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How To Be Miss Universe?

I was with Zoran Đinđić in Banja Luka in February 2003 when he – in his capacity as prime minister of Serbia – paid an official visit to Republika Srpska. The number one topic around the world during those days was the preparation to attack Iraq, and the U.S. sought of its allies (which then already included Serbia) to almost call a referendum on whether the public supported the U.S. campaign to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Attending a press conference in Banja Luka, the then Serbian PM was awaited by questions about Serbia’s stance regarding America’s plans for Iraq? And I recall well that Đinđić said that Serbia is a tormented country that’s attempting to consolidate itself economically and democratically from the destructive 1990s, and that it simply doesn’t have the capacity to declare a stance on such important global topics.

Attending a press conference in Banja Luka, the then Serbian PM was awaited by questions about Serbia’s stance regarding America’s plans for Iraq? And I recall well that Đinđić said that Serbia is a tormented country that’s attempting to consolidate itself economically and democratically from the destructive 1990s, and that it simply doesn’t have the capacity to declare a stance on such important global topics.

It seems that, today, the most elegant option would be for President Vučić to say that Serbia has no capacity to declare its stance on such important global issues. However, as Vučić himself always points out, Serbia is no longer weak: it has a strong economy, is leading economic growth in the region and is well armed (and constantly arming), which makes it harder for Serbia to pretend to be benevolent, puerile, or like the winner of the Miss Universe pageant saying that world peace is the most important thing to her, followed by the fixing of holes in the ozone layer.

It is said that the experienced Ivica Dačić, the country’s former head of diplomacy, is the best of all Serbian politicians when it comes to ‘pretending to be dead’ (stopping breathing) when he encounters a bear. He has received that recognition from many players in Serbia – everyone from Tadić to Vulin. And it would now be best for Vučić to have that technique of Dačić’s when it comes to the Ukraine crisis, in order for the whole of Serbia to pretend to be dead. Vučić himself also highlighted this desired position in his statements regarding Ukraine during his official visit to Monaco.

There is no faking sleep. We are kept awake by the Russian bear and NATO. And by Ukraine, which hasn’t recognised Kosovo. This is the biggest challenge to date confronting the Serbian policy of military neutrality, which Vućić inherited from Koštunica and developed

But there is no faking sleep. We are kept awake by the Russian bear and NATO. And by Ukraine, which hasn’t recognised Kosovo. This is the biggest challenge to date confronting the Serbian policy of military neutrality, which Vućić inherited from Koštunica and developed. It has often been speculated that this famous neutrality is just a euphemism for a pro-Russian stance, though military exercises with NATO troops and Serbia’s fifteen years in the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace programme suggest that a balance has been achieved. Serbia collaborated even more with NATO in the past, but the media’s pro-Russian public opinion compelled Vučić to push the pro- Putin perception of reality.

This is also the biggest test for the “four pillars” foreign policy (Brussels, Moscow, Beijing, Washington), which Vučić inherited from Boris Tadić and mythologised. By rendering his foreign policy spectacular, Vučić compensated for the democratic shortcomings of his domestic policy. Putin has always been a strong asset for Vučić in his election campaigns. Ahead of the April elections, would it pay off or prove fatal for Vučić to meet with Putin?

Vučić often likes to be compared to Tito – both due to the modernisation of the country and a spectacular foreign policy, but there are some areas in which he wouldn’t like to be compared to Tito – such as in terms of his break with Stalin in 1948, which enabled Yugoslavia to i

troduce liberal communism and develop an exclusive foreign policy position. Although he is a neo-Titoist in a sense, Vučić lacks Tito’s gauge for a second Cold War, which could be incomparably shorter than the first one and won’t not end with an “end of history” like the fall of the Berlin Wall, but could signal end of history in the literal sense. Besides, during the 2019 espionage crisis in Serbia that momentarily disturbed relations with Russia, Vučić stated with urgency that the idea of creating a new ’48 hadn’t crossed our collective mind.

And Putin also rates Stalin higher than Lenin, which he’s also confirmed with regard to Ukraine.

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