Author: Col. V. V. VOBLENKO
With the Cold War over, conflict prevention and conflict management took center stage for many states in the world. These tasks are the focus of attention by politicians, diplomats, pundits, and public organizations. Meanwhile, along with traditional (diplomatic, political, economic, and humanitarian) methods of resolving conflicts, military options of achieving peace are becoming increasingly pronounced with a growing trend toward a shifting of security efforts from the global to regional level. A case in point are peacekeeping operations by the multinational force in the Balkans. These operations are unique in both scale and objective, having no precedent or analog either in the past or in the present. The study of the extensive and diverse experience in their preparation has an invaluable practical importance for understanding the basic principles and forms of the evolution of peacekeeping activity by the international community and its individual members.
The present-day situation in the Balkans is predicated on four main factors.
First, the Balkans are located at an intersection of strategic communication lines in the south of Europe and have a sufficiently developed military infrastructure.
Second, the ethnic/religious situation in a number of countries in the region is marked by acute contradictions between radical representatives of various faiths, ethnic groups, and cultural communities, which provides fertile soil for outside interference in the affairs of these states.
Third, there are historical prerequisites for unity or division of certain nations and states under the military-political patronage of outside interests concerned.
Fourth, the region is attractive for its natural resources, a vast market, and relatively cheap labor, so geostrategic interests of nearly all of the world's most developed states are closely intertwined here.
Western countries and the United States have been especially robust in advancing their geopolitical interests in the Balkans. U.S. strategy is designed to create a powerful military-political and financial- economic bridgehead in
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