By the way, that is an important issue tackled by the modern philosophy of politics, but unfortunately here it has hardly been taken into consideration. True, often we hear from our politicians and public personalities that it is necessary to deepen mutual trust of our nations and citizens.
Almost everyone is aware that without mutual trust of citizens and politicians there can be no successful politics, nor a society that progresses and lives calmly in peace.
When the distinguished guest discussed the topic, he turned towards the board and drew a square (something we find often in his papers). On the lower two corners he wrote two letters M, one on each corner, and on the upper two corners he wrote two E's. The letters were shorthand for masses (M), and elites (E), above all political elites. The left side of the square is an arrow pointing from masses towards elites, and is supposed to indicate that the trust of ordinary people in political elites is necessary. The right side of the square is also an arrow, this time pointing from elites towards masses, indicating the necessity that politicians trust people who have elected them. Simple, isn't it? Don't we all already know that? But there is more: the upper side of the square is an arrow with two ends, connecting two E's. It indicates another obvious fact: elites should trust each other. Mutual trust or, as in our case, trust between several parties is important. The simplest picture of trust, a square, assumes the existence of at least two groups of citizens. The fourth side is also an arrow with two ends. Therefore, it is also important that masses trust each other. Interesting! So much trust is needed on all sides on order to build a prosperous political community or, as we like to say, a normal country! I believe that professor Offe did not have time to add diagonals with two-ended arrows, so that we could see that one "mass" should also trust the elite representing the other "mass", while elites should also trust citizens who stand behind their opponents. Thereby everything somehow comes together and a single community gets connected into a single political being. Perhaps it is better to say that it is being "stitched together", because trust is portrayed by these arrows as a thread and needle that goes from one corner of the square of trust to another.
It is easy to conclude that homogenous social communities have a better chance of social and political unity. In such communities there are no large splits between masses. The base of the square is in the masses: even if the political leadership or political parties are at loggerheads that cannot produce deep divisions in the people. But, is the nation-state, with one, sufficiently united nation, the only way to avoid divisions? Isn't the ethnic nation a nation in the true sense of the word: nation that remains united no matter how much you try to (politically) tear it apart? Perhaps that is the most reliable definition of the local, endemic mode of the modern nation: the nation is a community that political elites cannot push into a conflict or tear apart, no matter what they do. Such belief, probably the essence of the local ethnopolitics, is nevertheless the biggest political misconception: it is more likely that the undivided nation, our community of fateful belonging, alleged and truly fictitious shared origin and blood relations, is what you get after all the political divisions, i.e. unresolved conflicts, which have happened so far. Small Yugoslav nations, tiny ethnic clans, are actually products of several decades or, more correctly, several centuries long, persistent and hopeless failure in political activities in general, failures in democratic and peaceful resolution of mutual conflicts of political elites. The rich and complex ethnic and national mosaic of this region, which today finds the rationale for its existence in a cluster of statelets and princedoms, is nothing but a several-centuries-old battlefield of merciless political conflicts in which the path was from one defeat to another, from worse to dismal. What we today call national politics, while doubting the existence of any other type of politics, is actually politics that has after everything that has happened in the recent history lost every trust of the masses apart from the most basic one, which they could not have lost no matter what. That is the last, desperate trust of the people in "our" politicians. We trust them and vote for them mostly out of necessity, rather than because of some political beliefs. We vote for them simply to avoid voting for "others" or to make sure "others" do not win. Consequently, in this region it is difficult to make a distinction between a successful and unsuccessful politician. Perhaps the most successful politician would be the one who in advance promises or guarantees that his policies, or whatever in his policies is still truly political (meeting and discussion with those other and different) will fail. Whatever local politicians promise, they at the same time promise failure in cooperation with other politicians and their people.
Politicians we elect are friends out of necessity, whom we need because of other politicians - our enemies, we believe. We chose them not because of some political belief or view, but to prevent politicians who threaten our survival from coming to power. A typical voter at the polling booth is a drowning man whose political choice is driven by his fight for survival. He sticks to "his" politicians, even though he already knows that they are worthless. He is a helpless soul without any expectations apart from mere survival.
Therefore ethnopolitics is the politics of collective survival in which the populace has forgiven in advance all failures to its political elite. Moreover, failures are even calmly expected. The only thing unforgivable is the success of somebody else's politicians, those allegedly open of hidden enemies of "our nation". Consequently, ethnopolitics is a politics of blood relation or highly limited, quasi-familial trust: the biggest failures, even crimes are forgiven only to those who were "born by the same mother" (Bosniak, Croat or Serb). Therefore, it is not surprising that such politicians do not extradite "their criminals". Even worse, they cannot fulfill the basic principle of democratic politics, the necessity to trust politicians we did not vote for after an election. Now we perhaps can understand better what Dodik promised when he promised a referendum to his nation. He requested to be in advance forgiven all forthcoming failures, even crimes. In politics in which the square of trust has totally fallen apart, where no one trusts anyone, he requested the absolute trust implied by blood relations. After announcing the death of politics in the true sense of the word, the only expectation he has to meet is to become the Serb Moses and take the Serb nation out of Bosnia-Hercegovina.