In a paradoxical way, Aleksandar Vučić is also a proponent of the ‘four pillars’ policy (EU, U.S., Russia, China) in the foreign policy that was formulated by Boris Tadić during is tenure as president of Serbia
Vučić Merkelised his foreign policy, which was only relatable with the Trump administration’s more pragmatic approach to the Kosovo crisis. The Corona situation further emphasised China from the ‘four pillars’. And to that extent the untwisted consternation of EU officials. And so did EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell.
With emotional outbursts towards Russia and China, Vučić also gave an outlet and relapses into the policies of Milošević and Šešelj, so those nostalgic of resistance to NATO and the West no longer feel so psychologically impaired. It would be a real sensation for the EU, without the United States, to embark on a new agreement or the reviving of the old treaty (of Brussels) on the topic of Kosovo. The legacy of Richard Holbrooke is strong. And ordinary people in this part of the region doubt that the job can be done without the Americans. And without any cynicism – would be best under quarantine (which the negotiations in Dayton were).
With further Serbian hope that ‘Holbrooking’ now relates more to Priština, even when the twisting of arms is carried out by the ‘new Holbrooke’ – Richard Grenell – who is reminiscent of the ‘liquid metal’ terminator, or actor Robert Patrick, who played the new terminator model in Terminator 2. When the first case of a Corona infection emerged in Serbia (6th March), Ambassador Godfrey and Minister Dačić promised even better cooperation at a gathering dedicated to Serbian-American friendship, but Covid-19 caused Kosovo to fall markedly on the list of U.S. priorities.
The international ‘battle for the soul of Serbia’, apart from the growth of provincial arrogance here, nonetheless gives a certain uniqueness to the foreign policy of a country that’s formally on the path to joining the EU, whose attackers are so sweetly rejoicing in the dysfunctionality of this community manifested in the Corona crisis
If Biden were to defeat Trump on the topic of Corona, it’s not hard to imagine the streets of Priština filled with exalted people, beeping their car horns and waving flags of Albania, Kosovo and America. Just as it is not difficult to imagine rows of Serbian and American flags if, by any chance, Trump were to fly into Belgrade. It would be most desirable for the deal that the Americans make to receive the approval of the Russians. Like Dayton, but also extremely important like 5th October – the day of the overthrow of the Milošević regime.
The international ‘battle for the soul of Serbia’, apart from the growth of provincial arrogance here, nonetheless gives a certain uniqueness to the foreign policy of a country that’s formally on the path to joining the EU, whose attackers are so sweetly rejoicing in the dysfunctionality of this community manifested in the Corona crisis. A little optimism in EU integration is also introduced by the cynical remark that Serbia is already some kind of associate member of the Visegrád Group and that Vučić’s hypothetical proposal to Orbán to create a confederation would be much less extravagantly bizarre than that old one of Milošević to Mitsotakis for Serbia and Greece to do that.
Borrell proposed that Miroslav Lajčák reconcile Belgrade and Priština, and Brussels approved that. The Lajčák paradox is reflected in the fact that this Slovak diplomat is seen in Belgrade as a friend, but that he, as a representative of Brussels (and therefore Germany), opposes the partition of Kosovo, or that which Vučić and Thaçi would agree to with the blessing of America.
Vučić’s foreign policy will continue to offset his internal shortcomings. Primarily those democratic-media and institutional, which the EU will remind him of mostly ritually. Just as Vučić will not miss the opportunity to also ritually emphasise that Serbia is on the path to Europe. A real or contrived ‘reputation in the world’ is an important part of maintaining ratings, and sometimes ‘Brother Si’ does even better than Putin. Let alone better than confused European leaders.