movements on both sides of the border between the two predominantlyrnChristian states, as part of the formation of arn”Turkish axis between Bulgaria and Greeee,” eonneetingrnTurkey to FYROM. On May 31, the Sofia publieation Kontinentrndiscussed “the strong U.S. military presence in the Balkansrnduring the last two years and the unconcealed and increasingrnappetites of the United States in the peninsula.”rnAmong the specifics are a buildup of American military assetsrnin Albania; additions to “the U.S. ‘blue helmet’ contingent”rnin FYROM and their “gradual replacement of Scandinavianrntroops” (this is a reference to the 300 Americans sent there, ostensiblyrnas U.N. peacekeepers, actually as a tripwire, by our RazorbackrnRommel in 1993; their number has cjuietly doubled);rnsuspicious violations of Bulgaria’s airspace; and political manipulationsrnwithin Bulgaria. “If those of our statesmen whornstill nurture pro-American feelings have not yet realized ourrngeostrategic situation,” warns the Kontinent observer, “I advisernthem to spend an hour or two perusing the map. The Balkansrnare not yet the [PersianJ Gulf, although some people arernvery keen on their becoming so. One thing, we have no oil,rnand another, not all of us are yet inclined to become Muslims.”rnThe respected and well-informed London publicationrnDefense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy points in itsrnOctober/November 1993 issue to many of the same elements:rnDespite the lack of any clear agreement on Balkan policyrnbetween the competing U.S. foreign policy powerrncenters . . . the United States appears to be establishingrneconomic, political and military advisers and basesrnthroughout the Southern Balkans. The U.S. clearlyrnsees this region as within its sphere of influence, hi Albania,rnU.S. economic advisers are positioned in most, ifrnnot all, government departments, and there is a largernnumber of military training officers. U.S. warships enforcingrnU.N. sanctions [against Serbia] are based atrnVlore. Following an extensive visit to Albania lastrnmonth, a British journalist commented that “Albaniarnhas come to resemble an American training academy.rnThe poorest country in Europe is fast becoming anrnAmerican colony.” The same picture holds true forrnBulgaria and, under the pretext of peacekeepers, hundredsrnof U.S. troops have moved into [FYROM]. ‘I’heyrnare equipped with sophisticated weapons systems whichrnexceed those necessary for a normal peacekeeping role.rnThe massive pressure of American policy on the states of thernsouth Balkans is unmistakable; the only thing missing is a coherentrnexplanation for it. Bulgaria and FYROM, two statesrnwith every reason to oppose increased Muslim influence, havernseen little choice but to cooperate. Bulgaria, burned badly byrnpast attempts to annex FYROM, has today sought refuge in itsrnimage as a Good hiternational Citizen, which in practicernmeans doing everything the “international community” demandsrnof it. The Greeks, entirely missing the point (as usual),rnhave chosen to represent their legitimate concerns aboutrnFYROM’s eventual revanchist designs on Greek territory as anrnethnic copyright dispute concerning the name “Macedonia”rnand FYROM’s Hellenistic flag. Consequently, Greeee hasrnbeen almost entirely unable to contain the growing Muslimrnpower that seeks to cut it off from Serbia, Bulgaria, and the restrnof Europe, and has alienated potential allies among FYROM’srnSlavs. This confused orientation reflects modern Greece’srnperennial perplexity about its identity: whether it is, at its core,rnByzantine, Orthodox Christian, and Romaikos or European,rnneopagan, and Ellinikos; the Greece of Constantine Porphyrogenitosrnor of Pericles, of icons or of statuary. At the samerntime, Athens’ stock in Washington steadily slides, as ominousrnwarnings are increasingly heard about the undue influence onrnAmerica’s foreign policy exerted by the “Greek Lobby”—fromrnquarters with a selective sense of outrage on behalf of thernUnited States’ wounded sovereignty. Finally, the health of thernaging socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, Greece’srnanswer to Ted Kennedy, is not expected to hold out muchrnlonger, with governmental collapse and a possible “EvitarnPeron” problem involving his trophy wife, former OlympicrnAirways hostess “Mimi,” certain to follow his departure.rnFor its part, the only line Bulgaria absolutely will not crossrnwould be a demand to let Turkish troops enter its territory orrnairspace. FYROM is in an even weaker position, sailing betweenrnthe Seylla of “multiethnic democracy” and the Charybdisrnof Macedonian nationalism. The government of Kiro Gligorov,rnpast communist apparatchik and current FYROMrnpresident, has chosen Seylla, which has meant not only utterrnsubservience to the American/Turkish, EastAVest axis but constantrnand unsuccessful attempts to appease the Muslim minorityrndomestically. I’his appeasement has reached the pointrnthat the Gligorov government all but ignored a plot uncoveredrnlast year by Muslim organizations to import arms from Albaniarnin preparation for a secessionist revolt. “If a binationalrnMacedonia isn’t created, we Albanians have two choices:rnEither we can accept assimilation or go to war,” says the leaderrnof one group. Islamic community leaders long demandedrna census in FYROM, but most Muslims boycotted the onernconducted in mid-1994, possibly not trusting the Slavs torncount them fairly, or perhaps out of a desire not to tip theirrndemographic hand too soon. Outbreaks of violence betweenrnSlav and Muslim youths have become increasingly common,rnand there are fears that in the event of large-scale disturbancesrnSkopje could not cope.rnHere, in an ethnic implosion that ends FYROM’s efforts tornmanage a model state in the New World Order, is how thernUnited States could get into the Balkans for real. Mob violencernbetween the FYROM communities would trigger an Albanianrninsurgency, and Albania and Turkey would support it. FYROM’srnSlavs would have no choice but to ask for Serbianrnbacking, leading to an Albanian-Serbian war that would centerrnon Kosovo. From there, Greece’s participation would be allrnbut inevitable, in support of longtime ally Serbia and a predictablernethnic Greek revolt in southern Albania/northernrnEpirus. Turkey would take action against Greece, possibly includingrndirect moves in the Aegean and against Cyprus. Bulgariarnwould try, but probably fail, to stay out of it, ultimatelyrndeciding to help FYROM’s Slavs and maybe chase out somernof its own ethnic Turks. Russia would provide political andrnmilitary support to Athens and Belgrade. The United States,rnby virtue not only of its tripwire in F’YROM but its overall regionalrnnetwork of political and military assets, would be deeplyrncommitted to the Albanian/Turkish side in the Third BalkanrnWar. Besides the local consequences, we would then have thernmakings of a sharp American/Russian confrontation. It is nornaccident that the groups in the United States most keen onrnAmerican military involvement in the Balkans are, if possible,rneven more Russophobic than Serbophobic.rnAPRIL 1995/29rnrnrn