has the opportunity to establish strong Balkans within the Atlantic Alliance and to establish stability in this unstable region of Europe. Both countries have a small population and their integration into NATO may be cost-effective. Biden is also able to help accelerate their integration into the EU which can contribute to political and economic growth in these countries.
Opportunity to oppose the allegations will appear on June 14 at a NATO summit in Brussels. The success of the 46th US President’s foreign policy is simple, possible in his first term in office, and could be a lasting legacy.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor of Al Jazeera.