The Balkans are historically apart from
This has everything to do with the present crisis of
Geography and the Great Schism in the development of Christianity left all the Balkan peoples in the Orthodox half of the Christian world, separating them from the
Living, as they subsequently did, for greater or lesser periods of time, under the control of the Ottoman Turks, left a permanent mark on all the Balkans. None was to have a history of lasting independent self-government. The Balkans since have been haunted by resentment and by memories of lost battles to the Turks, or to lesser enemies, and by paranoid sentiments of irredentism, territorial revindication, religious conflict, clan and family vengeance.
Serbia has probably the longest record of independence, with a Serbian Patriarchate from the ninth century until defeat in the Battle of
However, Greek Christians largely ran the Byzantine Empire from that time until the Ottoman Turk conquest in the 15th century. From then on, the Greeks had become a conquered people, although a privileged one.
Elias Clis, a distinguished Greek ambassador to
"For a period of nearly five centuries, the Greeks were cut off from
This provides the key to
Under Muslim Ottoman domination, all the Balkan peoples naturally took refuge in their own families, clans and religious commitments.
Thus the Ottoman authorities dealt with the population through the latter's own natural organizations and leaders. Legal jurisdiction was bestowed on the heads of communities, guilds, trades and other quasi-autonomous groups, who were held accountable for good order in their communities.
This was a highly practical solution to the imperial problem but was infantilizing in effect. Throughout the Balkans, success came to be sought not through qualification, certification or individual effort, but through family ties and patronal or political clientism.
Political parties today are dynastic and function in this way. Leaders supply individual or family rewards for political support. In 1981, there were 400,000 civil servants in
The time has been spent in party electoral maneuvering and power seeking that, at this writing, has left the country at the edge of default, to the indifference of many of the EU's other members. The Balkan inheritance is heavy.
- Greeks Pushed to the Edge by Austerity Measures
- Bailout of Greek Banks Good, But Not Enough
- Waiting for a European Santa Claus
- Culture Still Matters
- Greece's Balkan Inheritance is Heavy
- Is Greece European?
- Let Sleeping Germans Lie
- Europe's Dilemma: Immigration and the Arab Spring
- France's Geopolitical Strategy
- Elections Could Shift European Union Away from Austerity, But Should They?
- Why France Elected a Socialist President
- French Elections Lesson
- Putin's Evolving Strategy in Europe
- Moscow's Vision for the Backyard
- Russia's relations with Central and Eastern Europe
- Britain's Geopolitical Strategy
- Under Putin, Russian Relations with United States Turn Icy Again
- Albania Still Working to Dispose of Stockpiled Ammunition
- Cyprus Gas Drilling Could be Geopolitical Accident Waiting to Happen
- Europe After the Crisis: How to Sustain a Common Currency
- Russia's Geopolitical Strategy
- Kosovo Counting on Strong Support From Turkey
- Turkey's Geopolitical Strategy
- Turkey: Twitter Cuts Two Ways
- Turkish TPAO Starts Drilling in Northern Cyprus
- Greek Voters Punish Ruling Parties for Austerity
- In Greek Elections, A Campaign of Fear Prevails
- Sarkozy's Gaddafi Connection Helps Make His Defeat a Fait Accompli
- Hollande Beats Sarkozy, Claims French Presidency
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.