NPR's Jenkins paints somber portrait of East's future

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NEW YORK -- National Public Radio's senior foreign editor Loren Jenkins took Europe 2000 conference attendees on a geopolitical tour of tomorrow's Europe, predicting stability for the West and disarray for the East.

The keynote luncheon speaker at Travel Weekly's Europe 2000 conference said he didn't "foresee any tumultuous events that will interrupt the stability of countries in western and central Europe [such as Italy, France and Spain], but there remain lots of troubles on the periphery."

Croatia's future was the subject of heated discussion during the Europe 2000 conference luncheon. Above, Dubrovnik, Croatia. For Russia, "It has been 10 years since the fall of communism, yet all hopes have come to nothing. Political corruption abounds."

Jenkins also predicted that the next leaders to be elected "won't be as friendly to the West," since "U.S.-Russian relations for past 10 years have failed in many Russians' eyes -- and there's an anti-American feeling in the Russian electorate."

He also predicted that "the former Soviet countries will always remain under [Russian] domination in one form [or another]."

As for the Balkans, they are "still troubled and unstable," with Bosnia "still digging out from its savage war," he said. He predicted that "Sarajevo won't see any new Olympics soon."

Jenkins also said that Turkey may have problems in the future. "Continued trouble can be expected as Turkey continues to be torn between its secular European elites and its more fundamentalist majority in the eastern part of the country."

One audience member took issue with remarks Jenkins made about Croatia, which he said was a country whose political future probably would not change much from the "fascist" policies of its dying ruler, Franjo Tudjman.

Jenkins also said the country was potentially unstable because the transition of power from Tudjman to another leader was not yet determined.

"I don't agree," said Nazli Weiss, vice president of marketing in the Washington office for Atlas Travel of Croatia.

"I know how hard these people are working to better themselves. They do not want a fascist country," she said, adding that democracy does not come overnight.

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