Jugoslavija posle Tita, objavljeno Septembra 1980 - Engleski
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Tema: Jugoslavija posle Tita, objavljeno Septembra 1980 - Engleski

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    Zainteresovan član Mikajlo_Vukovic (avatar)
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    Podrazumevano Jugoslavija posle Tita, objavljeno Septembra 1980 - Engleski

    Air University Review / September-October 1980

    Yugoslavia After TITO, powder keg of the Balkans

    Lieutenant Colonel Dallace L. Meehan

    YUGOSLAVIA has suddenly found itself in the transition stage that analysts have been speculating about for years. With the passing of the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, the new leaders face what is perhaps the greatest challenge to Balkan security since World War II.

    Yugoslavia possesses geopolitical importance well beyond its geographic size and economic status. Her nonaligned position serves as a political claw at the throat of Soviet-dominated European socialism, and her relative economic self-sufficiency is the envy of less fortunate members of the Soviet-dominated Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA or COMECON). Yugoslavia plays an important role in United States national security interests as well. Certainly the balance of forces could only be tilted away from the West if the Soviets were to establish dominance in the Balkans and particularly on the strategically important Adriatic. A Soviet military presence in Yugoslavia would put severe pressure on Italy, enhance Moscow's strategic capability in the eastern Mediterranean, and pose a new threat to NATO's southern flank. Central among the many questions facing the new Yugoslav leadership--and for that matter, the West as well--is whether the Soviet Union will offer "fraternal assistance" after the manner of Afghanistan or Czechoslovakia in order to reestablish "regional stability."

    In order to speculate meaningfully on the future of post-Tito Yugoslavia, however, it is absolutely necessary to understand at least the basics of that extremely complex multinational state.

    Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of Yugoslavia is its ethnic and national diversity. The population of 22 million people is a hodgepodge of ethnic groups, nations, and national minorities. It has been accurately described as a country with two alphabets, three religions, four languages, five nationalities, and six constituent republics! In addition to the national minorities, which include Albanians, Hungarians, Turks, Slovaks, Bulgars, Romanians, Czechs, Italians, Germans, and Gypsies, the five official "nations" are the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, and Montenegrins. Together, these diverse peoples make up the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, governmentally organized into the six loosely bound republics of Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro, and two autonomous provinces (within Serbia), Vojvodina and Kosovo.

    The political structure that binds Yugoslavia's ethnic cornucopia together is, therefore, understandably complex. The Yugoslav Experiment, 1948-1974* traces in analytical detail the evolution of that system since Yugoslavia in 1948 became the first Communist-ruled state to defy Soviet domination. The author, Dennison Rusinow, has studied and lived in Yugoslavia and Austria since 1963.

    *Dennison Rusinow, The Yugoslav Experiment, 1948-1974 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, $21.75 cloth, $5.95 paper), 410 pages.

    Yugoslavia's ability to challenge Soviet domination successfully can be attributed in no small measure to the simple fact that Yugoslavia essentially liberated herself from fascist Germany without Soviet assistance. After 1948, Tito sought to maintain Yugoslavia's independence by pursuing a foreign policy that witnessed the development of ties with the United States and other Western countries, based largely on trade and military assistance. By the mid-1950s, Yugoslavia began to identify herself as a leader of nonaligned nations, thereby avoiding the condition of posing a "military threat" to the security of either bloc. Domestically, the Yugoslav leadership has pursued a pragmatic policy that has produced a relatively open and liberal society. It has, in many respects, moderated the harsher features of a Communist dictatorship, and while it refuses to tolerate serious opposition, the Tito regime decreased the power of the police, largely abandoned collectivization (85 percent of arable land is privately owned), and, perhaps more important, has decentralized the federal government, giving more power and prerogative to the republics, provinces, and local communities.

    Also important in any discussion of post-Tito Yugoslavia is the innovative machinery of succession engineered largely by Tito himself. Designed to effect a system of collective leadership in both the government and party structures, it provides for rotating one-year terms for the leader of the nine-member state presidency, the highest governmental body, and for the 24-member Party Presidium. The machinery is intended to prevent anyone from rising to a dictatorial level, while giving each of the six republics and two autonomous provinces an equal voice in Yugoslavia's decision-making process.

    Rusinow provides probably the best single-text description of yet another prominent feature of the Yugoslav experiment--the extraordinary concept of "worker self-management." Basically, Yugoslavia's self-management system says that power should be concentrated neither in the hands of a few capitalist bosses nor in those of party bureaucrats. Rather, the workers themselves should own the capital and make the major decisions. What this means in practice is that units within corporations (which the Yugoslavs call "basic associations of labor") are the centers of power, and they determine how their enterprises' profits are to be spent. The result is an economy guided mainly by market forces, stimulated by individual initiative within, of course, acceptable limits of socialism. It is Karl Marx sprinkled with liberal doses of Adam Smith--and pragmatic business sense mixed in. Yugoslavia thus enjoys a considerably higher standard of living than other Communist states. Nearly half of Yugoslavia's families own cars and more than half own TV sets. Yugoslavia is largely self-sufficient in agriculture and, in fact, exports substantial quantities of high-grade fresh and canned meats as well as other agricultural products.

    Consequently, Yugoslavia's "experiment" has resulted in a relatively open and liberalized society of decentralized governmental power dedicated to a system of development based on the concept of workers' self-management. No wonder, then, that Lawrence Minard was able to quote a Yugoslavian taxi driver who said:

    In Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Russia--people can hardly ever leave the country and even then not with their families. Here I can take my family out whenever I want--to Italy, America, even Hawaii if I have the money. We can buy what we want here. This car (he strokes his late-model Peugeot) is French. My pants are French. My shirt is Italian. I can own five cars at the same time if I want to. In Czechoslovakia you can own one car in your lifetime . . . . There is no possibility that the Russians can take this away from us.1

    to continue ...

  2. #2
    Zainteresovan član Mikajlo_Vukovic (avatar)
    Tamo, daleko.
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    Podrazumevano Jugoslavija posle Tita, objavljeno Septembra 1980 - Engleski

    Part 2:

    WHAT, then, of post-Tito Yugoslavia? Is the Soviet Union likely to invade Yugoslavia in order to establish Soviet domination in the Balkans? In a book published under the auspices of the United States Air Force, a number of specialists address this question and other possible dangers caused by the passing of Tito's stabilizing influence in Yugoslavia. The articles in Soviet Policy in the Post-Tito Balkans* clearly illustrate that from a Soviet perspective the Balkans in general, and Yugoslavia in particular, pose a serious challenge to Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and the worldwide Communist movement. Soviet interests in the area -strategic, economic, and political-are nicely explained, and projections for the future of Soviet policy in the Balkans are carefully developed.

    * Phillip A. Petersen, editor, Soviet Policy in the Post-Tito Balkans, Studies in Communist Affairs, vol. 4 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1979, $4.95), 157 pages.

    The recent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has been frequently cited as a new example of Soviet expansionism that bodes ill for the future of other socialist states that might have strayed too far from the folds of Marxist ideology. But Yugoslavia, unlike Afghanistan, is part of Europe. Soon after the worsening illness of President Tito, Western leaders were quick to issue strong statements in support of Yugoslavia. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told the British Parliament, "We shall do everything we can to see that the independence of Yugoslavia is maintained." AU. S. State Department official restated the American commitment to Yugoslavia's "territorial integrity and security." Yugoslav officials then quietly opened discussions with the United States about the sale of American antitank and antiaircraft missiles to help shore up their defenses. But Yugoslavians are quick to point out that while support from the West is welcome, they are confident that it is their own determination and will to resist that will most effectively deter Soviet military aggression. The strength of the Yugoslav army is estimated at 190,000 men, backed by 500,000 reservists. It includes 8 infantry divisions, 7 independent tank brigades, 12 independent infantry brigades, 2 mountain brigades, and an airborne battalion. Western observers of army exercises praise its discipline, training, and spirit. The real security of Yugoslavia, however, rests in the concept of total national defense. An invader must expect resistance from every citizen, irrespective of sex, age, or occupation. A Yugoslav nurse was recently quoted: "We all have guns, and we all know how to shoot them. In a way we are like the Israelis--every boy and girl is a soldier."

    Also, from a Soviet point of view, Romania would probably resist any Soviet military moves toward Yugoslavia, creating severe strains in the Warsaw Pact. (The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 resulted in the withdrawal of Albania from the Pact.) The People's Republic of China has also pledged support for the independent position of Yugoslavia, a strategic element that Soviet policymakers are not likely to discount.

    Yugoslavia's newly established collective presidency will probably provide an interim period of grace. Real stability in the long run, however, will have to wait for a new national leader to emerge. Even without the prospects of Soviet military intervention, this period of uncertainty is fraught with serious difficulties. Foremost among them is a need to deal with deep-rooted, national (ethnic) antagonisms among its people. Economic problems also confront the new leadership. "Market Socialism" and worker management represent a compromise economic model that may prove, in the long run, to be inherently unstable. A current inflation rate of nearly 30 percent is a potential problem, despite Yugoslavia's still favorable consumer position relative to other Communist states. The Yugoslav story, in short, does not end with the absence of a Soviet military takeover. It is a story of a rapidly changing society where institutions and systems are likely to be, indeed more likely to be, threatened from within as much as they are from without.

    Air Command and Staff College
    Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama


    1. Lawrence Minard, "Yugoslavia’s First Line of Defense," Forbes, February 18, 1980, pp. 44-46.



    Lieutenant Colonel Dallace L. Meehan (M.A., Naval Postgraduate School) is Chief, Regional Studies Branch, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. He has served as commander of an airborne missile squadron and in Japan, South America. Vietnam, and Germany. He has published articles in the Military Review and the Review. Colonel Meehan is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute (Russian), Air Command and Staff College, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and Air War College.


    The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.

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