Between the embarrassment of Zoran Zaev falling for a couple of pranksters and the zeal with which his government is going after members of the political opposition and even arresting American citizens, I think that his days as prime minister are severely numbered. Macedonians, especially and including the members of the so-called “colorful revolutionaries” who helped put him in power, are increasingly angry at him for his continued gaffes, the ongoing corruption and nepotism in his government, the lack of reform, the lack of a date for EU accession talks to begin and the lack of economic progress, among other things, former Honorary Consul of the Republic of Macedonia to Arizona writes.
The internationals, especially and including the Western elected officials and unelected bureaucrats who helped put him in power, see all of the above and have come to the conclusion that he is becoming a liability. U.S. State Department and NATO officials and bureaucrats have achieved their goal of (almost) getting Macedonia into NATO; they don’t care much about whether or not Macedonia is an EU member and know it won’t be achieved on their watch so their work and cooperation with Zaev is now over. And European Union officials are embarrassed by his sophomoric antics and the lack of serious reforms (as well as the continued corruption and nepotism) and are increasingly convinced that withdrawing support for him is the best course of action. Ali Ahmeti and DUI officials are increasingly convinced they hold all the keys to power now in Macedonia and don’t need to listen to a word he says so they too, can dump him, Miko writes.
Zaev is about to be rudely awakened and finally understand what Lord Palmerston said (and as many have paraphrased) in the 19th century: “In international relations, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.” Zaev has served his role — he can now be dismissed. Granted, Zaev might actually be too ignorant to understand this and might go on blithely unaware, thinking (as he did with Vovan and Lexus) that he actually has real friends in the international community who like him (when Balkan Insight, which serves as a mouthpiece for Zaev, reports on his stupidity, you know the end is near).
But in time, he will understand; probably when he is out of office. But his crime, however, is that in thinking he actually had friends in the international community, Zaev sold out Macedonia’s interests including its name, identity, heritage, culture, history, and much, much more. Undoing this damage will take time.