Friday, 17 September 2021 | News today: 0

Bad peace treaties can lead to even worse outcomes


Nikola Srbov

When they are badly thought through, solutions to disputes can often generate even greater problems and disputes. The agreement to resolve a dispute should not be signed if it only temporarily resolves the matter. Great politicians look ahead, into possible consequences which the treaty will produce in the future, while lesser politicians are satisfied with a patch-up job. The Balkans are, naturally, filled to the brim with this latter form of politicians, and that explains a lot about the type of societies we live in.

A century ago we saw the peace treaty that pun an end to the Great War. It was the most horrific war which humanity had ever experienced, until then. It included military tactics from the 17th and 18th century, but deployed with vastly more efficient weaponry, which led to enormous human casualties. Millions of young lives were snuffed out in the darkness of the trenches, during the slow moving, set piece battles. Millions were bayoneted to death, or shot at from a short distance, in the immobile, face to face combat.

When this war finally ended, Europeans believed that it was the war to end all wars and that humanity will not enter a new era of peace. Seemingly the only great leader who knew what’s coming is then US President Woodrow Wilson, who, at the Versailles, warned that the treaty, as proposed, will not only fail to conclude the Great War, but in fact contains the cause of a new, even deadlier one. Wilson initiated the creation of the League of Nations – the forebear of the United Nations. With his 14 points, the US President hoped to usher a period of peace and prosperity for the world. One of them raised the hopes that Macedonians can expect to fulfill their dream fo an independent Macedonian state.

Wilson’s plan was not accepted in full. He retired from the Versailles in disappointment, while the treaty was signed.
While historic science now calls this war the “First World War”, one day it will be established that the First and Second World Wars were in fact one great war, with a short respite, while others yet may conclude that this Great War ended with the victories Reagan and Thatcher won over the Soviet Union, the fall of Communism and of the Iron Curtain. Those more attuned to conspiracy theories will certainly tell you that the Great War is still on-going. But, one this is certain – that bad agreements can lead to great disasters. The solutions thought up to end the First World War led to the greatest evils in modern history – Nazism and Communism.

Macedonians, by the way, were participants in the First World War through the 11th division, a unit whose memory is now being dragged through the mud by some.

Despite all the disasters it went through, Europe ultimately found a way to make peace with itself. In the Balkans, we are still stuck with politicians who are unable to see the results of their policies and of the treaties they sign.