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Kosovo declares independence

by jandsm Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 06:11:05 AM EST

Here in Hannover [on Sunday night], Albanians are driving with cars and flags trough the city. It is pretty loud. Even though I am not sure whether independence is a wise idea. Let's just hope we are not seeing the first sights of the next Balkan war.

  short diary, but interesting discussion below, on a topic I fear we're going to be talking a lot in the coming months... -- Jérôme


Display:
Yeah...

Even if Kosovo Serbs and Albanians won't now get at each others' throats, this will be remembered for decades. And as vbo notes in the Salon, now the danger is that Bosnian Serbs will be next declaring independence, and that may only be the second in a new round of secessions. of territorial units smaller than the former federal states of Yugoslavia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 10:20:16 AM EST
If I was a Serbian in Bosnia, I would demand independence as soon as possible. If I were a Serbian in Serbia, I would support and facilitate it.

Wouldn't any of us do the same thing?

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 01:16:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. I would slam my head into the wall instead or emigrate.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 01:42:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's only one way the Bosnian Serbs secede, and that's if the Albanians run roughshod over Mitrovica and the north. 2,000 EU police would not be able to stop it. If that happens, the Serbs would claim they do not feel safe in the Bosnian protectorate.
by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 02:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
?? It sounds like you're confusing Bosnia with Kosovo. Mitrovica is in Kosovo, in its northern part. Those are Kosovo Serbs. The Bosnian Serbs who want to secede are in Republika Srpska, in Bosnia and Hercegovina.

And if you're not confusing the two, even if there's a lot of anti-Serb violence in northern Kosovo, RS would just have to watch their border with Kosovo. I just can't see Kosovo Albanians invading Bosnia.... As far as I know, the claims for secession in RS are based more on just getting away, rather than any threats of violence from the Federation side. Have there even been any threats from the Federation? My understanding was that the tensions being reported in Bosnia now are more politicians hissing at each other than anything else.

Am I the only one who keeps thinking of Star Trek when discussing Bosnia?

by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 02:49:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't have them confused.

The similarity is all about the performance of so-called peace-keeping troops.

I know the Bosnians are integrated better, but for the long haul, the creation of ethnically pure states all around Bosnia will eventually cause that alliance to split apart. The example of Mitrovica will be powerful because it will show that the EU and the West are incapable of protection. Look at Cyprus. NATO will not move militarily unless it suits its interest.

by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 03:27:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, so you were talking about using perceived fear as an excuse to secede, rather than real threats. Now I understand your post.

At this point, I just want whatever happens to be as peaceful as possible, be it Mitrovica staying with Kosovo, seceding and rejoining Serbia, etc.

by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 03:46:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:
As far as I know, the claims for secession in RS are based more on just getting away, rather than any threats of violence from the Federation side.
---------
C'mon please don't try to sell this stupid story where USA generously helped Albanians just because of the treats from "federation"...none here is that naive. Let alone that Albanians wouldn't dare to try anything if USA didn't arm and trained them militarily and promised them to bombard Serbia if necessary.
Bosnian Serbs now have legitimate right to proclaim independence and not just Bosnian Serbs. Who ever is not happy with in borders now have right to go. Welcome to a new "free" world. Bosnian Serbs have not just right they are properly organized in any way to do it cause they luckily never took seriously "state" of Bosnia and Hercegovina.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 01:09:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
C'mon please don't try to sell this stupid story where USA generously helped Albanians just because of the treats from "federation"

Huh?? What are you talking about? As far as I know, the Federation (you know, the other entity in BiH) never threatened the Albanians.

Upstate NY's point was that if troops can't protect Serbs in Northern Kosovo, then RS might claim that they need to secede from BiH because of some imagined "threat" from the Federation side. I had originally misunderstood him/her and thought his/her post was talking about actual threats having been made by one BiH entity toward the other. Upstate NY explained a little more and cleared it up. So I don't know where you're getting the idea that I'm trying to "sell" a story that Bosnia was threatening Albanians.

by lychee on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 04:30:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh this is even better. Total misunderstanding. I am sorry I misunderstand you.
And things are actually very simple under the surface. Do not mix conflict in Bosnia and H. and conflict in Serbia in any way. These things are not comparable at all.  


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 04:40:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What will the EU do if the Albanians run roughshod over 2,000 EU police?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:18:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would they need to run roughshod over them? I'm a bit fuzzy on my Balkan geography, but how big an area are those 2000 peacekeepers supposed to patrol? How many people?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 04:27:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what does that mean?
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 04:23:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It means I am not a natinalist and would find another explosion of nationalism around me suffocating, not contagious.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:24:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is not the recognition of the necessity of creating a new country the ultimate manifestation of nationalism?

And why, you, who were so quick to give a sanguine response to my post, should expect than Serbians humbly bow their heads? Are they different from you and me?

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:32:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are turning my words and our exchange upside down.

I don't expect anything from "Serbians". You asked if any of us would not do the same thing, and I said I would not do the same thing. (And unlike you, I don't think all individuals included under "Serbians" think the same way.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:37:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I am turning your argument upside done. Since the transformed argument is mine - I don't pretend it is yours -, there is no dishonesty.

It is you who are putting words into my mouth: by Serbians, or Serbs, i designate the Serbian, or Serb, societies. Individuals organised around symbols. Like we, at ET.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are playing with words.

You asked:

Are they different from you and me?

You and me are clearly different. (If I was a Serbian in Bosnia, I would NOT demand independence as soon as possible.) Don't you think members of any society can be just as different?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:58:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand now. You were always only considering your personal view. And only your.

You are taking refuge in your individuality.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are denying Serbians' individuality.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:11:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. That is not the point. The original point was: many among the many will not think as you do.

You should try to understand my words. I try to understand yours.

that is why I understand now that my choice of words was denying YOU your individuality (not the Serbians). But it wasn't meant to be literal. After all, I know that you are an individual. I know more of what you say than many people you know.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:20:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The original point was: many among the many will not think as you do.

If that was the point, you made it very badly. You asked us if anyone would disagree. That's categoric, not about majorities. What's more, it seems to be calling for sympathy and agreement. In light of your "taking refuge" comment, I also sense disdain for opinions other than spiteful nationalist.

But, now understanding your words, I do agree that a majority will feel like that. It is just this dynamics I fear.

I don't know where you come to this issue, but for me it is too close to home. I lived in what became Croatia, I saw it before, and I saw it after, including the ethnic-cleansed parts. And the damage in the heads, there is say the Croatian ship-boy I talked to, and asked about the ethnic cleansings, and he would justify it with the evils done by the JNA and the "Republic".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:31:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm glad that you understand my words. As for my feelings, well, conversations by text are very bad to transmit feelings.

What we have produced along his thread was an escalade. "disdain" comes after "refuge" which comes after "y" which comes after "x" which ... which ...

In the British Navy of old, as punishment, a number of sailors used to be tied to a wheel, and each given a whip, to beat in the back of the man in front. What started with minor slashes ended always in violent whipping. Because people:

1- underestimate the pain the other person feels (a 40% difference, it is said)
2 -tend to forget why the other fellow reacted faster than the reason we beated on him

It is suggested that the reasons for that are respectively:
1- our sensors of pain detect only our pain
2 -our apparatus of reasoning can store more easily our reasons than other's.

I think we can agree that nationhood is a whip ready to fall on the back of every man, and the Balkans are a giant wheel amongst many.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 07:11:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
findmeaDoorIntoSummer:
In the British Navy of old, as punishment, a number of sailors used to be tied to a wheel, and each given a whip, to beat in the back of the man in front. What started with minor slashes ended always in violent whipping. Because people:

Reference?  There are a number of stupidly violent punishments  administered by the Royal Navy in the past. but that one I've never heard of.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 07:24:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am having difficulty in finding a reference. the torture was described to me in a conversation, not read in a book or article.
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 07:57:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't find any reference to it in Torture and democracy either.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 08:56:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, forget the torture. The modern day experiment from which the 40% figure is derived is:

Two Eyes for an Eye: The Neuroscience of Force Escalation. Sukhwinder S. Shergill, Paul M. Bays Chris D. Frith, Daniel M. Wolpert.
Science 11 July 2003:
Vol. 301. no. 5630, p. 187

a summary is available on-line upon free registration at publication website.

--------

For a description of what is all about, without having to register, please read Daniel Gilbert.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 02:33:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The exchange of words was rather painfull, at least to me. I cannot speak about you. However, a frank exchange of words open many issues, and that opening is interesting.
----------------
How can one believe that nationhood is a valid concept in Europa 2008 A.D.?

the Social Contract is the sole legitimiser of the existence of a state.
Therefore the establishment of a social contract between a European state and a European Volk[2] is the absolute requirement for the practical abolition of nation-states in a major part of the Europe.

[1] Natural monopolies providing cheap and efficient supply of goods required for all activities (such as EDF) are everyday manifestation of the social contract.
[2] Hence the need for many politicians to avoid the creation of a european citizenship.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 02:51:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(forgot to say it clear) this solution for eliminating the existing countries of EU is making the EU itself a bigger country.

the solution for eliminating Nations is making the social contract unnecessary.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 03:03:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the social contract about nations or about states?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:21:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Refuge".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
May I ask why you WOULDN'T demand independence? They are not happy there in the false state of Bosnia and Hercegovina , they never wanted to be part of that "state", they fought war and died  to brake from Bosnia & Hercegovina and they were forced to stay there...what else is needed as an argument for you?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 01:25:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What argument? Maybe a nation state created without ethnic cleansing and suppression of remaining minorities.

But not even that really. As I said, I am an anti-nationalist. I wouldn't want to live in newly created ethnic-national states. And be aware that I am talking with the assumption that "I would be a Bosnian Serb", rather than prescribing anything for anyone other than me.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 03:56:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:
Maybe a nation state created without ethnic cleansing and suppression of remaining minorities.
----------
That was not an option for Serbs in Bosnia unfortunately. You may remember that war in Croatia erupted previously and it was obvious that everyone is armed and Bosnian parliament proclaimed independence without Serbs. This triggered war.
In the main time while Serbs were forced out of Croatia  there was not mass exodus of Croats, Muslims or even Albanians from Serbia. They still live in Serbia with "evil" Serbs.
I am not saying that there were no war crimes on Serbian side, don't get me wrong. There were crimes on all sides for those who want to see the truth. I am just saying that Serbs like others (AND WEST GAVE THIS RIGHT TO ALL OF THE OTHERS IN EX-YU) should have had  right to go independently from Croatia and Bosnia. There would be NO WAR at all if it was done. Interestingly how you people can't follow this logic. There WOULD BE NO WAR.
But who ever is serious knows that this was about geo- strategic aspect. Serbs didn't want to go under USA military and CIA...they didn't want USA military bases on their soil...and they were punished and still are punished.
So it's simply fairytale ...states on Balkan were always made by war...one way or another. There will be wars yet, you can be sure ...it's a historic fact.  


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 05:06:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the main time while Serbs were forced out of Croatia

No, that was not in the meantime, but after Bosnian Serb forces forced out Muslims and Croats from their areas. (Also after Croatian Serb forces forced out Croats from their areas.) I have to correct that even if I agree that there were crimes on all sides.

AND WEST GAVE THIS RIGHT TO ALL OF THE OTHERS IN EX-YU

I did and do not agree with the West's support for the creation of Croatia the way they did, so I won't accept that as tit-for-tat justification for Bosnian and Croatian Serb claims, either. Two wrongs don't make one right.

...states on Balkan were always made by war

That's my point. Therefore I oppose the creation of any new micro-ethnic-state in onetime Yugoslavia. Be them Kosovo or RSK.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 05:15:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But you're not a Bosnian Serb - you're a Hungarian with family ties in Slovakia and having lived in Germany and Croatia among other places.

While we're at it, vbo isn't a Bosnian Serb either. I don't think any of could be sure of how we would have reacted had we been living in Bosnia in the mid-90's, or had we been Bosnian Serbs living there or elsewhere.

I can argue until I'm red in the face about what I would do or feel if I were, say, a Basque speaker in Navarra, but I am neither a Basque speaker nor have I ever lived in Navarra.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:27:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, probably most of those actual Bosnian Serbs who would have thought like me here in my own reality have emigrated already.

I am again reminded of the Bosnian hippie hitch-hiker, who told of having been a hippie before the war and after, but a soldier in-between, and will turn an emigrant joining friends in Paris if things blow up again, which he expected as soon as foreign troops pull out (but this was a decade ago).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:00:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you been in an analogous situation of having to choose whether to humbly bow your head?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:29:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. My fear, and I don't know if this is something that could really happen, but it just occurred to me and is alarming me, is that RS independence could potentially destabilize Croatia, again, if not from within, from those without who might be looking to take Krajina/Eastern Slavonia back. Supporting RS independence and absorbing it into Serbia would embolden the Radicals and anyone who still believes in creating "Greater Serbia," IMHO.
by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 02:26:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the Serbs were completely ethnically cleansed from the Krajina? Did they somehow come back?
by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 02:29:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some did come back, and IIRC Slavonia wasn't as completely cleansed as Western Krajina.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 02:34:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbs still live in Croatia. What the exact breakdown/percent in each area is or how many who were pushed out/who fled have returned to their homes, I don't know.

Remember though, I said if not from within, from without. My fear is that some who were either pushed out and who are highly nationalist, or who have never been there but support the idea of GS, could become emboldened by a declaration of independence from RS.

by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 02:38:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd imagine a quid pro quo instead. It's the same quid pro quo of Dayton. Milosevic ordered a standown before Operation Storm, essentially selling the Krajina Serbs for the Dayton plan and the Bosnian Serbs. An agreement which looked very much like the breakdown of Vance-Owen.

I'd bet the Serbs would have sold Kosovo yesterday in a land swap elsewhere.

by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 03:25:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe they could have even done it if they could keep the areas around Mitrovica.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:31:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Listen, support a movement for the independence of Serbs in Bosnia is not necessarily trying another war.
It is just a political action.

Everyone knows there was a war there. Their inhabitants first of all. Who would want a war? They?

This declaration of independence is just another play in a long game.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 04:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh stop that false story about "Great Serbia".For your information Serbia seems to be smaller then ever nowadays...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 01:29:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, why are you accusing me of telling stories, this time about "Greater Serbia"? There are still people who believe it should exist (and I'm not one of them, by the way); I said if RS secedes from BiH, Serbia should not absorb them as those who have this idea of GS in their heads could take that as permission to try to grab Krajina/Eastern Slavonia, thus starting up yet another war.
by lychee on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 04:37:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kosovo will in not so distant future be a part of Great Albania. How do you feel about that?
And about Krajina/Eastern Slavonia, ETHNIC CLEANSING HAS BEEN FINISHED THERE BY CROATIA and her allies so you don't have to worry. There are no Serbs there to fight.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 05:21:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Greater Romania, and Greater Hungaria, and Greater Bulgaria, and...

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:33:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand what you both mean. Theoretically who would want pure national state (even if it's possible)? But most of European states are national states with few minorities so reality is something else comparing to what we may wish for.
Even bloody USA and Australia are trying to make "nation" and keep telling their citizens they should forget where they are coming from. This is not an ideal world...not at all...And you just made one more national "state"...Kosovo. So how is this different from what Serbs wanted for them selves? And also Serbs still want Kosovo in their borders together with Albanian population. Except under Milosevic Albanians had more rights in Serbia then many minorities have in Europe on this day...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:58:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Milosevic did suppress the autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina, if I remember correctly.

On the rest, I can only say what I said in another comment: that way lies madness. Weĺl soon be commemorating the 100th anniversary of WWI and the disintegration of Austria-Hungary, and the successor states seem to still be itching to ethnically cleanse their border regions and grab some land if they can in the process. They even had pretty good multinational and multiethnic states going in Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia but they broke them up. And I'm supposed to feel responsible for that dynamic?

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:42:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite the caveats in my other comments, I wouldn't, just like DoDo. That way lies madness.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:41:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly my feelings. The seeds for destabilization extending way beyond the Balkans, and decades into the future are being sown today. And i really hope that I'm wrong about this.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 12:48:28 PM EST
I think European support for Kosovo's independence is sheer madness!  In particular and closest to home, I'm absolutely FURIOUS at the way Italy has lined up with the US/UK/GER/FR on this - we're close enough, Balkan-involved enough, have enough sense-of-history etc etc to know better, practically every serious article/report I've read in this country including on defence forums is queasy-to-put-it-mildly on chain-reaction consequences both short-term and longer-term so WHY is Italy-too backing this dangerous idiocy?  If the Balkans explode again we'll be in it up to our necks one way or another - even from the most crudely self-interested POV no question that consequent-conflict refugee-flows, provision of peacekeepers, aid etcetc will end up costing us a packet ... so why provoke fate?

Take a look at this opinion-polls on Kosovan independence in Corriere della Sera -


Will the independence of Kosovo threaten stability in the Balkans? (14th Feb.)
Yes: 66.4%
No:  33.6%

So the only rational explanation I can find for Italy pursuing a national policy so out of line with both national brain-knowledge and national gut-instinct is that this "alignment" performance on its part is 1) a sop consisting of "showing a face of unity" to counterbalance Western(TM) disapproval of Italian thin-ice ranks-breaking re non-hostile relations with Iran, Hizbollah and Hamas ... plus 2) some form of unmentionable behind-the-scenes calculation regarding preservation of Italy's weird n' scraggy lil' "special relationship" with pet ugly-duckling Albania?  

Yech! :-(

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami

by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 03:28:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is more than that. it is a demonstration that small countries in Europe are prey, and the European Union is a joke.

Suppose that Germany and other countries stated their opposition to the declaration of independence. That would certainly open the way to the entrance of Serbia to the EU.
That would mean full opening their markets to products from Germany et al. But no, Serebia must be on her knees; cut a little here and cut a little there.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If one wants a continent without borders, with peaceful coexistence among different people, why creating another?

(it may look ridiculous that one replies to himself, but i am just adding a sentence which comes close to the kernel of the issue.)

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:26:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem occurred in 1999.

After Rambouillet, this was the only possible result.

Kosovo is punishment to the Serbs for Bosnia.

There's no other way around it.

The fighting in Kosovo never needed to happen. Peace was in the offing. The EU and NATO chose the Kosovo Albanian side in 1999. Everything that came after is inevitability. The idea that Kosovo could exist inside Serbia is almost preposterous. A war is SURE to happen if the Albanians didn't get Kosovo, and that war would suck in Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, maybe even Albania.

That's why this is happening. They are choosing the possibility of trouble over certain trouble.

Unfortunately, our diplomats made this mess themselves, but they don't have the means to clean it up. In many ways, Kosovo was prelude to Iraq.

by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 07:26:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A war is SURE to happen if the Albanians didn't get Kosovo

Actually the "realistic" alternatives were there: a parition of Kosovo, in which the Northern tip of Kosovo remained in Serbia, was feasible but for the fact that the Kosovo Albanian side had no incentive to negotiate as it knew that the West would back up full independence without any need to make any territorial sacrifices.

Also it would be conceivable under different circumstances that a general peripheral agreement could be reached, that would include Bosnia, and the whole W.Balkans, guaranteeing among other things the free return of all refugees and funds for return or relocation (a vastly better allocation of EU money than the current situation)...

BTW I'm not sure how adamant Greece will be regarding the recognition of Kosovo. There is talk that Greece has very good relations with the Albanian parties in the Republic of Macedonia and given that for some bizzare reason the issue of our Northern Neighbour's name is seen as a major national threat, there might be some sort of quid pro quo there - although given Turkish occupation of N. Cyprus that would be suicidal IMHO.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 07:01:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to go completely off a tangent, why does Greece have a problem with Macedonia? Is it just purile posturing, or is there a point buried somewhere that I fail to grasp?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 07:06:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thessaloniki is in Greek Macedonia. There's some fear that the Yugoslavian one may some day claim some of the Greek one. I've no idea if there's any real foundation to these fears.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 07:10:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's 90% posturing and 10% substance. There was a nationalist frenzy in the 1990s (government induced but also some sort post-cold war national panic) regarding the fact that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia wanted to be known as Republic of Macedonia - this led to a very widespread (and toxic) nationalist discourse that has made it very costly politically for any Greek government to accept even a compound name for RoM (i.e. Northern Macedonia, Upper Macedonia, New Macedonia).

However, there are some marginal real issues here, minor ones that could be settled with some goodwill, such as irredentism in the RoM (a political minority but firmly entrenched in school curricula and public discourse there) and product names (all things exported as "Macedonian" from Greece, or public institutions would be forced to change their name if there is no other arrangement).

Both of these issues could be settled by no more that a month's sincere discussions, and some sort of arbitration from the EU - but positions are entrenched now and both countries will have a hard time bargaining... So the whole thing degenerates into discussing the "nationality" of Alexander the Great instead...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 07:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the clarification.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 07:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When Oliver Stone's Alexander came out, there were endless arguments about Alexander's nationality and Macedonian heritage on the Internet Movie Database disussion boards. These arguments in turn degenerated into online fistfights between Greek and FYROM nationalists -- a Greek would post an inpenetrably dense chunk from a 'historical' essay lifted from a propaganda website (with a name like macedoniafacts.com or macedoniatruth.org), followed by an FYR-Macedonian doing likewise (also from websites with names like macedoniafacts.com or macedoniatruth.org), repeated ad nauseum.

The people posting these screeds actually thought that they could change peoples' opinions this way, when for outsiders it was a perfect hall of mirrors of fanatical nationalism and mythologised history, each side asserting that their people had lived in Macedonia in unbroken historical continuity for thousands of years while the other lot were recent interlopers, with everything the same on both sides except for the names...

by Gag Halfrunt on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 08:48:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Believe it or not, it gets much worse than mythologized history. So much of the problem is recent.

You have Greeks in the Macedonia region who are themselves refugees from either the Ottoman Empire or the Soviet Union. They moved en masse to the region while at the same time Pomaks and Bulgars and Slav speaking Greeks were moved out (for many reasons, losses from Balkan Wars, siding with the Nazis, or also aiding the Communists for the Greek civil war). Karaskidou's book Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood does a pretty good job of showing the ethnic mix over the last century in this area. Outside of Greece, Albanians and Macedonians are aggrieved for land losses. Meanwhile, inside of Greece, you have Greeks aggrieved for their own land losses elsewhere. Plus, ww2 and the civil war were not only "cause" for expulsion of other ethnic groups, but a good number of Greeks as well (such as my uncle, a 12 year old drafted into the ranks of the guerillas, he lived in the Eastern Bloc up until the early 1990s). This is why Greek sentiment is so adamant about the Greek part of Macedonia. It's a rather recent addition to Greece, and it was gained through much bloodshed in Balkan Wars, WW2 (against Germany, Bulgaria, Albania, Italy, 1 million Greeks died), and the Civil War.

In Macedonia, meanwhile, you have a national crisis right now because former Macedonian Presidents have become Bulgarian citizens and moved to Bulgaria, as have a great many young people, which further fuels Bulgarian arguments that Macedonians are simply Bulgarians converted to a national mythology by Tito. Ultimately, I think all this mixing speaks to our tenuous identities and the bankruptcy of romantic nationalism. Let them call themselves whatever they wish, whoever they think they are, but maybe to avoid future bloodshed a distinction could be made between Greek Macedonia and whatever. New Macedonia as the US recently proposed?

by Upstate NY on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 09:49:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Way beyond, as in Northern Cyprus, Macedonia, Moldova, Transdnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, North and South Ossetia, Abkhazia... as well as Northern Ireland, the Basque country, Corsica, and then Crimea, Kaliningrad, Karelia... am I forgetting anything?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:55:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Friesland.

:)

by Nomad on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 08:21:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alto Adige, Scotland, Wales, Palestine, Vermont...

If you enter Italy at Brennero on the local road (not the highway), the last thing you see in Austria  is a sign that reads

Südtirol ist nicht Italien
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 09:30:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did leave out the Padania and Veneto as well.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:06:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could add South Slovakia and Transsylvania, but I think those fears are about as much warranted as those concerning Brittany or the Crimean Tatars. Or what about Moravia.

For fun's sake, we could add Bavaria...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:51:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I decided long ago that macho nationalism and clan loyalties are being manipulated for nefarious purposes. Everywhere you look there are petty resentments and legitimate fears and it becomes difficult to sort out truth from lie, legitimate grievance from historical contrivance.

My view is that it is the job of peace-keepers not to interfere in the process of fracturing which will happen anyway. Rather it is their job to ensure that the safety and prosperity of all is preserved as much as possible, intervening only when the guns come out. At which point intervention should be overwhelming but limited.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 01:53:42 PM EST
I almost see deliberate destabilization of multiple regions on the part of world powers, but I'm told that's too conspiratorial.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:56:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
don't know what they've done.

This reminds me of a comment one of my teachers made a few years ago about how the Vietnam War was really just another battle in a thousand-year-long war between China and Vietnam, and that we had basically barged in without fully understanding what was going on.

I can't state an opinion about Kosovo's independence either way. There's too much history and emotion behind it, and both sides are guilty of bloodshed and mayhem. No one can really claim "innocent" status. Vbo is right, maybe in the long run this will turn out to be for the best, but for now every country supporting Kosovo's claim is setting a precedent, which I think they don't quite understand, for anyone to secede. Whether a particular area's secession is good or bad depends on the area/country it wants to leave, but supporting countries have just given the go-ahead for everyone to try.

They have no claim for stopping Republika Srpska now, and that will be a real mess both politically and geographically (RS is divided in two, surrounds two little Federation enclaves, and then there's Brčko, a city that technically belongs to both RS and the Federation, map here, RS in red, Federation in blue, Brčko in minty green). RS's government has claimed they won't seek independence, but there are movements within RS that given time have the potential to gather energy.

</rant>

by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 02:08:00 PM EST
I find "Kosovo independence" has a nasty smell, for the reason I outlined below.

What is also stinky is the European Union recognizing this "independence" which actually cheapens European values and what they are supposed to mean!

by euamerican on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 I really have mixed opinions about "Kosovo independence." I really have no taste for a declaration of "independence" when the minority population of Kosovar Serbs continue to be denied free movement, cultural rights and equality that the majority Albanian population enjoy. There is some nasty smell about this kind of "independence" when the minority population continue to be oppressed and under threat.

What is also disturbing is that the European Union intends to "recognize" the "new state of Kosovo." It seems to me that the Kosovar Albanian majority have not learned what European values are and the they have a long way to go before they can, legitimately, be recognized for anything "European." It is un-European to drive your neighbors out of their homes, burn their churches, and then deny them freedom of movement so they are confined to guarded enclaves. The Kosovar Albanians do not make good Europeans yet, and we should hold recognition of "Kosovo" until some measure of human rights and human dignity is restored to the Serbian minority, otherwise "European values" mean nothing.  

The treatment of Serbia reminds me of the treatment of Germany after World War One. The reparations to France and the conditions of the Versailles Treaty were viewed as unfair. This perception of unfairness by Germans was never addressed and we ended up with the slaughter of millions in WWII.  Likewise, the ultra nationalists in Serbian wax and wane according to how the rest of Europe views Serbia and how much Serbia is integrated into Europe. This  "Kosovo independence" will, no doubt, cause the ultra nationalists in Serbia to once again rise to power.

Last, those in Serbia that risk their lives to create "European Serbia" have been left out in the cold because of constant demands to produce indited war criminals that cannot be located or might even be dead. Zoran Djindjic was murdered in 2003 in the name of the European Serbia dream. There is a European Serbia and Serbia must not be left in the "EU losers club." The only answer to "Kosovo independence" is fast track Union membership for Serbia. There is no other peaceful solution but acquis communautaire in steroids for European Serbia.

The memory of brave Europeans like Zoran Djindjic demands nothing less...

by euamerican on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:26:23 PM EST
There is not a little hypocrisy in the decision to recognize Kosovo and ignore Serbia's protests, in that everyone tried for years to get Milosević and friends to follow the law. To listen to the law. Now the U.S. and certain members of the EU are blatantly ignoring UNSC 1244, which honors territorial integrity in Serbia and despite negotiations is still valid.

The more I think about this the angrier I become, because if we are not going to honor this UN resolution, why should anyone honor any other UN resolution? What the hell was the point of all the work that went into the resolution and negotiations? Serbia and Kosovo may have to be continually sent to separate corners of the ring, and Kosovo may have eventually ended up independent anyway, but dear god today's decision was really screwed up. This has really set a difficult precedent.

Now I'm thinking of all the secessionist movements in the U.S. Does anyone else think that as small and on-the-fringe as they are, recognizing Kosovo's independence today has just given them more legitimacy?

by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read that beyond Greece and Cyprus, Slovakia signalled they won't recognise Kosovo. I wonder what Romania will do.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 05:59:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't know about Romania. It just occurred to me, however, that for all my complaining, the former Yugoslav republics themselves probably have no choice but to recognize Kosovo since they had broken away as well.

Ugh. I can't think straight about this anymore....

by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:28:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, the BBC is reporting Romania doesn't support it.
by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:32:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They list Romania as definitely opposed, but not Spain and Greece? In-te-rest-ing.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:35:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romania has plenty of reason to be opposed: they have Transylvania, Moldova and Transdnistria to worry about.

As do Spain (Basque country, Catalonia, Galicia, Ceuta and Melilla, the Canary Islands, Olivenza...) and Greece (Northern Cyprus, Macedonia), of course.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:59:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece has Northern Cyprus and Western Thrace, where in one district (of three) the Moslem minority (dominantly turkish) is actually a majority and in another it's 50-50 with the Greek population.

In Macedonia there is no significant area in which seperatist Macedonian Slavs are even a substantial minority, let alone a majority.

Note also that various areas in S. Albania have a Greek majority/significant minority (despite the fact that most of them left for Greece they retain citizenship and property there). Although the only people advocating seccession of "Northern Epirus" (as it is called in Greece) are a few ultranationalist wingnuts, given the new situation that has developed, I'm betting on their resurgence...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:12:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reports say Romania was opposed alongside Blgaria, but it's not clear to me that theirs was a categoric opposition.

From the words of those two IDIOTS the German foreign minister and the CDU's foreign policy guy, it appears the pro-independence majority in the Council wants to push the minority to also agree so that there is EU unity on the matter.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:34:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
::Sigh::

Sometimes secession can be good. After all, my own country seceded from England in 1776. In Kosovo's case, I think at the very least, the timing was quite bad.

DoDo, where in what-would-become-Croatia were you and when? I didn't realize you had actually lived there.

by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:38:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A looong time ago, end of seventies. Six months in Obrovac, which was right at the border of the Krajinas, and two years in Zadar. Returned a number of times. I think my parents still have contact with the landlords.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:42:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope they got through the war alright.
by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:47:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. They sent their children to Australia. Zadar itself didn't receive much in terms of warfare, only three days of shelling (and the blowing up of the homes of Serbians after the cleansing of the Krajinas), during which an unexploded shell got stuck in their wall. (The hole was still unrepaired when we first visited after the war.)

We also had one post-war greeting card exchange with a Bosnian-Muslim family from the Croatian-Bosnian border, who once pre-war gave us shelter on a travel; how they made it, I'd be curious.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 07:04:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is Germany's game in the Balkans? They also were the first to recognize Croatian independence.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:02:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really don't know if, overall, there is more to it than a mistaken liberation ideology and even more mistaken sense of responsibility; plus, in the case of the government's foreign policy elites, mad blind naive Atlanticism. (I wonder what parallels there could be in Germany to the Slovenian case in the leak discussed in melo's first link.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:08:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the old alliance. Except Italy used to be included.

Italy, Austria, Germany and a huge chunk of the ex-Yugoslavia.

by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:27:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany had not much to say on the Western Balkans until WWII: that was the Habsburg Monarchy's backyard. They had more influence on the Eastern Balkans (Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, Romania all building best relations, including dynastic ones, with Prussia.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:55:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would imagine that you'll find that Greece will be a part of the last group that recognizes.

Spain and Slovakia have been a lot more hardline about it. Greece has said that it will recognize eventually.

Greece and Serbia had a falling out over post-Milosevic squabbles, and also Serbia recognized Macedonia as Macedonia.

by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 10:49:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am also curious about Spain's position.

France would also be interesting, would it not be led by a complete foreign-policy idiot.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:02:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought Spain was against it? Did I miss something?
by lychee on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:06:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(Checking)

No, I did miss it. Indeed Spain declared it's opposition, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:09:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also checked German media, and all but the Left Party representative is talking bullshit...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:12:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, Spain is against independence.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 06:09:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Various international positions and declarations here:

European Union countries have been split on Kosovo's act. Its four major member nations, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, along with the United States, were expected Monday to formally recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia, while Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain oppose recognizing Kosovo's move, at least in the short term for fear that it would become a dangerous precedent for other separatist movements. Still others like Malta and Portugal proposed that Kosovo's future be decided at the UN Security Council.

Some of the declarations agin' it:

Russia of course - strong on sarcasm:


Russia condemned Kosovo's proclamation, and demanded an urgent UN Security Council meeting on the issue, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"We expect the UN Mission in Kosovo and NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) will take immediate action to fulfill their mandates as authorized by the UN Security Council, including voiding the decisions of the Pristina local government and adopting severe administrative measures against them," said the statement.

Spain - handwringing:

The Spanish government on Sunday expressed its opposition to Kosovo's independence, saying it is beyond international laws for Kosovo to unilaterally declare its separation from Serbia.

It also said the declaration would harm peace in the Balkan region, setting a dangerous precedent for regions where separatism exits.

Czech Republic:

Czech President Vaclav Klaus warned Sunday that Kosovo's independence could trigger a domino effect in other European countries.

"Some parties in other states could realize that they do not feel completely at ease within a big state in which they are now," Klaus said in a television interview.

Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Zuzana Opletalova said the ministry has taken note of Kosovo's declaration of independence, but it is up to the EU to adopt a joint position regarding the recognition of the independence.

(...i.e. Czechs not recognising it but kinda-coyly hiding their opposition behind that "it's up to the EU" feint, fact being they know the EU is sharply divided so won't/can't recognise Kosovo - only "joint EU position" on this issue being usual smarmy statement saying "the EU calls on all parties to show moderation and restraint"... lol! )

Slovakia:


The Slovak Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it will not recognize Kosovo as an independent state for now. It will consider its next steps according to further developments and measures international organizations would take, the ministry said.

Slightly more coldly-formal version of the Czech statement??

...

North-Seas contingent sounds unenthusiastic...???


The German government has yet to decide whether it would recognize an officially independent Kosovo.
(...)
The Netherlands and Sweden have both expressed caution over Kosovo's independence. Both countries said they will not decide whether to recognize the independence of Kosovo until they studied the whole situation carefully.

In Stockholm, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called all parties to do their utmost to maintain calm and order in and around Kosovo.

"Throughout the status negotiations, Norway has stressed the importance of finding a solution both parties could agree to and that thus also could lead to a new UN Security Council resolution. It is deeply regrettable that this has not been possible," Stoere said in a statement.

Only ones actually clapping seem to be Albania USA UK and France?

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami

by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 07:10:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy seems to be keeping very quiet so far, indeed is even muter than pre-electorally justifiable.  However, Cuba's Prensa Latina put it in the anti-recognition camp... misunderstanding or scoop???  Can't find a trace of a position-statement in the Italian papers though, which is kinda-weird in itself -- so my bet is it's so queasy+conflicted on this issue it's silently tagging along in Germany's wake... they may well both band up with the Netherlands and Scandinavians by saying they're-with-the-EU but the-EU-should-pause-for-reflection-n'-search-for-unity?

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 07:47:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The lack of recognition from some countries--say, Sweden--is purposeful as a safeguard against Albanian forays into Northern Kosovo. The EU wants to keep using the carrot and stick approach.

I don't know why though since eventually the Serbs will either split off the north or leave it altogether.

Let's face it. The international community and the Albanians have been arguing, "We can't live with Serbia." I fail to see how that logic doesn't also apply to Serbs in Kosovo.

by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 at 10:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One has to take the declarations of "first studying the situation" with great cynism. It's not like the emergence of this situation wasn't to be expected, and it strains credulity that the foreign ministries didn't have well-prepared scenarios. I think these declarations are meant to play for time.

i.e. Czechs not recognising it but kinda-coyly hiding their opposition behind that "it's up to the EU" feint

I don't know. Even if from the same party, the President and the government aren't the same thing. It may be that Klaus is paranoid about a re-emergence of the Sudeten-German question, or even the appearance of Moravian separatism out of thin air, while the government is just being bashful in its Atlanticism.

Slovakia: ... Slightly more coldly-formal version of the Czech statement??

In Slovakia's case, I think diplomatic language is only meant to leave wiggle room. The nationalist-dominated Slovakian government's concern is a break-away of ethnic-Hungarian-majority areas in the South of the country.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 04:34:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have decidedly mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, in principle I support the right of people to secede from a country whose government they find onerous.

On the other hand, I have a decidedly ominous feeling about revising borders on the Balkans.

On the third hand, I think that in the long run it would be rather hard to keep Kosova in Serbia.

On the fourth hand, I think that the Union has been entirely too high-handed in this matter. If the Serbs and Russians are angry about this - well, it's hard to blame them.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 04:43:14 AM EST
Has Spain recognized Kosovo's independence yet? Just read Russia is very very irritated.
by The3rdColumn on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 01:48:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All I see in the Spanish press is platitudes on whether Kosovo and the Basque Country are similar or not, and Russia has picked up on that point, too.

Some old news, reported today over two weeks late...

Un coronel español asume el mando operativo de la KFOR en el periodo de mayor incertidumbre para Kosovo A Spanish Colonel takes operational command of KFOR during a time of the greatest uncertainty for Kosovo
Un coronel del Ejército de Tierra español ha asumido el mando operativo de los 16.000 militares de 34 naciones que integran la Fuerza de la OTAN en Kosovo (KFOR), en la fase de mayor incertidumbre tras la declaración de independencia de la provincia serbia.
Según informaron a Europa Press fuentes militares, el coronel Juan Montenegro Álvarez de Tejera, procedente del arma de Artillería, tomó el pasado 6 de febrero en el Cuartel General de la KFOR, con sede en Prístina, cargo como jefe de la Sección de Operaciones (J3) del Estado Mayor de la misión aliada, responsabilidad que ejercerá durante los próximos doce meses.
A Spanish Army Colonel has taken operative command of the 16,000 troops from 34 nations that make up the NATO force in Kosovo (KFOR), in a phase of the greatest uncertainty after the declaration of independence by the Serb province.
According to reports to [Spanish news agency] Europa Press by military sources, Artillery Colonel Juan Montenegro Álvarez de Tejera, took office as chief of the Operations Section of the Chiefs of Staff of the allied mission last 6th February at the KFOR headquarters in Pristina; he will hold this brief for the next twelve months.

And Spain's take on Kosovo as of 3 days ago:

Moratinos rechaza de nuevo a Kosovo argumentado motivos de seguridad- Lavanguardia.es - Noticias, actualidad, última hora en Cataluña y España [Spain's foreign minister Miguel Ángel] Moratinos rejects Kosovo again on security grounds - LaVanguardia.es - News, Current Affairs, Latest in Catalonia and Spain
El ministro de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, ha asegurado que la postura contraria del Gobierno español a la declaración unilateral de independencia en Kosovo se basa en "la preocupación sobre la estabilidad y seguridad en la región". Spain's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, has claimed that the Spanish government's position against the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo is based on "the concern over the stability and security of the region".

The article goes on to Russia's attacks on Spain's "hypocrisy" and Spain's explanations that there's no possible comparison between Spain and Serbia. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Catalan Left Republican Nationalist party ERC has claimed that "Spain increasingly resembles Serbia".

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 24th, 2008 at 10:07:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the fifth hand, there's the issue of the majority-Serbian population in the Northeastern region of Kosovo.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:01:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the sixth hand, there is the ethnic Serbian enclave on the border of Kosovo and Macedonia.

On the seventh hand, there are the Albanian villages beyond the border of Kosovo in Serbia. And also in Montenegro.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:03:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And in conclusion I would expect that Kosovo will join Albania in the not too distant future. Yes, may Catalonia, Basque Land, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Brittany and I don't how many other places in Europe be free. And there are innumerable places seeking independence outside Europe. Angela Merkel's statement about the acceptance of Kosovo's independence gave me laughing cramps: the course of events can't be taken as a precedent for future nationalistic conflicts (paraphrase). You've just got to love her for turning the U.S. repugnants twisted justification for the Supreme Courts declaration of Mr. G.W. Bush president in 2000 to her own ends. How very clever of her: we ignore existing international law (Kosovo was part of Serbia, after all) but no one else can do so after us, unless, of course, they just happen to want to and can get away with it.
by Quentin on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 07:12:27 AM EST
Will she have guts to support Tibetan independence or Sri Lankan Tamils?
by FarEasterner on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 07:26:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about Kashmir?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:09:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, may Catalonia, Basque Land, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Brittany and I don't how many other places in Europe be free.

I declare the independence of my back yard!

No, I am serious. That's at the end of that road. No territorial claim is without ambiguous borders.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 09:08:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I take it a step further and declare independence of my neighbours back yard! Then I will enforce a strict migration policy, can't have the neighbour running there all the time.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 04:51:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
During the first Spanish Republic the city of Cartagena famously declared itself an independent canton. It lasted for a few months, during which it threatened neighbouring cities with military action for real or imagined grievances.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:08:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, why not? You should be allowed to declare the independence of your back yard. The country you secede from should then be allowed to impose duties on all food exported to your back yard and establish toll stations at the entrance to your house.

I suspect that you'd soon see the wisdom of living in a state that has a sustainable size :-P

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 04:53:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish that such an approach was used more, but I guess that where this is not the case (say Russia and Chechnya) the head honchos does not really believe that belonging to their state is a net gain for the secessionist.

But is the right to seceed based on property? What about my neighbours backyard? He only owns it because of the unfair laws of Sweden, while it would be nationalised and usable for all in the glorious new state of Askodonia.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 20th, 2008 at 08:11:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish that such an approach was used more, but I guess that where this is not the case (say Russia and Chechnya) the head honchos does not really believe that belonging to their state is a net gain for the secessionist.

Then I ask myself why they presume that they have the right to govern the would-be secessionists in the first place? Is the legitimacy of government not derived from the consent of the governed, after all?

OK, I'll stop smoking pot now and get back to the real world.

But is the right to seceed based on property?

Well, no, of course not. In fact, finding the right way to draw post-secession borders is arguably the big headache. And I don't claim to have an instant solution. On the one hand, there are strong pragmatic arguments against shuffling too much land and property around during a secession. On the other hand, there are strong principled arguments in favour of not permitting people to take unfairly acquired property with them if they wish to secede.

I guess my answer to your question would be that you get to secede your back yard and not your neighbour's because you happen to live in your back yard, and your neighbour does not live in your back yard. Of course, if you imagine for fun and profit that there was a trail through your back yard that had hævd, you'd get into all sorts of hilarious complications - your neighbour would be permitted to demand a corridor through your country which must then be secured against smuggling, etc. (a la Kaliningrad).

I guess what I'm saying is that I support the right of an area to secede if the area is big enough that secession is practical, and I support aggressive intervention to prevent flag-of-convenience countries. The latter really follows from the former: If you allow Bill Gates to secede from the US, then the US should be allowed to make sure that he still pays taxes - otherwise secession would just become a tool for rich tax cheats rather than people who have legitimate grievances with their governments.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 20th, 2008 at 02:07:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kosovo 'tool kit for separatists'

Kosovo's independence has provided a tool kit for secessionist movements in Europe and beyond, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic has said. (...)

"By the actions of some European member-states, every would-be ethnic or religious separatist across Europe and around the world has been provided with a tool kit on how to achieve recognition," he said.

"Does anyone in this room think that the Kosovo Albanians are the only group in the world with a grievance against their capital?"
(...)

And he's dead right. Amongst others, Italy's racist-secessionist Northern Leaguers - the immigrant-kicking guys who wear anti-muslim cartoon-teeshirts under their suits and think Italians from north of the Po Valley are "racially" superior to all other Italians 'cause a higher percentage of Germanic genes got forcibly admixed into their gene-pool by Longobard invaders around 560 AD so they should now save taxes and avoid further gene-contamination by breaking off from the rest of the country and setting themselves up as a separate "nation" called "Padania" - are already jumping up and down in glee.  

From a speech made in Italy's parliament today by Northern  League MP Borghezio (my trans):

"[Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence] is a concrete application of the principle of self-determination of peoples foreseen in the UN Charter", commented the Northern League MP, adding however that he is seriously concerned about "the creation of the first Islamist state in Europe, as already hailed by all the jihadist press,  and the fate of the Orthodox Christian Serbian minority". Nevertheless, he stressed, "it is and remains a legal and political precedent which cannot be denied, a very important precedent for all those who aspire to independence in Europe, from Corsica to Flanders, from Sardinia to Eusaki and to our own Padania, still Nations without a State".

....add Scotland Wales Brittany and Cornwall... add scientologists mormons and moonies.... add Capri, Ischia, Lipari and Lampedusa ... add my backyard and yours.

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami

by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Wed Feb 20th, 2008 at 02:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not quite sure why we should object? If the crazies want to secede, why should we say anything other than "good riddance!"? Of course, some accord will have to be reached to protect those non-crazies who do not want to secede, just as an accord should have been reached in Kosova to protect those citizens who didn't want to secede.

And of course some measures will have to be taken to prevent people from seceding in order to not have to pay their fair share of taxes. But in the case of land-locked secessionists, that's pretty simple - after all, it's not like they're going to be members of the WTO, so we can trade-war them to bankruptcy if they act as flag-of-convenience countries for rich tax cheats.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 20th, 2008 at 03:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]

You mean like we do now for Liechtenstein? Not too convincing...

But a new country is unlikely to be a flag-of-convenience one for rich tax cheats right away. People like this perfer places with a reputation for stability, something you get only after many years of independence.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 20th, 2008 at 03:54:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean like we do now for Liechtenstein? Not too convincing...

No, actually I was thinking something more along the lines of what the Israeli are doing to Gaza. Maybe sans the airstrikes, though.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 20th, 2008 at 06:10:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In my preceding post for 'justification' read 'caveat'.
by Quentin on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 07:15:33 AM EST
Moscow to Recognize Abkhazia's Independence - Kommersant Moscow
The response of Moscow to unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo and the future of self-proclaimed republics are highlights of Russia's mass media today.

The general forecast is that the Kremlin will attempt to play a precedent card. Moscow will hardly recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia de jure but may open representation offices in those two breakaway republics of Georgia, recognizing their independence de facto. The development of this scenario will depend on the world's attitude to Kosovo.

Another aftermath of Pristine's decision could be the escalation of clashes in the Balkans. Serbian police are yet able to contain local extremists willing to force their way to Mitrovitsa, where most of the residents are Serbs, and to fight the separatists there. The mere fact that the Serbian minority has asked Belgrade for help signals the situation will further aggravate in the region.

Not only Serbia but also the neighboring states are under the threat. The Albanian nationalists are also eyeing the land of Macedonia, willing to create the Great Albania with the capital in Skopje.


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 08:55:06 AM EST
How is the situation in Macedonia now?

The albanian-macedonian conflict in Macedonia was a top foreign news story in august-september 2001, but then all the press left for hotter conflict zones.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 04:55:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:

Not only Serbia but also the neighboring states are under the threat. The Albanian nationalists are also eyeing the land of Macedonia, willing to create the Great Albania with the capital in Skopje.
---------
Interesting how everybody is talking about "Great Serbia" that couldn't be smaller and nobody cares about Great Albania that is bigger then ever having in mind what happened...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 02:37:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Russia wants to recognize Abkhazia, they'd better do it quick before Georgia joins NATO.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:10:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Re-post from the Salon at Jérôme's request:

Here is one German editorial NOT echoing the Atlanticist idiocy -- Bruno Schoch in the leftist taz:

taz.de - Debatte Kosovo-Unabhängigkeit: Das schlechte Beispiel taz.de - Argument over Kosovo's Independence: The Bad Example
...Der Westen hält seinen Schritt für überfällig, das Kosovo gehöre ohnehin seit 1999 de facto nicht mehr zu Serbien. Er setzt darauf, dass Belgrad und Moskau nach und nach klein beigeben. Die Hoffnung könnte trügen. Auch wirft diese Politik des Fait accompli einen Rattenschwanz von Folgeproblemen auf. ...The West thinks that its step is long overdue, Kosovo de facto doesn't belong to Serbia since 1999 anyway. It bets that Belgrade and Moscow will back down little by little. This hope could be delusive. Also, this policy of fait accomply throws up a rat's tail of follow-up problems.
Eine einvernehmliche Lösung ist ausgeschlossen, weil die Antagonisten auf ihren Maximalforderungen beharren. [...] Ihnen trug bekanntlich schon die UN-Resolution 1244 von 1999 Rechnung: Sie schrieb die Integrität des Staates fest und entzog ihm zugleich das Kosovo. A consensual solution is out of question, because the antagonists insits on their maximum demands. [...] As we know, UN Resolution 1244 from 1999 also took these into account: It laid down the integrity of the [Serbian] state and detracted Kosovo from it at the same time.

Wow, someone who remembers it.

Lange hielt sich der Westen an die Formel "Standards vor Status". Rechtsstaat, Freiheitsrechte, Gleichberechtigung und Freizügigkeit sollten gewährleistet sein, ehe man über den Endstatus befinden wolle. Dass diese Standards nicht erfüllt sind, konstatieren internationale Vermittler unisono. Gleichwohl rückte der Westen nach den Pogromen von 2004 von der Maxime "Standards vor Status" ab. For long, the West held to the "standards before status" formula. Rights of freedom, equality and free movement were supposed to be guaranteed before a decision on final status. That these standards aren't fulfilled is stated byinternational negotiators in unison. Nevertheless, after the pogroms of 2004, the West withdrew from the "standards before status" maxim.
...
Die regionale Stabilität verbessert sich nicht. Mit einem unabhängigen Kosovo triumphiert jene ethnonationale Logik abermals, der sich EU und Nato doch gerade widersetzten. Die serbischen Gebiete im Norden könnten sich vom Kosovo abspalten. Auch besteht die Gefahr, dass "ethnische Säuberungen" weitergehen - Umsiedlungen bleiben barbarisch, selbst wenn sie international kontrolliert und unblutig erfolgen. Die Spaltung des Kosovo widerspräche allem, wofür der Westen seit 1999 eingetreten ist. Hinzu kommt das Risiko einer regionalen Destabilisierung. In Mazedonien drohen Sezessionisten unter der albanischen Minderheit neuen Auftrieb zu erfahren. Erst recht dürfte die Bereitschaft der Republika Srpska noch weiter sinken, sich in den Staat Bosnien und Herzegowina zu integrieren. Damit steht auch das Abkommen von Dayton auf dem Spiel. Wie Stabilität auf dem Westbalkan erreicht werden soll ohne die Kooperation Serbiens, des gewichtigsten Akteurs, steht in den Sternen. Regional stability won't improve. With an independent Kosovo, the same ethno-nationalist logic triumphs yet again which EU and NATO just opposed. The Serbian areas in Northern [Kosovo] could split off. There is also the danger that "ethnic cleansings" will continue - relocations remain barbarian, even if they are controlled internationally and take place without bloodshed. The division of Kosovo would contradict everything for which the West stood for since 1999. Add to this the risk of a regional destabilisation. In Macedonia, there is a threat that separatists among the Albanian minority will receive a boost. The readiness of the Republika Srpska to integrate into the state of Bosnia could sink more than ever. With that, the Dayton Agreement is also at stake. How stability could be achieved on the West Balkan without the cooperation of Serbia, the heaviest actor, is in the stars.
Das Kosovo droht zum Präzedenzfall für andere "eingefrorene" Konflikte zu werden, von Transnistrien bis Südossetien und Abchasien. Und was ist mit Nordzypern? Alles Beteuern, das Kosovo sei ein ganz besonders gelagerter Fall, gleichen dem sprichwörtlichen Pfeifen im Wald. Präzedenzfälle schafft man nicht, indem man sie erklärt oder leugnet, sondern durch die normative Kraft des Faktischen. Kosovo is threatening to become a precedent for other "frozen" conflicts, from Transnistria [Moldova's Russian-speaking break-away] to South Ossetia and Abchasia [Georgia's break-aways]. And what about North Cyprus? All the assurances that Kosovo is a very specially situated case equates to the proverbial whistling in the woods. One doesn't create precedent cases by declaring or denying them, but through the nromative power of the factual.

I agree -- the way the EU allowed the secession of Montenegro was bad enough, but this is much worse.

If you read German, read this op-ed in full -- it makes several other good points.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 09:06:50 AM EST
The EU recognizing Kosovo independence without meeting minority rights status is what makes this so bad...
I am glad that some Member States have said that they will not recognize this ... and it speaks bad for the idea of human rights as a "European value."

The effect of "recognizing Kosovo independence" means recognizing a human rights violator and rogue nation within Europe...

by euamerican on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 09:54:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And even those member states aren't led by a concern for minority rights in Kosovo and stability of the Balkans, but concern about secessionists in their own countries.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 04:46:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Kosovo qualify for Council of Europe membership?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:11:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the way the EU allowed the secession of Montenegro was bad enough

Serbia didn't put up a fight after Montenegro voted to secede (there were citizen protests but after the vote, everyone pretty much shrugged their shoulders and said, "Meh"). It was as close to mutually agreed dissolution as you'll find in the Balkans, I think. Why was the EU's handling of it so bad?

by lychee on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 10:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed it was taken with apathy, but mutually agreed secession it was not. Almost 45% of even those who could vote voted against secession. Back then, I wrote this diary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 04:42:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Montenegro is simply not comparable with this situation. First it was republic in ex YU and Kosovo was not and second most of Montenegrians are actually Serbs (that's why they voted like they did).

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:09:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This also points to contradiction in the main argument for Kosovo's independence.

The main players in the EU argue that you can't expect Albanians to live inside Serbia after what Milosevic pulled in 1999. Yet in the next breath the players argue that you can expect them to live alongside Serbs in Kosovo. If the Albanians are so aggrieved (and I'm sure they are) this doesn't speak to multiethnic harmony inside Kosovo at all. Essentially, the players are somehow sticking to a formula which, by their own admission, is doomed to fail.

Can someone explain this willful blindness to me?

by Upstate NY on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:35:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I need to sit down and work out Kosovo et al ... ever since I discovered on ET that (unsurprisingly) the mainstream media narrative was a fairytale I have failed to adequately grasp even the basics of the situation in that area.

I suspect I'm not alone here: I very much doubt that almost all the members of the governments involved don't understand what they're doing. There will be a small number of civil servants who think they do, but they'll mostly be operating on biases and sympathies.

Sometimes the system is just fucked.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:41:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect you haven't had a good listen to Bernard Kouchner on this subject. He's one of the main players.

After watching him in action, let me say I'm a lot less confident in the motivations and abilities of EU ministers than you are.

I appreciate your point of view, and actually this is a frequent argument that friends make when we discuss international events. I'm of the mind that fuckups frequently occur, while my friends tend to think that things are much more plotted.

From the US, I watch as the CIA sets up fake banks in Europe with which to entrap Al Qaeda, I watch as the Joint Cheifs of Staff conjure up Operation Northwoods to trigger wars, I watch as badly forged uranium documents are pased to Italy, as German intelligence conjures up Serbian genocide plots in Kosovo (Operation Plotvicka) not realizing they are using the Croatian spelling in their forgery, I watch as the British parliament states that, although the document is a forgery, it still rings true, and American congressman and State Dept officials who have no clue act surprised when an Albanian at the table at Rambouillet rejects a peace agreement.

These events, these people, do not inspire confidence. In fact, they look like bunglers to me. Bill Clinton's own Balkans outlook was fashioned after reading a single book by a neo-con. I think we could do better.

by Upstate NY on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 12:15:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I started reading this and thought "'a lot less confident in the motivations and abilities of EU ministers than you are'? Cynical man." and then realised that I had meant to write:
I suspect I'm not alone here: I very much doubt that almost any of the members of the governments involved understand what they're doing. There will be a small number of civil servants who think they do, but they'll mostly be operating on biases and sympathies.

Double negatives are not my friend.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 12:18:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah! Yes, and upon rereading everything, I should have known because some of the rest of what you wrote didn't jibe with that first sentence.
by Upstate NY on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 01:40:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only explanation I know of willfully sowing discord is a Spanish saying: a río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores (turbulent river: profit for anglers)

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:17:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, wonderful.
by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:06:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Bush recognises independent Kosovo

US President George W. Bush on Monday recognised Kosovo's declaration of independence, saying:"The Kosovars are now independent."

"It's something I've advocated along with my government," Mr Bush said in a live interview aired on NBC television from Arusha, Tanzania. A formal US recognition of Kosovo's independence was expected later on Monday.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 09:53:13 AM EST
Bush is having quite a gig in Africa. Here is that old consolation for failing emperors: a tour through bored and exploited provinces...

by das monde on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 08:46:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh look, happy, smiling native dancing girls with only Dubya's mug to cover their native bosoms.

Of course, if Bush was looking at their chests no-one would know whether it was out of lust or just narcissism...

by Gag Halfrunt on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 10:35:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I understand correctly, an Assembly without the judiciary power to do so, under the control of Unmik, makes a proclamation of no national or international legal value, alleging independence. The so-called proclamation of independence is then formally recognized by Afghanistan while US State acknowledges the "independence" of Kosovo as a fact.

The proclamation is, of course, fairly conciliatory, based on the plan put together by the UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari that blueprinted a Western "independence with international supervision" of the EU. Considering that the whole Kosovo jig has been one big failure after another with a generous side dish of billions of euro disappearing into somewhere beyond our horizons, look forward to building other sham states. It will bring further prosperity to the very few, unnamed and unaccountable.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 10:19:43 AM EST
Let's just hope we are not seeing the first sights of the next Balkan war.  

Well, there are three answers to this riddle:

  1. We get another Balkan war;
  2. We get a destabilizing mafia superstate on the doorstep of Europe;
  3. Both of the above.

There's really only those three choices.

I heard bumbling Dubya on the radio this AM on this very subject, sure sounded a lot like the bumbling Kohl a generation ago...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 10:27:00 AM EST
Kosovo Independence: What Can the World Expect? | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 18.02.2008
Kosovo's declaration of independence has already sent tremors through the international community. DW-WORLD.DE spoke to Balkans expert Stefan Wolff about what Kosovo and the world can expect in the near future.

Stefan Wolff is a professor of political science at Nottingham University in the UK, specializing in the prevention and settlement of ethnic conflicts and in post-conflict reconstruction in deeply divided and war-torn societies. He has extensive expertise in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe, and has also worked on a wide range of other conflicts elsewhere, including the Middle East, Africa, and Central, South and Southeast Asia.

 

DW-WORLD.DE: Is Kosovo prepared for independence in terms of infrastructure, governance, security and stability?

 

Stefan Wolff: Kosovo has most of the important institutions of statehood and democratic governance in place, but at the same time these institutions will require continued international support for some time. This is accepted by both the Kosovars and  the West and is the background against which we need to understand the EU mission for Kosovo -- as external assistance to consolidate existing institutional structures to enable Kosovars to take care of developing their economy, infrastructure and ensure security and stability.

 

The decision to declare independence is not a unanimous one within the population. What minorities in Kosovo have most to lose from this independence? 

 

In principle, all minorities and the majority Albanian population can gain from the clarification of Kosovo's international status, not least in the sense that they will all benefit from economic development. Prime Minister Thaci made some very important gestures yesterday towards reconciliation with Serbs in Kosovo. The Arthisaari plan offers important mechanisms to Serbs to preserve and develop their identity, gives them opportunities to play a meaningful part in the political process in Kosovo and retain ties with Serbia. From this perspective, there is no need for conflict between the two main population groups, but that does not mean that extremists on either side will refrain from violence and provocations. So far, this risk has been contained, but not eliminated.

by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:29:35 AM EST
Serbia, Russia Move to Annul Kosovo Independence | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 18.02.2008
Calling it "illegal," Russia and Serbia stepped up their efforts to annul Kosovo's independence Monday, Feb. 18 with both countries calling emergency sessions of parliament to discuss their next moves.

Russian deputies gathered to finalize a text on the "consequences" of Kosovo's declaration while preparing an official condemnation of the act and urging UN chief Ban Ki-moon to take a tougher stance.

 

"The Kosovo example could plunge the world into chaos," senior parliamentarian Mikhail Margelov was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying. The independence declaration goes against "international law and morality.... This is a dangerous precedent," he said.

by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:30:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indonesia says it does not recognize Kosovo's independence - AOL News
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesia said Monday it does not recognize Kosovo's declaration of independence, a move that reflects Jakarta's concern that the pronouncement could energize its own separatist movements.

Indonesia, a sprawling country of some 18,000 islands, saw East Timor break away in 1999 and is battling widespread secessionist sentiment in the Papua region and a smaller nonviolent movement in the Maluku islands.

The government said in a statement it regretted Kosovo's unilateral declaration and hoped it would not bring about fresh tension and conflict in the Balkan region. It said U.N.-backed principles of upholding the territorial integrity of developing nations must be supported.

"The government of Indonesia will follow closely developments in Kosovo, but it is not yet in a position to recognize this unilateral declaration of independence," the statement said.

Russia and Serbia have declared Sunday's declaration by the Kosovo parliament illegal and said it could spur independence movements in the region and the world. But most of the 27 nations in the European Union are expected to quickly endorse the pronouncement.
by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:32:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Khaleej Times Online - China `concerned', Australia backs Kosovo split

PARIS - Australia on Monday became the lastest nation to welcome Kosovo's declaration of independence, joining the United States and several European powers, despite fierce objections from Serbia and Russia.

But China was among countries unhappy with Kosovo's breakaway from Serbia, declaring it was "deeply concerned" about the future of peace in the region.

"The unilateral approach by Kosovo may cause a series of consequences and lead to severe negative influences on the peace and stability of the Balkan region," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement.

"China expresses deep concern about this."

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said diplomatic recognition of the new state would be offered soon.

by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:33:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | EU splits on Kosovo recognition
European Union foreign ministers have failed to forge a joint position on Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia.

While France confirmed that it would recognise independence, as expected, several member states led by Spain made clear their legal concerns.

US President George W Bush said Kosovo's people were "independent" but stopped short of formal recognition.

Russia has backed Serbia in its refusal to recognise Kosovo's secession.

About 10,000 students protested in Belgrade on Monday, and thousands of the city's taxi-drivers went on strike in protest at the declaration of independence, while thousands of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo's enclaves also rallied.

by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU remains split on Kosovo - EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The question of whether the 27-nation European Union will be able to come up with a unified reaction to the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo currently rests with Spain, as the country is refusing to sign up to a common position drafted by the Slovenian EU presidency.

According to a draft document discussed by EU foreign ministers, "the council noted that member states can decide, in accordance with national practice and legal norms, to establish their relations with Kosovo as an independent state under international supervision."

However, Spain has refused to agree to the text and has instead tabled its own proposal. Cyprus also strongly opposes the current text proposed by the Slovenian EU presidency.

"The council notes that member states will decide, in accordance with national practice and international law, on their relations with Kosovo," reads the Madrid-sponsored paper.
by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:35:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Prime Minister Thaci made some very important gestures yesterday towards reconciliation with Serbs in Kosovo.

Meh. Of course he did. So did, towards their own minorities, all the nation states born out of the Paris Peace Conferences after WWI.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 05:03:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stefan Wolff: Kosovo has most of the important institutions of statehood and democratic governance in place
I find that hard to believe.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:20:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't find it unbelievable. But what's on paper and what exists in practice can be strongly different.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Massimo D'Alema has just declared (17h11)that Italy will recognize Kosovo with the formula "paese indipendente sotto la sovranita' della comunita' internazionale"- "an independent nation under the sovereignty of the international community."

The issue of recognition will be discussed in the House next Wednesday.

At the same time, the British Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Miliband announced Great Britain's recognition of  Kosovo as an independent state.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:44:28 AM EST
Italy's backing of Kosovo's independence is and remains extremely queasy - by way of analysis, "La Repubblica" is giving frontpage headline-links to an article and an animated map+audio+transcript in the geopolitics mag "Limes" - here's my quick translation of excerpts (apologies for not bilingual-formatting but don't have time just now to start learning how to do one of those nice parallel-text thingies...).


Kosovo or Kosova, it's still our problem

The three Kosovos. Declaration of independence and flag under the aegis of the "geopolitically-correct". Political dependency on the West but infrastructures dependent on Serbia.  The many hotheads. The organised-crime trafficking. Kosova will become more and more a problem of ours.

(...) It's certain that from now on Kosova will become more and more a problem of ours. A European problem, an Italian problem. Our soldiers are in the front line, in the NATO framework.  And the notorious criminal traffickings that from Asia reach into our country crossing through that Balkanic territory will become even less controllable than before, in the new geopolitical and institutional context. But as usual, we turn up at the appointment-date unprepared, with no  real idea what to do. We shall recognise Kosova so as to maintain our little niche in the Contact Group, pretending we count as much as the other Euroatlantic partners. To do what?

The Problems of Independent Kosovo

An independent Kosovo immediately brings two issues into the field, one at local level and the other in the international sphere.  

At the local level, the problem is the fate of the approximately 120 thousand Serbs who decided to remain in the Albanian-majority province after the Kosovo war. They are concentrated above all in northern Kosovo along the border with  Serbia and in the area of the city of Mitrovica, divided between Serbians and Albanians along the Ibar river, which is readying itself to become a new Berlin.

But one must not overlook the Serbian enclaves around the many orthodox monasteries, often located along strategic routes for the illegal traffickings that constitute the main item in Kosovo's economy. One of these cases is that of the monastery of Decani.

In Kosovo the armed groups linked to the various clans are still active, and on both sides various paramilitary militias are in training.

Another crucial point is the situation in the Presevo valley, which is outside Kosovo, in Serbia, but is populated by Albanians who have close ties both with the Kosovars and with the Albanian minority in Macedonia. The Albanians of Albania are more detatched, although Northern Albania, being inhabited by the same Kosovar-Albanian  ethnic group, could come into the orbit of more-advanced Kosovo.

In the international sphere Serbia can count on the support of  Russia, which on the one hand is taking advantage of the issue to extend its influence into the former-Yugoslavia area and on the other is threatening to recognise the self-proclaimed independence of the Russian enclaves in the former Soviet space, headed by Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

On the other front, Kosovo can count on the support of the United States and of the European countries that host large Kosovar communities (Great Britain, Austria, Switzerland, Germany). The four "big powers" Italy, France, Germany and Great Britain intend to recognise the new State, unlike other European countries such as Spain and Greece, worried about their own independence movements. Kosovo's independence would in fact set a precedent favorable to independence movements all over the world.



"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 02:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian has a pro-independence opinion piece by a Kosovan journalist, Kim Bytyci, who among other things says that Kosovo is a special case and its independence does not set a precedent for anywhere else. (Never mind that Putin has already linked Kosovo with Abkhazia, Transdnestria and South Ossetia.)

Her argument about why Kosovo's Serbs should not in turn form a separate entity could just as well be invoked against Kosovan independence itself:

Organised disobedience and attempts to revise borders along ethnic lines - in effect, partition - in a region full of "ethnic" pockets, could easily lead to a domino effect. One need not look as far as India and Pakistan to see the consequences of such attempts. We saw what happened in Bosnia in the 1990s. Europe cannot afford a repeat.

Incidentally, Bytyci's byline describes her as a 'Kosovan Albanian from Serbia'. Perhaps she is from the Presevo valley.
by Gag Halfrunt on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 02:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've followed Limes on this for years- an excellent source on geopolitical affairs. General Fabio Mini who commanded forces there for a period in the '90's is very much an outspoken critic of the utter corruption and generalized idiocy behind the whole Kosovo story. Limes is the best source on the Balkans as mafia states.

Mini had a very ironic article up yesterday on Kosovo independance, February 17th, on page 13 of the Repubblica (not on line). It's well worth a read, or a meditation.

Limes also has an English edition, Heartland, but has very little on line.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 04:00:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a great Limes fan too, they do wide-spanning analysis with lots of hard info and have the best-ever range of geopolitical maps.  Also a Mini fan - his "La guerra dopo la guerra" (2003 - "War after War: soldiers bureaucrats and mercenaries in the age of virtual peace") is a classic, it taught me so much - really woke me up to some of the realities behind the politically-correct blahblahblah. It's one of the very few recent Italian books that really should have got itself translated into dozens of languages... but no such luck, not EU-orthodox enough. Grrrr very frustrating to hear that La Repubblica published an article of his on Kosovo yesterday but not in its online edition :-(

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 05:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've quoted him here or at Booman before on his analysis of the Iraq invasion. It was an interview by Bonini and D'Avanzo. He showed that the entire military campaign had to be based on prior knowledge that Saddam had no WMDs.

Here's the quote, The Significance of Plame.

Here's his tongue in cheek piece on Kosovo yesterday. Slap me with unfair use and enjoy.


TACCUINO STRATEGICO
UN TAGLIO NETTO COL PASSATO
FABIO MINI
Si può essere certi che il primo segnale che il Kosovo intende mandare al mondo con la preannunciata dichiarazione d´indipendenza sarà di moderazione e rassicurazione. I dirigenti kosovari sanno che l´Assemblea nel cui ambito verrà trattata l´indipendenza è pur sempre un organo transitorio, sotto il controllo dell´ Unmik. Non ha facoltà giuridica né di proclamare né di imporre l´indipendenza una volta per tutte. Il Kosovo ha bisogno ancora di tempo. Deve raccogliere molte adesioni formali da Paesi significativi. Non è in grado né di sopravvivere né di svilupparsi senza l´aiuto sostanziale, e non solo a chiacchiere, dell´Europa, dell´America e di una buona parte dei Paesi del mondo. L´indipendenza non può risolversi in un auto-strangolamento. Anzi deve portare ricchezza.
Questa leadership deve poi essere certa di essere indipendente dalle responsabilità del passato. Nessuno deve collegarla agli eccidi, alle pulizie etniche e ai massacri. Deve essere indipendente dalla gestione che in un decennio ha assorbito risorse enormi e non ha prodotto alcun risultato duraturo. Nessuno deve chiedere conto ai kosovari del fallimento della ricostruzione gestita in tandem dall´Unione Europea e dalle Nazioni Unite, del fallimento istituzionale gestito dall´Osce, del fallimento dei piani fasulli per il rientro dei rifugiati, dello scempio dei diritti umani e di quello della proprietà pubblica, cooperativa e privata, della sceneggiata della dissoluzione delle bande armate e dell´evaporazione dei miliardi di dollari entrati in Kosovo in varie forme. Nessuno deve chiedere conto ai vari leader di oggi di ciò che è stato fatto ieri, anche se sono lì, e gli stessi, da sempre.
Per acquisire questa indipendenza e irresponsabilità bisogna essere cauti, collaborativi e silenziosi. Bisogna avere alleati forti di braccia e di naso che facciano scudo agli interrogativi sul passato e sul presente. Per questo si può essere ragionevolmente certi che non ci saranno draconiane prese di posizione, e quello che verrà dall´Assemblea sarà un misurato e "responsabile" atteggiamento, accolto da un compassato applauso.

La Repubblica 2008.02.17, pagine 13

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 06:18:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks!  ;-)

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 06:31:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you know, things written in English create more waves. You can say what you think, as long (practically) no-one listens. I'm not justifying the hidding of information; just pointing that it exists.
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 06:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a conservative friend who works at an American think tank. He always reads Limes for the quality and diversity of contributers. He considers it better than Foreign Affairs. Limes looks at the world from a non-American viewpoint. And its focus issues invariably have top-notch contributions from the nations put under scrutiny.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 08:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, there is no substitute to the knowledge of foreign languages. Dominate a language is the highest intellectual achievement of most of us. After all, languages are the framework for the construction of thoughts, not sentences.

the reason why one may forget to read italian-based strategic thinkers is behaviours like this (from Dedefensa, again not in english). when things like this are an everyday event in your own country, you don't go seek them elsewhere; you try escape from them. ("you" here means many people, including me).
Don't you appreciate the depth of studien-von-zeitfragen?

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for the reference. I'll read Limes with pleasure.
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 06:33:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks for the description. minor note: minorities of foreign nationals do not dictate foreign policy.
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very interesting article here: NATO's Kosovo Colony (h/t to Belvedere come here boy's diary at DailyKos).
by lychee on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 12:46:09 PM EST

(Image: "Orthodox Church," cc-licensed photo from Flickr by decafinata.)

this is such a rubik's cube of a problem.

just how confusing was shown to me by this: http://www.counterpunch.org/grubacic02022008.html, and this: http://www.counterpunch.org/szamuely02152008.html and just when my head was about to explode, i found this:
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/02/17/jasmina-tesanovic-ko-1.html#comments which was at least easier to read!

good luck!

maybe we could have offered them a national footy team, and a promise of the world cup in say 2045 instead, but no-o-o-o....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 12:50:47 PM EST
You should diary your first link! That's very damning and very important.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 05:06:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first link is broken by a stray comma.

Andrej Grubacic and Ziga Vodovnik: Caligula's Horse

Let us start with the "Slovenian scandal" which we recognize as a new colonial model. In one of our previous articles we suggested a possible explanation of the nature of American interests in the Balkans. We believe that our conclusions are further confirmed by the events in Slovenia, which, to remind our readers, today holds presidency of the European Union. European leaders woke up to an unpleasant surprise the other day, a leak of an internal document of Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MZZ). This document, published in the Slovenian daily Dnevnik and the Serbian daily Politika, reveals content of a meeting between representatives of MZZ and representatives of the US State Department and National Security Agency (NSA),that took place on 24 December 2007 in Washington D.C. Slovenia's willful following of various exotic orders coming not from Brussels (the Senate) but from across the Atlantic (the Emperor), is already a well-known fact in the diplomatic hallways of Europe. But recent developments directly connected with orders and promises that were revealed in this leaked document, can mean the final transfer of our horse to the stable of New Europe, a group of states whose foreign policy is dictated by servile obedience to the United States. This, of course, also means the official end to all illusions about the credibility and importance of the Slovenian Presidency in the EU.


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:25:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I agree 100% with the above commentary, but if you scroll down, they quote from the document, and the contents are chilling and damning in themselves.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:02:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dodo, my understanding of the balkans is as near zero as you can get.

please, do the much better job on it that you could do!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:40:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However you doubt your own knowledge of the matters, yours is the scoop, it would not be fair for me to steal it! If you feel uneasy about making your own analysis, you could post it as LQD. However, just that you sought, found and read these three articles shows to me that you do have the knowledge.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:45:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To boot, I won't do it anyway, because I have another diary project to finish by tomorrow :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a little ambivalent about all this as well.  The drive of little ethnic groups to form independent nations is problematic at best. The difficulties and chain reactions have been thoroughly discussed here.
But it seems to me that Serbia has forfeited any claims to hegemony over ANYONE.  There's plenty of blame to throw around, but Serbia has repeatedly proven its unfitness to be in a dominating position over any ethnic, racial, religious, national or other group.  They broke the social contract and they can have no further claim to the people they tried to wipe out or the land upon which they live.
I wouldn't let Serbia into the EU until stops wearing a chip on its shoulder, trying to pick fights with everyone, and eliminating anyone it can dominate.  The country has a profoundly immature attitude.
Two poor little picked on bullies: Putin and Serbia.  Good luck and good night.
by Andhakari on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 03:13:34 AM EST
trying to pick fights with everyone, and eliminating anyone it can dominate.

HUH!? What you say was ten years ago. Since then, Milo has been toppled.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 05:08:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite Western™ hopes to the contrary, none of the various Serb leaders after Milosevic have been particularly pro-western. The narrative on uppity post-Milosevic Serbia has for some time looked a lot like coverage of uppity post-Yeltsin Russia: it's almost as if we had to be surprise that they raise their heads and assert themselves after "defeat".

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 06:16:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, I almost didn't catch the snark.

I remember the great hopes in the West for Kostunica. This was the Democrat who was the first to translate important documents of American democracy into Serbian.

Turned out he was a "nationalist" and a "hardliner."

by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:11:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I must note that at least in the German and Hungarian press I read at the time, Kostunica was considered a nationalist and a 'lesser ill' before the toppling of Milo. Zoran Đinđić was the clear choice for sympathetic presentation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think this is about Milo.  And it's not about forcing subservience, either.  All I ever hear from Serbia is whining that they can't screw around with all the people they used to screw around, about how nobody (except Russia) likes them or trusts them.
I've never seen anything resembling contrition coming out of Serbia.  Ten years is nothing when they can't understand or accept responsibility for the evil that came from their arrogance.
Russia's been using Serbia to cause trouble in the Balkans for a hundred years, and Serbia seems to still like the role.
If they want forgiveness they should say "sorry".  All I've ever heard is "why are you picking on me -- I didn't do anything wrong".  I'd have to be pretty gullible to believe that signifies a change in attitude.  Why would I want to trust someone who did unspeakable evil and has never expressed contrition or a desire to mature.  Wanting western money is not equivalent to wanting peace and harmony.
by Andhakari on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:28:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they have apologized.

Have you been listening?

I don't think you have.

Then again, apologies in the region are hard to come by. Never an apology for the death camps in Croatia in WW2. Never an apology for Operation Storm, and in fact, when war criminals were arrested from the other side, the UN has sought to protect them (just Google Carla Del Ponte and Ramush Haradinaj). This story is a lot more complicated than you make out. You say the Serbs wanted to screw around with people without acknowledging things like Rambouillet which were clear attempts to screw around with them, nor acknowledging that the only group in the ex-Yugo prevented from seeking their own nation-state (in the Krajina, in Bosnia, in Slavonia, and now in northern Kosovo) was the Serbs.

by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:15:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never seen anything resembling contrition coming out of Serbia
To be fair, contrition is a luxury of the victor, not the vanquished...

In fact however, the current Serbian government expressed its contrition over the events surrounding Srebrenica and Croatia (in fact IIRC so did Babic - of all people)... I know not of any similar apologies from Croatia for Krajina or indeed the Bosnian Muslims regarding the actions of people such as Oric...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:33:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, let's not forget how the NATO failed to expect that units of the terror groupmilitia it supported, the KLA, would proceed to reverse ethnic cleanse ethnic Serbs as well as Gypsies from Kosovo, and how in 2004, they failed to rein in the anti-Serb pogroms (choosing force protection instead). Where is the contrition for that -- from the Kosovo government, and from NATO and its member countries?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All I ever hear from Serbia is whining that they can't screw around with all the people they used to screw around

As an addition to what others wrote, I note: all you ever hear from Serbia is how the Western MSM you read present it, with neat wrapping. People should learn to apply the same scepticism to reporting as on Iraq.

Russia's been using Serbia to cause trouble in the Balkans for a hundred years

<sigh> Russia/the Soviet Union has been a rival and thus concern for Western imperiums for two centuries, and is thus subject to negative propaganda ever since. A propaganda that shuts out serious analysis of Russian moves (not to mention a denouncement of similar imperial policies by Western imperiums -- Russia never invaded the Western Balkans, but Austria-Hungary and Nazi Germany did so, as did NATO). In the current case, you completely ignore the break of international law, and its direct consequences to Russia's domestic and just-next-to-the-border concerns on territorial integrity.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:17:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a civil war!!!Serbia was the strongest side militarily.Serbia tried to preserve state of Yugoslavia that Serbia earned through WWI and that survived WWII.How that makes Serbia bully???Serbia didn't pick fights and didn't fight outside ex Yugoslavia. Stop making stories that are not true.
Russia is on the side of law in this case.The biggest bully is USA and EU being it's ally.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:41:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like I said, no contrition, no forgiveness.
by Andhakari on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 08:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It really is a politic for dummies that you try to present here. If it is about contrition and forgiveness we all would have an easy job. But it's much more prosaic and materialistic  then that...and dirty as politic always is.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 08:14:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"a politic for dummies" -- we begin with forgetting genocide, and now we've moved on to personal attacks.  So be it.  Yes, I know all too well it's just about money.  Just because all those people died cruel, pointless deaths doesn't mean we shouldn't get on with commerce.  This nasty business of people getting out from under the thumb of a domineering and small minded nation is just so bothersome to the business of making money.
If Germany was intent on denying the holocaust, would you trust them to not do it again?  Serbia could learn a lesson there, but they won't.  Don't worry, I'm not such an idealist that I'm going to hold my breath until then.  But I don't need their money either.
How about a politic for Republicans, a politic for corporatists, or a politic just for money?
"The only thing more dangerous then getting between a mama grizzly and her cub, is getting between a businessman and a dollar bill."
by Andhakari on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 10:07:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To understand where vbo is coming from, I recommend this rather long article:

Monthly Review

The breakup of Yugoslavia provided the fodder for what may have been the most misrepresented series of major events over the past twenty years. The journalistic and historical narratives that were imposed upon these wars have systematically distorted their nature, and were deeply prejudicial, downplaying the external factors that drove Yugoslavia's breakup while selectively exaggerating and misrepresenting the internal factors. Perhaps no civil wars--and Yugoslavia suffered multiple civil wars across several theaters, at least two of which remain unresolved--have ever been harvested as cynically by foreign powers to establish legal precedents and new categories of international duties and norms. Nor have any other civil wars been turned into such a proving ground for the related notions of "humanitarian intervention" and the "right [or responsibility] to protect." Yugoslavia's conflicts were not so much mediated by foreign powers as they were inflamed and exploited by them to advance policy goals. The result was a tsunami of lies and misrepresentations in whose wake the world is still reeling.

The short version is that the media version of genocidal Serbs does not hold up on closer inspection. There where atrocities and massacers, but the size of those are often exaggerated and only one sides crimes are reported.

Monthly Review

16,000 Serb civilians killed in Bosnia 1992-95 are effectively disappeared, while the 31,000 Muslim civilians killed in the latter years are elevated to world class status as victims of genocide.

Most important there was no genocidal campaign against croats or muslems in Serbia, where you could expect it to be worst would the Serbs really be genocidal. Actually, I think lots of people of different ethnicity fled to Serbia from the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Have no link for it right now though.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 10:54:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm.  I'll read the article, but it is worth noting that the Monthly Review hasn't prided itself as a friend of NATO over the years.
The International Court of Justice didn't find Serbia guilty of genocide, only that it didn't do anything to prevent the genocide or to facilitate the punishment of war criminals.  I think they were giving Serbia a break.  And it appears that there is a move amongst some Europeans to forget it ever happened, or to fog the issue with contentions of equivalent wrong-doing.
Frankly, the whole region has more than its share of murder, revenge, and massacre, and there is plenty of blame to spread.  But let me get back to my point: Serbia has not been a responsible power.  It does not seem to accept responsibility for the crimes the ICJ found it guilty of.  Kosovo is not seeking to rule Serbia, it is seeking to be separate from a country which has not been a good steward.  If Serbia wants peace, all it has to do is nothing at all.
by Andhakari on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:44:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think they were giving Serbia a break.

  1. Based on what?

  2. Why do you focus only on the crimes of Serbia? All sides committed ethnic cleanisng, chauvinist escapades, practiced no contrition, no forgiveness, and what you call immature posturing. It may be that you didn't read of those from the other sides and never have been there to experience it yourself, but that's just what UpstateNY's article is about -- media presentation.

To stress one point: Iraq was NOT the first war of the West where the MSM went on a spin overdrive, it was only the first where wide percentages of the population saw through it. Even blatant propaganda lies like in the case of WMDs weren't unprecedented -- upthread, UpstateNY mentions the Curveball story of the Kosovo War, which involved not Britain but Germany.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:09:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's just what UpstateNY's article is about

askod, not UpstateNY.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:18:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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