From the Cold War to the Kosovo War: Yugoslavia and the British Labour Party

Unkovski-Korica, V. (2019) From the Cold War to the Kosovo War: Yugoslavia and the British Labour Party. Revue d'Études Comparatives Est-Ouest, 2019/1(5), pp. 115-145. (doi: 10.3917/receo1.501.0115)

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This paper traces the different approaches to foreign policy in the British Labour Party through the prism of its long-term relationship with Yugoslavia. It goes beyond caricatures of Labour and British policy as merely status quo powers in the Balkans. Relying on Yugoslav archival records, as well as secondary sources and the British press, the paper shows that Atlanticism was the dominant approach in the Labour Party from the early Cold War to the reconfiguration of international relations following the end of the Cold War. The roots of this orientation are traced to the dual class nature of the Labour Party as both a ruling class and working class party, which tied it ultimately to the geopolitical interests of the British state, but also created pressures towards a socialist foreign policy. That allowed Yugoslavia to rely on the Labour Party as a special interlocutor in the Western hemisphere in times of cooler relations with the USSR, but also as a potential ally in the country’s struggle to maintain foreign policy independence, despite economic dependence on the West. Nonetheless, the end of the Cold War changed priorities in Labour, with the Atlanticist wing quickly adopting a pro-interventionist line in Yugoslavia, following the US lead. The Left, previously distrusted in Yugoslavia because of its softness on the USSR, became the champion of anti-interventionist arguments. Both sides had had direct links with and experiences of Yugoslavia, but this paper argues it was domestic class interpretation of international affairs which determined post-Cold War alignments.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Unkovski-Korica, Dr Vladimir
Authors: Unkovski-Korica, V.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DR Balkan Peninsula
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Revue d'Études Comparatives Est-Ouest
Publisher:Presses Universitaires de France
ISSN (Online):2259-6100
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 NecPlus
First Published:First published in Revue d'Études Comparatives Est-Ouest 2019/1(5): 115-145
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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