The OSCE summit in Istanbul ended. The 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty was updated. A potentially historic document, the European Security Charter, was also signed. The revised CFE treaty was signed by 30 nations (20 signed the original document, but thanks to the dissolution of the USSR and Yugoslavia, there are now more nations in Europe). The revised CFE simplified inspection and verification procedures. Heavy weapons inventories (tanks, APC, aircraft, and artillery) were approximately halved from 1990 levels. The security charter contained lots of interesting language. Think Kosovo when you read "We have witnessed atrocities of a kind we had thought were relegated to the past." And "In this decade, it has become clear that all such conflicts can represent a threat to the security of all OSCE participating states." (This is the language of collective defense and what might be called "collective concerns", especially over human rights.) "Participating states are accountable to their citizens and responsible to each other for their implementation of their OSCE commitments." The new security pact anticipates creating "crisis response teams" to help contain and manage crises in the region.
The Greek-Turk political thaw has begun to force Greek and Turk Cypriots to at least change their rhetoric. On November 12 Turk Cypriot leader Rauf Denkstash said he might join "proximity talks" to discuss Cyprus' future. Denktash, however, continues to refuse direct negotiations with Greek Cypriots (particularly Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides) until his Turk Cypriot "statelet" (Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus) receives diplomatic recognition. By November 19, however, Denktash and Clerides, at the OSCE summit in Turkey, had both held press conferences where they said upcoming "indirect talks in New York" might provide a framework for future direct negotiations. What's going on? Athens and Ankara aren't going to let Cyprus stall the thaw. Turkey sees immense economic benefits from a closer relationship with Europe and Greece. A closer economic relationship with Turkey would immediately benefit the Greek business community, particularly the tourist industry and shipping business. Also, on November 19, Greece urged Turkey to pursue initiatives to settle disputes in the eastern Aegean. Greece and Turkey have for years sparred over Aegean islets and mineral rights. (Austin Bay)
Where cult of the personality rules, illness truly threatens stability. Croatian sources reported on November 15 that Croat president Franjo Tudjman is "under reparatory assistance" and is "critically ill." (FYEO has already reported on the looming succession crisis in Croatia.) Meanwhile, Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic went through a series of medical tests in the U.S. Izetbegovic has cardiovascular problems.
President Clinton arrived in Greece, and was greeted by thousands of anti-American protestors. Anti-Americanism has deep roots in Greece, particularly among Greek leftists. Many on the Greek far right, however, also dislike the U.S. Why? Because the U.S. doesn't dislike Turkey. Because the U.S. won't throw the Turks out of Cyprus. Because the U.S. won't throw the Turks out of Thrace (etcetera). Greece has also been a traditional ally of Serbia, and the U.S. role in the Kosovo War angered many Greeks. (Both Greece and Serbia are primarily Christian Orthodox, and both suffered "under the Ottoman yoke.") Greek anti-Americanism, however, was chic before the Kosovo War. The more politically extreme Greeks, of both the right and left, are actually quite "French" in their anti-Americanism. Most Greeks really don't dislike Americans personally, they enjoy many aspects of American popular culture, and they are particularly proud that so many Greek immigrants in America have been economically, politically, and socially successful. What's the problem? America is so powerful and so dominating. And it's been a long time since Alexander the Great. (Austin Bay)