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Early in 2017, headlines speculating about the possible outbreak of renewed war in the Balkans have popped up in the international press. Tensions that have been simmering in the Western Balkans in recent years are now gaining increasing attention in the sphere of geopolitics, particularly as they relate to the battle between the West and Russia for influence in the region. The West is now becoming increasingly concerned that Russia will stoke nationalism in the Balkans in order to ignite conflict, cause destabilization and consequentially halt Euro-Atlantic expansion. While ethnic tensions are a core and explosive issue in the region, economic productivity, or lack thereof, may be as responsible if not more for the instability that exists in the Western Balkans. The region’s poor economic prospects have much to
There is an old, black and white comedy film by Billy Wilder called “One, Two, Three!”. It tells the story of Mac, chairman of the Western Germany branch of Coca-Cola. While Mac is trying to earn his promotion by negotiating a deal to export Coca-Cola to the Soviet Union (the shootings were made exactly during the construction of the wall), his boss in the US sends his daughter Scarlett on vacation in Berlin and entrusts Mac with looking after her. As it turns out, the young lady is a convinced socialist, rebelling against her father and to Mac’s horror she secretly marries a German from East Berlin, named Otto. They try to escape to Moscow, but thanks to his negotiating contacts in the USSR, Mac succeeds to bring them