chapter  1
History, Religion, and National Identity
Pages 32

The central theme of this chapter is that the current leadership is much more culpable for the violence and the breakdown of Yugoslavia than many believe. For a cross-section of analysts, Yugoslavia in the later years of the Tito regime and in the post-Tito regimes was an enlightened experiment. The central point is that two factors combined to define Yugoslav politics in the 1990s. First, the new transition induced a contrast between the bland, faceless politics of the 1980s and the new personalities and flamboyant style of campaigning. Second, the new, compelling goal among those seeking power in Yugoslavia was to get elected. The nationalism which has obsessed the histories of the region is used crudely and relentlessly to rationalize today's political failure. Ethnic purity and national homogeneity are portrayed as the magic that will transform mediocrity to success, subsistence to wealth, and ignorance to wisdom.