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The historical phenomenon of "balkanization" has two strata. The first is the continuity of national and religious (confessional) conflicts, wars for creation or termination of existing national states or for disintegration of nationally and religiously mixed states (destiny of both former Yugoslavian and possibly of the third one too). The other can be described as an enormous influence of the leading European and world powers on the relationships between states and peoples in the Balkans, on their economic and political structure and developmental chances. Each of those great powers has its own favorite states and nations, its "interest zones" in this region, which sharpens old and creates new antagonisms not only between, but also inside the states and societies (which is best seen in the case of the present Yugoslavia). In this sense, "balkanization" is a legitimate product of the great powers' imperial policy and rivalry. Today it is increasingly conditioned by a new distribution of world power, which views globalization as "westernization".

There are three influential theoretical paradigms of "westernization": Huntington's conflict of civilizations, Bzezinski's "big chessboard" model of the world politics and Fukuyama's "end of history". Without analyzing them it is not possible to understand "external" (increasingly internalized) determinants of the "balkanization" phenomenon. Different in many aspects, these paradigms are linked by their aims and functions. All the three are characterized by regarding Western civilization as historically superior to all the others. They also share the strategy of defending that civilization from possible rivals and the offensive strategy (characteristic mostly of Bzezinski) of spreading the Western interests and values throughout the globe. The liberal form of Western society is considered the final form of history (Fukuyama). In this context, "balkanization" appears a necessary component of the global policy. It belongs to the methods of inciting, producing, controlling and "extinguishing" of conflicts at the most significant strategic sports for the West. Thus "balkanization" becomes a world phenomenon. In its "birthplace" (on the territory of former but also of actual Yugoslavia) it is synthesis of the negative historical heritage, revived striving for the separate nation-states which is being realized by all accessible means, neo-authoritarian regimes and neo-imperialistic policy of the West.