Foreign Policy: US Silence on Bulgaria’s Threats Unforgivable

The Trump Administration’s focus on resolving economic issues in the Balkans and turning a blind eye to politics has contributed to the deterioration of relations between some countries since the war two decades ago,” Foreign Policy reported Wednesday night. The analysis, entitled “How Trump Lost the Balkans,” by Edward Joseph, a professor of conflict management at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., highlights the case of a possible blockade of Macedonia’s EU integration by Bulgaria “over identity issues.” Joseph cites a meeting in Washington on 6 October between US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper and his Bulgarian counterpart, Krasimir Karakachanov, “an aggressive nationalist with a long list of bombastic statements against neighbouring Macedonia.” It added that although last month Karakachanov reiterated Sofia’s threat to block the prolonged start of EU membership talks between Skopje and Brussels, “the Bulgarian minister was drunk with whiskey and praise in Washington, and US politicians signed a ten-year contract for defence cooperation” and the sale of eight F-16 fighters.