Kožljak: Regardless of the US foreign policy continuity, the president sets the tone

Kožljak: Regardless of the US foreign policy continuity, the president sets the tone

SARAJEVO, November 9 (FENA) – The United States is a key longtime ally of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the path to Euro-Atlantic integration, and especially on the path to NATO integration, said in an interview with FENA Alija Kožljak, a professor of international relations and former BiH military representative to NATO in Brussels, adding that this does not mean that it does not matter to BiH who the US president is. Although this is most important for the United States and the international community in general and global relations in the world, it is also very important for BiH.

“Regardless of the general continuity of American foreign policy in general, it is the president who sets the tone for that policy, selects and sets priorities and determines its character and form, and in 2016, the ambassadors were not happy after Trump’s victory because they knew they entered a period of challenges that Trump had announced during his election campaign,” Kožljak noted.

Although the United States has previously supported BiH on its path to NATO, Kožljak says the point was that it was not in their focus, and it was done in such a way that the issue was constantly kept off the table. This is exactly what Kožljak sees as a chance for BiH with the election of Joe Biden as the new president of the United States.

First of all, Biden knows the situation in BiH very well, and knowing the situation in BiH will in some way keep BiH an active issue, regardless of the fact that the administration, which has its set priorities, will demand that the United States deals with those priorities.

“Any mention of BiH and its commitment to the integration of this area will be understood by the administration and ambassadors to NATO as guidelines for action. This action towards BiH will not only go through the activities of Biden but will go from several directions,” Kožljak believes.

He estimates that this will be done by holding BiH and the Western Balkans an important issue for regional stability and security. The US administration will have to take care that this is incorporated into the activities of international forums, primarily within NATO.

“This means that the US Ambassador to Brussels and the US Ambassador to BiH will constantly push for programs and activities that will encourage local officials and international officials, especially skeptical countries, to integrate BiH into Euro-Atlantic integration as soon as possible. It will be a multifaceted activity,” he said.

He will try to convince international officials how important the issue of the Western Balkans is for Europe, but also for the whole world because he will warn that this area could be a new focus of uncertainty and will continue to emphasize the story that leaving a “hole” in this region leaves room for other stakeholders to take over that do not have the best intentions for the region.

“Therefore, I am optimistic when it comes to the mandate of President Biden, not because BiH could come to the top of US policy priorities, but because of the multilateral relationship in foreign policy that we will see from the United States,” concluded a professor of international relations and former military representative of BiH to NATO in Brussels, Alija Kožljak in an interview with FENA.