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Mediterranean Quarterly 11.1 (2000) 91-110

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National Identity and Institutional Development under Mediation in Southeastern Europe

Symeon A. Giannakos

Since the start of the Second World War, southeastern Europe has experienced three sustained attempts at institutional development under international auspices. The first took place in Greece during the war, when British troops were deployed to enforce the Lebanon agreement signed by the king's government in exile and by representatives of the communist-controlled political committee of the resistance organization EAM (National Liberation Front). The agreement was negotiated through the mediating efforts of the British government and followed what is referred to as the first round of the Greek civil war in 1943. British troops landed in Greece in November 1944 to provide support for the implementation of the agreement, to assist the Greek government in establishing domestic order, and to oversee the process of political stability in Greece.

The second attempt involved the implementation of the Treaty of Guarantee that established the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus (in 1959 and 1960) and provided for the creation and operation of political institutions for the new state. The primary objective of the treaty was to end conflict among Great Britain and the Greeks and Turks in Cyprus and to establish institutions capable of arbitrating issues between the latter two parties.

The third and most recent attempt is the one associated with the General Framework Agreement negotiated at Dayton and the deployment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The declared objective of the effort is to prevent a continuation [End Page 91] of the fighting among Moslems, Serbs, and Croats; to preserve the external sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina; and to oversee the creation and development of state institutions capable of facilitating political interaction by the three warring groups. NATO's presence in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on the other hand, does not involve institution construction.

Since the institution-construction process in Kosovo is still in the early stages of development, it could benefit from an analysis of the previous three cases. Historical evidence thus far suggests that such construction and subsequent maintenance under outside mediation tends to be perplexing and counterproductive to its goals, forcing the mediators to become responsible for prolonged domestic order in the host country. It seems that institution construction and development efforts initiated by mediators tend to externalize certain realities from the mediators' domestic political realms. Specifically, the mediators tend to export political institutions that are incompatible with the political realities of the targeted countries and that do not provide such needed functions as the creation of conditions for general security and safety. 1 Immediately after they are set up, these institutions tend to become dysfunctional and need to be continuously backed up by outside force, not only to safeguard their existence, but also to subsidize functions necessary to the enforcement of uneasy truces or cease-fires. This means that international mediation tends to degenerate into order keeping, but in order to be effective, order keeping requires sustained effort and expense, often over two or more generations or until there is a considerable change in the political culture in the host country. In essence, international mediation is expected to facilitate the creation of political consensus, which is as difficult as trying to establish values and morality.

An examination of the three international mediation efforts support the conclusions noted above. However, the experience of the Greek civil war underscores the pitfalls of a mediator's efforts to export its political priorities and values to the host country. [End Page 92]

The Greek Civil War

Cold War literature used to explain the Creek civil war as an exclusively communist insurrection incited and abetted by outside forces, namely, the Soviet Union. In reality, the causes of the conflict were endemic to the political realities of Greece and so complicated they can be understood only in the framework of the protracted political squabbles characterizing Greek politics during and after World War I.

Starting in that war, a significant and persistent...


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