The American Interest

Intrigue in the Balkans

Having devoted a major part of my working life over the past four years to researching and writing about terrorism, I am alert to the possibility that there are a few people around me who would like to shut me up—for good, if at all possible.  The tragic end of Theo van Gogh, slaughtered in the best jihadist tradition in Amsterdam last fall, indicates the reality of that threat and the need for preparedness: There but for the grace of God go I!  As I was leaving for the Balkans on July 1, however, I was ill prepared for the possibility that someone in the land of my birth would accuse me of being a would-be terrorist, of plotting assassinations of high officials and issuing mortal threats.

When Amb. James Bissett, Prof. Ronald Hatchett, and I accepted an invitation to give public lectures in Montenegro in early July as guests of the Movement for the Common State of Serbia and Montenegro, we knew that what we had to say would not be welcomed by the separatist government of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.  Knowing that passions are running high in this deeply divided land, we were careful to make sure that what we said was reasonable and true.

Arriving in the wake of countless foreign “experts” who had supported the cause of Montenegrin separatism, we believed it both proper and necessary to present an alternative perspective.  In four hectic days, we and our colleagues from Greece and...

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