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Yugoslavia’s Foreign Policy in Balkan Perspective: Tracking between the Superpowers and Non-Alignment

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image of East Central Europe

From 1960 forward, Yugoslavia based its independent foreign policy on three “special relationships”, balancing its accommodation with the Soviet Union by close relations with the United States and the new Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Paying special attention to the roles of Yugoslavia’s Foreign Ministry and the US State Department as well as President Tito, this article addresses three crucial periods in which the intersection of Yugoslavia’s relations with the US, the USSR and the NAM prompted a decisive turn in its foreign policy. In 1961–63, Tito’s support for the NAM damaged its US relations to Soviet benefit. But in 1967–71, NAM indifference to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia turned Tito back toward the US, as advocated by his Foreign Ministry. And in 1976-79, Soviet and Bulgarian efforts to coopt the NAM through Cuba’s Presidency prompted a successful rebuff led by Yugoslavia and appreciated in Washington. After 1979, however, Belgrade’s post Tito reliance on economic relations with the NAM members had unintended and damaging domestic consequences, obstructing the Slovenian and Croatian commitment to West European trade while also dividing Bosnian Muslims from Bosnian Serbs.

Affiliations: 1: University of Maryland, College Park, USA


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