Macedonia: The Next Domino?

Macedonia's democracy and indenpendence remain imperiled. While regional forces are largely responsible for this, U.S. policy to date has done little to help a country that may be next in line to experience serious instability.

Issue: Spring 1999

To the Western eye, Macedonia can seem to be a mass of contrasts and contradictions. It is sparsely populated and has little strategic or geopolitical importance, yet forces in neighboring countries hold that its statehood and national identity pose grave threats to their security. Its Macedonian population and Albanian minority coexist in cities and towns across the country, yet, in many cases, lead totally separate lives. Above Lake Ohrid, its glaciers, mountains and waterfalls form a landscape with the seemingly impossible beauty of an amateurish oil painting, yet only miles away impoverished families crowd into single rooms in primitive houses. In Skopje, the capital, the peal of bells from the Orthodox cathedral mingles with Muslim prayer calls and, of all things, the familiar melodies of Wesley hymns from the local Methodist church.

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