Defense Minister Pistorius is on a diplomatic mission in the Balkans. The region is a tinderbox, and US President Trump could ignite it.

Two men walk during a military parade.

Boris Pistorius is received with military honors by Milos Vucevic (r), Minister of Defense of Serbia Photo: Soeren Stache, dpa

The worrying question of what will happen after the US elections does not only loom over Ukraine. Because one thing is certain: if Donald Trump wins, the risk of war will also increase dramatically on Europe's “soft flank”, in the Balkans.

Serbian nationalists will then be able to attack in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro with the help of Belgrade, as they already speak openly. Without Biden, they can feel safe doing so. Russia will support them and undermine the defense of Central Europe. Who then wants to assume responsibility for Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina and who wants to defend those population groups that were already subjected to genocide just 30 years ago?

This dark scenario is not at all pessimistic and is now being discussed in the German Ministry of Defense. During his last term, Donald Trump was already on the verge of weakening security guarantees for Kosovo and changing the borders in favor of Serbia. The 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which has so far guaranteed military stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is also not important to him because it was signed by Democrats.

The fact that Boris Pistorius came to visit the region can certainly be understood as an attempt to obtain a realistic picture of the situation. His comments were serious and not at all naive. However, the hope expressed by Pistorius that the Eufor troops under Hungarian command will be an anchor of stability in the region is probably a smokescreen.

It is obvious that liberal democracies can only gain respect in the Balkans by permanently stationing NATO troops. However, Pistorius also knows that Germany is no longer even a medium power militarily and needs to improve as quickly as possible. The hopes of all those who advocate peace and democracy in the Balkans are pinned on the country.