Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Certainly, NATO never did anything to protect the Serb minority against Albanian mobs. See for yourself how the NATO "peace force"... effectively enforces the peace: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pg-bYIqgaE
NATO won't do anything to antagonize the Albanians - who surround Bondsteel, a camp with infrastructure built to last 100 years (this is no boy scout presence - it's there to stay for the long term).
I disagree with Upstate NY's suggestion that the EU is the main culprit behind the chaos in the Balkans.
An example of cynical US "peacebuilding" involvement: remember February 23 1992, in Lisbon, when Izetbegovic signed, along with Croat and Serb leaders, a European-brokered agreement creating a confederal structure for the three Bosnian ethnic groups. A few days later, influenced by an encouraging conversation with Warren Zimmermann, the United States ambassador, he changed his mind, leaving the possibilities of Lisbon accord a matter of speculation forever after. This laid the foundation for the war.
The same American manipulation is at work in Kosovo; Bush W guaranteed independence to the Albanians in Kosovo years ago. Why on earth would the Albanians negotiate anything less. Why would they negotiate at all?
Come to think of ot, interesting how there's a US military presence in every drug hub on earth - from Columbia to Panama to Kosovo to Afghanistan... Could that be a coincidence?
by vladimir on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 03:41:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I never stated that the EU was mostly to blame. I said that their diplomacy was horrendous. If you ask me, the EU and the US share equal responsibility. Indeed, I have stated many times here that the initial agreements were scuttled by the likes of James Baker and the Clinton team. However, James Baker was also the last of the Western transatlantic foreign ministers to counsel recognition of the former Yugoslav Republics in the first place. At the very least, he had more foresight than Germany which jumped with both feet into recognition mode.

Americans are opportunists. Once all hell broke loose, they inserted themselves into the fracas. But the initial dunderheaded moves were at least partially the responsibility of the EU.  You can't pretend this was an American plan circa 1990.

by Upstate NY on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 03:51:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly, it has been pointed out reoeatedly here that the first big blunder took ace when France and Germany rushed to recognise their WWI allies (Serbia and Croatia respectively).

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 03:58:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wrong. Serbia was never recognized by France... it remained "rump Yugoslavia" with Montenegro. Slovenia, Croatia and then Bosnia were recognized - all at the behest of Germany partnering with the US.
by vladimir on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 04:06:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I beg to differ: indeed US policy was coordinated with Germany's on this one since the 80's.
The US quest for global hegemony has persisted for over a century. Only the methods evolve. Rear Admiral A. Mahan, a prominent late XIX-century US geostrategist, emphasized the importance of the sea power, military activity, and the strategy of strangling Eurasian continental powers in the «anaconda coils». US President W. Wilson espoused the idea of a «peaceful» partition of rival countries and their subsequent occupation. US President W. Taft suggested using the US dollar as the instrument of subduing other nations. The common elements of those strategies were both the idea of the US global dominance and the notion that Russia had to be chosen as the prime target of such efforts. Kosovo is no stranger to this game. Sorry.
by vladimir on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 04:04:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, in the late 1990's I heard vague accusations from Serb colleagues that the Balkan wars were encouraged by the US (ostensibly to weaken the non-aligned movement) and dismissed them as conspiracy theories. Now I'm not so sure.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 04:13:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no doubt about this. I also know that the IMF was involved in causing chaos in Yugo in the 1980s. But that's a long way from purposely triggering calamity in 1990-1991. They could have easily peeled off the republics in other manners.

You'll have to tell me why the Americans dithered, what they could have hoped to gain by dithering. In fact, many point to the Reagan-Neo/Con connections to Yugo defense structures as a reason why the US actually favored the Serbs in the 1980s.

Here, read the NY Times on the US's positioning:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE3D8153DF93BA35757C0A964958260&sec=&spon= &pagewanted=all

by Upstate NY on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 05:01:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that the Rambouillet agreement you're ralking about?

On a previous occasion UpstateNY has given an account of American diplomatic actions in the Balkans, notably by James Rubin but also by others, so I am surprised that he would blame the EU. However the EU's lack of foreign policy and diplomatic coordination among member states made matters worse, especially in the early days of the war.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 03:52:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This quote of mine ("The whole Balkan scene from 1991 until today is a premium example of horrendously conducted diplomacy, and each time someone thinks they have the answer, yet another flare-up begins. EU diplomacy is all about sticking your finger in the dike.") doesn't mean the US wasn't just as much to blame.

I was only pointing out that EU diplomacy in the region always seems hasty, ill-considered, tendentious, and even arrogant.

The US was totally wrong on Kosovo. They were also bad on Bosnia but only from midway through to the end. Europe stumbled from 1990-1991 until the end of Bosnia.

by Upstate NY on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 05:03:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he's referring to the Vance-Owen plan and the few that came after it.
by Upstate NY on Mon Dec 10th, 2007 at 05:04:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series