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The Balance of Power Theory and It�s Application to Kosovo

Ideas are the corner-stones of International Relations and Diplomacy. These ideas are often titled theories, a term that grants the ideas a certain degree of credibility in application, though they remain theories; they cannot be proved., only applied intelligently in hopes of arriving at the correct conclusion. One theory concerning the Balance of Power (BOP) falls under the Neo-Realist analysis of conflict within the International system. This Essay will attempt to apply this theory, somewhat retroactively to the situation in Bosnia and more specifically, to that in Kosovo. Retroactively, because the essay will principally examine how these theories can be applied to the history of the Kosovo conflict, dating to the present. Secondly, it will undertake to detail the current situation in that region in these same terms, providing an accurate description of the status quo. Finally, the Balance of Power Theory will be employed in a prospective manner, to offer a solution to the situation in terms of actually creating a balance of power within the country of Bosnia.
I. Definitions of Terms for the Purpose of this Essay
A. Neo Realism
B. Balance of Power Theory (BOP)
C. Power Transition (PT)
II. Retroactive Application of Theory
A. History of Kosovo Situation
B. How BOP/PT Theory Explains Kosovo Conflict
III. Immediate Application of Theory
A. How Status Quo is Represented by BOP Theory
IV. Prospective Application of Theory
A. What Actual Balance of Power may lead to Peace in the Region
V. Conclusion

I. A. Neo-Realism
Neo-Realism is one of the schools of thought in International Relations theory. It is a sub-school of Realism, which originated in the aftermath of World War II. Realists tended to blame the Second World War on Liberals and their failure to deter the fascist powers that initiated that war. Some of their specific criticisms include these principles:
1.There is no such thing as individual rationality, as liberals believe. In realism, individuals give in to group rationales, i.e. German participation and support of the holocaust. Of course, most of the population was horrified at what was happening, but as a nation of Germans, felt perhaps it was necessary for the survival of their state.
2. States do not truly have common interests. If this were true, there would be no need for supranational organizations, and supranationally binding treaties would also be unnecessary, as interests would be tacitly agreed on.
Neo-Realism, as a result of the cold war, is marked by more a modern view of International Relations, i.e. whereas Classicists would insist that a Balance of Power theory is what keeps the world from the brink of war, a Neo-Realist attributes this to a combination of BOP and the Mutual Assured Destruction theory.

1.B. Balance of Power Theory
The BOP Theory states that having a balance of power establishes equilibrium. Anarchy generally equals insecurity, and insecurity and conflicts of interest are what produce constant competition between states. In order to ease competition states seek allies and military power, which leads to a balance of power. This formulation is a consequence of twentieth century war and state history, and must be modified to be applied to different times periods. Medievally, this power structure would have included the church and the power of its doctrines. For the objectives of applying this theory on the future, it will be used in it�s current form.
1.C. Power Transition Theory
The PT theory states that whoever has the power (the ability of state A to influence state B) in an arena, is likely to be the dominant state. Conversely, it hypothesizes that an equality of power leads to peace. This last observation tends not to have relevance in the Kosovo situation because of the historical imbalance of power in the region.
II. A. History of the Kosovo Situation
The Area of Kosovo had long been considered central to the identity of Serbs. Between the 7th and 10th centuries, the Balkans Peninsula was settled by Slavs. The area began to flourish and expand, with Kosovo and neighboring area Metohia, becoming, culturally and administratively , the center of the Slavic rule near the fall of Constantinople in 1204. 13 years later, Serbian King Steven the First Crown conquered Kosovo, making it militarily, the center of Serbian rule, and the most important state in the Balkans. Soon after, in 1219, the Serbian Orthodox church became autocephalous, and moved its seat to Metohia, the sister region to Kosovo.
Kosovo and Metohia were now the military and religious center of life in the Balkans, and not accidentally. The region is surround by mountain gorges and was comparatively safe from outside attack. Under this protection, learned monks and spiritual dignitaries gathered, strongly influencing the religious shaping of the nation. The value of Serbian Orthodox art and architecture soon bypassed that of the Byzantine empire, with which the Serbian forces frequently warred. Politically, Serbian rulers, with their rich feudal holdings, ensured the survival of the church by granting it estates, which later from the Greek �metoch� meaning �estate of the church� took the name Metohia.
By the 14th century, clashes with neighboring Turks, became common. The battle of St. Vitas day, on June 28 (15 by the Orthodox calender) 1389 ultimately resulted in a military stalemate, with some Serb rulers, frustrated with their losses, choosing to become vassals of the Turk king. This created internal strife among loyal Serbians, and those thought to be �traitors� and until 1455 civil war and battles with Turks continued to narrow Serbian territory, finally, leading to a mass migration of Serbs to Hungary and transylvania, while their land came under the rule of Turkey.
For centuries later, the population on the now Turk-held areas continued to have a ethnic Serbian Majority, with other tribes, including Albanians. With other peoples came Catholicism, but Serb religious leaders had a sort of reformation of its own, if an effort to let their people resist Catholic influence. Records of Catholic Visitators counted populations of the area to be mainly Serbian, and an obstacle to will of that Church, which subsequently set Albanians (mainly Catholic even Islamic) in an incitement against Serbs. The Orthodox church added to it�s reformation a new cult of saints an effort to hearten persecuted Serb peoples.
In the 17th -18th Centuries, Serbs continued their exodus from the area of Kosovo-Metohia, and Albanians, with the help of Turks rapidly grew into a major ethnic group of the region. Though even in 1912 Serbs accounted for almost half of the areas population, rampant Albanian anti-Serb sentiment and mistreatment (murder, theft, extortion, abuse, etc) caused a new migration of Serbs from Kosovo to what had become the new Serbia.
After World War One, the Austrian-Hungarian hindrance of the Serbian effort to stabilize their governments in Serbia and Montenegro, and their support of the greater Albanian state; to include Kosovo and Metohia. During the war, there was to have been a united German-Austro-Hungarian-Bulgarian offensive against Serbia, but those powers abandoned that plan in favor of being first to reach the fronts that the Allied powers were approaching. At the Paris peace conference, Serrbs were granted a country with the Croats, and Slovens, which was titled Yugoslavia in 1931. Again, though, in the Second World war, Yugoslavia became an occupied country, this time under the German Third Reich. And again, this time serving the German army, Albanians took advantage if their position of renew ethnic cleansing attacks on Serbs. The attacks were so horrifying that German troops were forced to intervene, but Albanians continued to force Serbs out of their country, with the final migration ending in 1944. The arrival of Soviet troops in 1944, resulted in the liberation of Kosovo and Metohia from Germany, but power was then given to Albanians, who opened the border of the state to mass Albanian immigration until 1948. The number of ethnic Serbs in that country continued to fall, while some stayed, suffering persecution at the hands of Albanian. In the 1980s, a movement of Serbians, regardless of individual ideology, pushed for an amendment to the Yugoslav constitution of 1974, which would finally give them sovereignty over the areas of Kosovo and this was achieved, just before 1989, the 600th anniversary of the Battle Kosovo and St. Vitas day.
II. B. How the Balance of Power Theory Explains the History of Kosovo
Firstly, it must be recognized that the theory is a twentieth century one and must be adapted for the purposes of application to medieval history of Kosovo-Metohia. National self-determination is a pivotal part of the establishment of power, and if states are to have power and self-determination, their rulers must be able to maintain armed forces. In the early centuries of the existence of Kosovo, this was provided for by a landed gentry which held vast feudal properties. Land, and the farming these lands produced, allowed leaders to raise and keep armies which would protect the holdings. In addition, Kosovo and Metohia lay in the center of the Balkans which had long been vital to trade routes toward Western Europe, thus leaders were able to do an amount of taxation on goods crossing their territory, though they were not a maritime nation.
The standing military of the flourishing Serbs, allowed the nation-state an amount of security in its sovereignty, but also attracted competition for Turkey, who certainly saw the progress of Serbia as a conflict to their interests.
In contrast to the ideas of Morgenthau�s diplomacy theory, it should be noted that medieval Kosovo and its military leaders did believe in a doctrine, which Morgenthau, in The Future of Diplomacy (1948) says can only be a hindrance to effective state-maintenance. Their doctrine was religious, Orthodox Christian and was the center of all state-decisions. In the face of a doctrine, especially religious, costs and benefits are not calculated as they normally would. Non-secular fervor becomes the need for victory, as well as the desire to remain autonomous and sovereign.
III. A. Immediate Application of Balance of Power Theory
When Serbs were finally granted sovereignty over the areas of Kosovo, centuries of emigration meant that they were no longer the ethnic majority in that land. However, Serbian sentiment toward Kosovo-Metohia is parallel to that of Jews toward Jerusalem. It is considered their �homeland.�
Modern BOP Theory maintains military and political force are the central means of securing power. After the international fall of Communism, the Balkans were practically the only region to immediately adapt to capitalism, and embarked on an economic revolution that was headed, ethnically by Serbs, regardless of their state (i.e. Yugoslavia, Montenegro.) War has since destroyed this capability, but the observation clearly follows a pattern, in that Serbs have throughout history had a talent for maintaining --at least economic-- independence. Now that Kosovo is under Serbian control, the competition between Albanian and Serbian forces for the control of the region is based solely on military power, and can only be measured in terms of tanks, personnel, and other materiel. For the time being, the participation (half-hearted meddling) of the UN and NATO, and the OSE cannot be considered to have any bearing on the outcome on the situation. Both Albania and Serbia are relatively well equipped for the war, the Serbs from earlier economic success and current prosperity in (relatively) peaceful areas, the Albanians from the support of ethnocentric supporters living in Turkey, and other Balkan areas, as well as in the US. Only time can reveal the ultimate winner of the conflict.
IV. Prospective Application of BOP Theory
How one sees the future of the Kosovo-Metohia region really depends on how one sees the history of the region. It is fairly obvious that the region is extremely important to Serbs religiously speaking, it still contains the art and libraries of Orthodox Monasteries, and the ruins of those that were destroyed in war and as acts of war. It also must have some significance to the Albanian majority currently living there. Whether or not the land of technically theirs, they also have a history on that land, having lived on it for several hundred years.
It seems likely that, in an effort to boost its position internationally, the US will continue to influence NATO and the UN to punish perceived Serb aggression. This will have the effect, except in the eyes of Russia and China, of making the US seem more powerful than it actually is in the situation. The reality being that the US is afraid to make a decision on whom to support, Serbs or Albanians, without knowing who will win. Thus far their only commitment is a practical one; to stop the massacres of civilians on both sides of the war front. It is possible that the US sees the concurrence of Serbian longing for Kosovo, and their longtime friend Israel�s feeling for their Holy land.
The Balance of Power theory, however, does not allow for emotional rationalization when discussing war and politics. The final peace will depend on the power held by each party as the war ends. Serbia had, in 1995 presented a plan for peace in a magazine which passed unnoticed by the rest of the world. In it, they proposed to have a buffer zone free of ethnic Albanians. The buffer zone would lie between Albania and Kosovo-Metohia, which would effectively end the mutual ethnic cleansing, and act as a sort of containment solution. The implementation of this plan however is far from realization, since the war continues to rage.
V. Conclusion
The situation in Kosovo, is a long and exciting study of the Theories on Balance of Power, and its role in peace keeping. Unfortunately, the theory has been more of a method for analyzing the patterns of war in the region. It will take some measure of inequality to end this war. It is currently too much an equality of military forces for either side to emerge victorious.