Is the U.S. going back to the Western Balkans?

U.S. President Donald Trump giving a press conference at the July 2018 NATO summit
The Trump administration is increasing its engagement with the Western Balkans, on issues including good governance and NATO accession (source: dpa)
  • The U.S. is getting more engaged in the Western Balkans on security, energy and governance
  • The policy aims to counter Russian attempts to destabilize the region and other outside influences
  • The administration hopes to increase American investment and nudge states toward NATO membership

As a debate rages over whether the United States is disengaging from the transatlantic community, there are mounting signs that Washington is ramping up its efforts in the Western Balkans. U.S. officials believe that the region is the most fragile in Europe. It is vulnerable to the Kremlin’s destabilizing influence, both directly through the Russian military presence in the region and indirectly, by Moscow’s manipulation of local governments through corrupt practices. Other external players – including China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – are also complicating regional politics, as is the European Union’s ambivalence.

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