Kosovo, this and that

Random Kosovo/Serbia stuff from the last few days.

First, an interesting Indian perspective on Kosovo:

[T]he truth is that the birth of Kosovo is also a profound testament of the failure of the nation state form in Europe to accommodate ethnic diversity. As Michael Mann, in an important article on the “Dark Side of Democracy” had noted, modern European history has built in an irrevocable drive towards ethnic homogenisation within the nation state.

In the 19th century, there was a memorable debate between John Stuart Mill and Lord Acton. John Stuart Mill had argued, in a text that was to become the bible for separatists all over, including Jinnah and Savarkar, that democracy functions best in a mono-ethnic societies. Lord Acton had replied that a consequence of this belief would be bloodletting and migration on an unprecedented scale; it was more important to secure liberal protections than link ethnicity to democracy. It was this link that Woodrow Wilson elevated to a simple-minded defence of self-determination. The result, as Mann demonstrated with great empirical rigour, was that European nation states, 150 years later, were far more ethnically homogenous than they were in the 19th century; most EU countries were more than 85 per cent mono-ethnic.

Most of this homogeneity was produced by horrendous violence, of which Milosevic’s marauding henchmen were only the latest incarnation. This homogeneity was complicated somewhat by migration from some former colonies. But very few nation states in Europe remained zones where indigenous multi-ethnicity could be accommodated. It is not an accident that states in Europe that still face the challenge of accommodating territorially concentrated multi-ethnicity are most worried about the Kosovo precedent. The EU is an extraordinary experiment in creating a new form of governance; but Europe’s failures with multi-ethnicity may yet be a harbinger of things to come. Kosovo acts as a profound reminder of the failure of the nation state in Europe.

I don’t agree with that conclusion, but he raises an interesting point. Few EU states have much indigenous ethnic diversity left; the ethnic map of Western and Central Europe has been vastly simplified over the last 100 years, and mostly by methods that would not be acceptable today.

Second, a nice piece of snark about last weeks Belgrade riots from the inimitable Eric Gordy.

We know a couple of things about the girls whose little looting adventure made them internet celebrities for one brief, greasy moment. We know that they hail from lovely Batajnica (but they already told the fellow with the camera that). We know that their names are Maja Trbojević and Jovana Petrović, and that they were arrested on Sunday. And we know that they are about to be charged with theft, a crime which carries a sentence of between one and eight years. This will give them the dubious distinction of being the only people to be charged with anything after a long night of vandalism, looting, physical attacks on police officers, arson and manslaughter. Congratulations to prosecutors on a job not done.

Police succeeded, after somebody else did their investigation for them, in finding evidence of their crime in their apartment three days later…

Tip for all readers of this blog who are considering a career in looting: don’t let your friends film you, even if it makes you international YouTube stars.

Third, here’s some recent rhetoric from President Kostunica:

“You, the youth of Serbia, are demonstrating today to all of us how to love our country, how to love Kosovo, how to love Serbia. The whole country is proud of you and supports you with great excitement…

“Not even the Munich Agreement in 1938, when Hitler snatched Sudetenland, compares with this legal violence, since the Czechs then agreed to sign off a part of their territory… Serbia has not, and never will, sign any unworthy paper that will hand over Kosovo and Metohija… the Serb people [have] shown the strength and dignity of a great nation, which knows that justice, legality and freedom mean…

“Today, a sense of pride is felt in Serbia, the pride of a free nation that will not be a subject to violence and injustice. We will, every day, as a nation and as a state, show resistance, until the United States are convinced that the rule of international law must be established in the Balkans once again, and that the illegal recognition of a fake state must be revoked… Each day, Serbia will, step by step, keep winning in this struggle, and it the end she will prevail. Because Kosovo is Serbia, this is how it has been, this is how it will be.”

Now this is interesting on multiple levels. There’s the vaguely Communist language — “the whole country is proud of you and supports you with great excitement” is straight from Tito, and the whole rhetorical structure of the speech is classic Party. (Eastern European Communists just loved constructions like “justice, legality and freedom”.) There’s the “worse than Munich” bit, which plays into the “Serbia has been victimized worse than ANYONE” theme. This is, unfortunately, still pretty popular in Serbia. I have to wonder if any Czechs or Slovaks have noticed this.

There’s the “we are winning” bit, which is vintage Milosevic — long-time Balkan watchers may remember Slobo claiming, at the end of the NATO bombing, that Serbia had “won” that conflict. (Under Slobo, Serbia never lost anything — Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, it was one victory after another.) There’s the singling out of the US: it’s never the French or the Swedes or even the Germans any more in Serbia, but America, wicked America 24/7.

And finally there’s “America, revoke this recognition”. That one seems unique to Kostunica. I don’t think he believes America, or anyone else, is going to turn backwards and revoke recognition. That’s just not something that is going to happen. I’m still trying to figure out what he’s trying for here. If anyone knows more, I’d be interested to hear.

Foruth, in the wake of the recent riots, the EU has frozen Serbia’s progress towards membership for a little while. Probably a very little while… in a few months, the burnt embassies will be forgotten. Unless something else dreadful happens — major violence in northern Kosovo, say — the EU will quickly revert to its default position: “Of course you want to be an EU member! Everybody does!”

I think EU expansion is a great thing. It’s done wonders in places like Romania and Bulgaria. But I also think sacking and looting the embassy of an EU member state (and a couple of EU candidates) should get something stronger than a “tut tut”. More generally, I wish the EU would be more strict with its candidates; I think the 2004 expansion was rushed and overhasty, and Romania and Bulgaria would have profited from another year or two on the waitlist. On the whole, I wish Brussels would be a little less “Everybody come join our great club!” and a little more “Kneel before Zod.”

Finally, a brief rant. One thing that keeps popping up in discussion of Kosovo is that the Kosovar Albanians have “gotten everything they want”. Often, this is in the context of “the Serbs are acting like idiotswhile the Albanians are behaving with perfect decorum” — “of course the Albanians are being good, they’ve gotten everything they want!”

Well… no. To give just three examples:

– Belgrade’s not recognizing them, and Belgrade -> Russia -> no recognition from the UN. So they’re going to be a quasi-state, with passports that work some places but not others, for a long time to come.

Note that they’re also stymied from even taking the first steps toward EU membership. Since the ascent to membership has been the main driver of reform and economic development in the region, this is a very big deal.

– The Parliament in Prishtina has no power over the north, where there’s a large Albanian minority living uneasily next to the Serbs — a cameo mirror-version of Kosovo itself. (The Serbs, incidentally, are pushing against KFOR and the Kosovar police to try to grab control of the north.) So, the Albanians aren’t “getting Kosovo” — they’re getting most of Kosovo, but with a big chunk bitten out. Yes, it’s a little bit like Ireland in 1921, except that the Albanians aren’t having a civil war about it. Yet.

– The Serbs are refusing to resolve the fraught issue of ownership of former state property. Which is pretty much everything worth owning in Kosovo. This is one reason there’s been very little foreign investment in Kosovo — investors aren’t eager buy a mine or a factory or a piece of land that comes with a massive lawsuit attached. Belgrade’s continued no-negotiation position means that Kosovo will continue to lag far behind the rest of the region.

So, while the Kosovar Albanians are getting more than the Serbs, it’s far from “everything they want”.

On the positive side, there are some really dumb things Belgrade could have done that it hasn’t — closing the border, turning off Kosovo’s lights. So things could be worse. For now.

18 thoughts on “Kosovo, this and that

  1. “We are winning!”

    Sorta like the way Germany’s glorious victories for the Fatherland kept getting closer and closer to Berlin?

    From the point of view of governing capacity and the acquis, the 2004 enlargement probably was a little bit hasty. On the other hand, it had been a decade and a half since the fall of the Wall, and people were beginning to wonder if the EU-15 was engaged in a permanent process of moving the goalposts.

    But an enlargement without Poland made no political sense, so the line was drawn by wherever Poland happened to be in its progress by then. The Poles, to their credit, had in the interim learned how the Brussels game is played and drove a hard bargain.

    The cynic in me saw that the two main conditions for an EU enlargement had been met. First, that at least one country in the group would be a net contributor. Second, that leaders in the candidate country could put wheels on goalposts and take them out for a spin as well as any handbag-wielding prime minister of a current member, thus demonstrating that they were ready to play in the EU as it is. Not sure where the current batch of candidates stand on these criteria.

  2. I would like to address the so called “Kosovo Precedent” First, admittedly enough what has taken place recently regarding Kosovo’s breaking away as an independent nation state and being recognized by countries such as Britian, Germany and the U.S. has and will continue to set a bad precedent that is and has undoubtedly been used by countries like Russia and its Serbian counter-part to start a Political brush fire througout the world. What I mean, is Putin and Russia are in the re-buildng stages. What used to be a Bi-Polar world i.e. the U.S. and Russia has quickly become multi-polar in that it seems that any nation experiencing post Cold War ethnic break up (providing the ethnic majority constitutes a future economic growh potential) for either the U.S. or the EU is being considered as either 1) a new NATO member or 2) a new EU member. This first started when Croatia was first recognized after the Bosnian-Herzegovnia Conflict/War. next we saw Poland being accepted into NATO and then the EU. I was one of the very first U.S. military members allowed into Poland after the Cold War and former Warsaw Pact nation breakup. I told many Polish Air Force members that the first thing they needed to do was get into Nato and then the European Union. Shortly after Eagles Talon 97 and joint military training exercise was over, this is exactly what happened. Of course since then, many other former Soviet sattelite and former Warsaw Pact nations have used this same road map as a way to quickly enter into the modern economic world of either trading with the U.S. or European Union countries. Of course they would, Why not? It’s the quickest way to get rid their former Soviet style economies which had primarily made them bankrupt and without any economic means of competing in a modern free-market economy democratic system. Well, the Soviets with Putin are on their way back to becoming stronger economically and cannot afford the economic burden of holding unto thier former sattelite nations as was the case prior to WWII. It is too much of an economic burden and would keep Russia from being able to privatize as well as modernize its economy. So why has Russia allowed this to happen since 1989. The answer is simply an economic one, i.e why not let the U.S. and the European Union in their naivity to either create so called new Democratic states bringing these same states into either NATO or the European Union do aso at their expense so long as Russia can maintain ties with them as is the case in Serbia without having to foot the bill. I believe Putin has been so adamate in speaking out on the issue of Self Determination lately becasue he is willing to allow former Soviet satelite break aways such as is the case with Kosovo currently, but not without stirring the pot and demanding that Serbia be also recognized and allowed into the EU. This is all a plot by Putin to economically weaken the European Union by allowing European taxpayers to foot the bill for economic restructuring of his former broken down Soviet sattelites instead of doing it from his own nations money! Putin who are you kidding? Shame on the EU and NATO for being so over zealous to take in with open arms these break away republics all under the guise of so called Democratization. Doesn’t it seem funny that everyone wants to jump on the band wagon of the precednt which was set way back with Croatia and Poland except Russia? I say, stop this in its tracks, and recognize that a bad precedent was set along time ago and not with Kosovo now, although Putin and Serbia are making such statements. At present, with the European Union attempting to compete with U.S and NATO they have opened the doors to enlargement at a very quick pace–all because they want to be the next world power house. The result, although appearing to be what would seem a normal consequence of european growth which is opening the doors for new Post WWII and Cold War nations to be brought into the fold thereby increasing inter-european trade and status under the NEW World Order; will bring about dreadful economic and political consequences for mainstream Europe (with the exception of Spain) while allowing Putin and Russia to laugh behind closed doors because they will have the best of both worlds i.e no new bills caused by the re-building of their former satelite nations as well as being able to maintain economic and political ties to them through trade with the new economic Russia on the rise with such company’s as GAZPROM etc. The world seems to be reversing itself and going back to pre-modern world cartography in which ethnic peoples are being allowed to separate and form new nations states formed on the basis of Ethnic origin.

  3. there was a woman so long ago who took the time and lived amongs our grand fathers and mothers. She listend and learned the truth about our struggles so long ago. We owe her a grate deal of respect. This woman was there when no one would hear are crys she was there and witnest the true nature of our enamies. She tryed so very hard to tell the world of our grand parents struggle an wittnest an felt the same unjustice they had no choice to endor. When her own goverment thought it unessary to acted or chage what they had done.

    With all of our harts we will remeber you…..
    Mary Edith Durham 1863-1944

    Thank You….

  4. Hey Mike, I think you are some thing of a fool. It also seems you have no understanding of world events other then those you chose to listen to and read. If you some how think that your words have any effect on todays events you are truly mistaken. So befor serbia “russias little whore” decides to put its self in a very bad situation. It is on its way to provoking another balken war and in doing so it may be the final curtin on serbia all together. Cause this time around the serbs will not be fighting women and children an unarmed and other wize farmers. serbia is alone on this one an they are really trying the pations of the democradic unifyed states of the balkans. But I think thats what russia wants. An I think you do to. I also think that you really under estamate us americans you may think us soft or just tired of war. So understand this we fell like letting of some steam so make sure you know whos side you are on!!!

  5. Comment to FreeandBrave, I can appreciate constructive criticism with the best but freeandbrave you must really try to leave out your sensational emotionalism from this whole story. I spent 2o years in the U.S. Air Force and I have been around the proverbial block a few times. Kosovo wants independence recognition as did Croatia, Poland and know Kosovo. I met a women from Bosnia who left her family and husband on purpose wnated to divorce and obtain a pre-arranged husband here in Germany, where I have lived since 1986. She wanted to do all of this at the expense of her children and husband whom she supposedly love–Why? Money… She wanted a better life and believed money was the answer to all her problems as many people do! Kosovo believes that they will have protection and economic security if they are just recognized by the EU and NATO. This is a simplified mono-centrist desparation of many countries and people today. It’s narrow minded in my opinion and does not take into consideration long term economic and political consequences rather, short term quick fixes (which really are not at all). later on the financial burdens and problems crop their ugly heads up as is and was the case when former East Germany collided with the west and immediately expected and wanted the same freedoms and benefits as West Germans. What do we see today. Only problems with Germany Economy. more taxes and reduced benefits for all! Why.. well its a simple rule of so called Democratic Nations.. and that is there just simply is not enough of the economic pie to go around for everyone to have the same size of slice, so there are trade offs i.e. wealthier individuals get access to the politicians and thus laws are enacted which benefit them, the middle class receive tax breaks (maybe)and the lower income individuals (poor class) receive social welfare benefits. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that although it’s understandable a country like Kosovo wants its freedom the way they are and have gone about it in fact is setting a dangerous precedence for other countries to stand up and yell for the same recognition just as the Serbs have done also recently.. the problem is where does it stop and who will have to pay the bills for all of this desired freedom? Oh bye the way I am an American and I although I do excuse your ignorance and emotionalism to politics and economics in general. I would suspect you are from one of the countries I mentioned and thus much too prejudiced or rather too close to the situation to make an unbiased response. Keep your eyes on the news and remember when it work out as I have said, where you first read it and heard it from!

  6. (CNN) — — Serbia will not give up its claim on breakaway province Kosovo or its bid to become a member of the European Union, Serbian President Boris Tadic said in an interview published Thursday.

    Kosovo Serbs protest Thursday against the province’s declaration of independence.

    Kosovo declaration of independence sparked anger in Serbia, but picked up quick support from EU nations including Germany and the UK.

    Serbia and Kosovo’s minority Serb population considers the province the heart of the Serb nation, but the majority ethnic Albanians wanted independence from Belgrade.

    The Associated Press reported Thursday that about 170 of the 800 Serb officers in the Kosovo police force have either quit or not shown up for work since the independence declaration.

    Dozens more are threatening to leave, police officials told AP. The 7,000-strong force, which is considered one of the few successful examples of Serbs and ethnic Albanians working together.

    Tadic told the Spanish newspaper El Pais: “We are not going to relinquish Kosovo. We are going to utilize all of our diplomatic and political recourses in defense of this, but without violence.”

    He added, “The people understand that we should be EU members, that this is in our national interest. We’re not going to relinquish Kosovo or becoming EU members.”

    Kosovo’s parliament declared the country’s independence from Serbia on February 17, setting up a confrontation with Serbia and its longtime ally Russia, which demanded that the move be declared “null and void.”

    “What’s important is to find a compromise,” Tadic said in the newspaper interview. “If the Albanians are going to get everything and the Serbians are going to lose everything, there will be a problem.”

    Asked whether the compromise he envisioned would include partitioning Kosovo, Tadic said, “I’m not speaking of partition, but of compromise. … We want a solution that is acceptable for both parties.”

    He added, “This is also in Europe’s interest. Some of the countries that have illegally recognized Kosovo have committed a historic error.”

    The United States, Britain, and Germany have recognized Kosovo’s declaration of independence; Spain, Russia, China and others have not.

    Last week, thousands of Serbs in Belgrade demonstrated against Kosovo’s declaration of independence and hundreds attacked Western embassies and shops.

    Police there said they detained 192 people in the protests, and said 130 people were hurt in the violence. One protester died; his burned body was found in the U.S. Embassy complex.

    Tadic said an investigation is looking into the attacks, and declined to comment on them extensively. But he said: “The violence was foreseeable, because the people were angry.”

    As far as the Serbia’s EU membership prospects, Tadic appeared gloomy. “To be honest, I’ll not expect that the EU is going to facilitate the process,” he said. “There have been many promises, but not opportunities for Serbia.”

    Tadic, who was narrowly elected to a second term earlier this month, supports Serbia’s eventual membership in the EU.

    In late January, the EU offered Serbia a package of incentives as part of a deal to put it on the path toward membership, including closer political ties, a free trade agreement, visa liberalization, and cooperation in education.

    Despite Tadic’s re-election, the Serbian government blocked the February 7 signing of that package in an attempt to delay the independence of Kosovo, according to Mattias Sundholm, an EU spokesman based in Washington.

    Despite widespread media reports indicating otherwise, Sundholm said the EU had not changed its stance on Serbia since the attacks on the embassies in Belgrade

  7. Lets see how many other countries will jump on this self determination band wagon and request recognition by the EU and or NATO as justification for their new ethnic nation state.

  8. Looks like Tadic’s party is trying to pick a fight with the Russians. First the demands that Russian media fire a TV commentator for his statement about Djindjic’s “well-deserved bullet” and suggestions that the Russian government indirectly was advocating Boris Tadic’s assassination. Next, the DS-run Justice Ministry is demanding the extradition of Mirjana Markovic and Marko Milosevic. It won’t work. It just shows how out of touch they are, particulary for a party whose leader just won a presidential election. I’m interested in the media situation over there. From what I have heard, the DS stranglehold over the media has been considerably loosened.

  9. Comment to FreeandBrave:

    It is very typical for Americans to attack Serbs. Wasn’t it America who had a civil war to supress seperatists?Hmmmm

    Prime minister Thaci is a terrorist, who lead the KLA group whith genocide histories in Croatia before Kosovo.

    Isn’t America fighting a War on terror? America is supporting terror!

    How many foreign nations have American troops stationed in them? Iraq, Afghanistan, & now illegaly proclaimed “Kosova”.
    How many nations have their soldiers in America from saving the american people from a more corrupt government then they claim others to be.

    Hey Americans” Should Los Angeles be ceded to Mexico because their is many latinos living their?
    So why should Kosovo be ceded to people who populated like rabbits(Wouldn’t you like to know that the average ethnic albanian family in kosovo has an average of 6 children. Kosovo has an unemployment rate of 50%, why have 6 children when you can’t feed one? The intent is clear, to “ETHNICALLY CLEANSE SERBS!).

    Wouldn’t you Americans like to know that 9/11 was supported by your own government. It is the CIA who trained Osama Bin Laden and supported him with monetary aid and weapons.What did he do in the years to come, he attacked America.For that 1 day American citizens finally felt what citizens were suffering when they bombed Hiroshima,When they were raping women in Vietnam and doing acid,When they bombed Hospital,Schools and the Chinese Embassy in Serbia(All civilian targets).

    Wait a minute, isn’t America crying about their precious embassy being burned down in Belgrade?

    10 years ago Chinese & Serbs were protesting when Americans and Nato bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. NATO and the Americans claimed the bombings as “accidental, they meant to hit a military target”. If the world believes Serbia, Russia & China are corrupt, then what is to make of the United States of America who has had more wars on foreign soil then on their own. It is easy for them to destroy other countries and watch them suffer economically. Yet the United States is arguably the most powerful nation economically, yet how many wars have been fought on their soil. That have lead to the destruction of their hospitals, schools and other civilian targets. America was attacked in Peal Harbor(A MILITARY TARGET), yet they used this to justify them nuking A CIVILIAN TARGET! Point Zero in the middle of Hiroshima. America was again attacked in 9/11, I do have remorse for innocents that died. America again used this to bomb and invade Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden has lived in more then one Arabic country, they bombed Afghanistan because they thought he was there. Have they found him? So all those troops who continue to die for America as I speak today? What do they fight for. Peace & Democracy? While the american government breaks and re-makes international laws to better suit their wishes. I am a serb and I am proud. I am proud when pro-western people stereotype me as Nationalist,Radical & Evil. I am proud because they have bad guys like me to point at, but when 9/11 happens again. I know americans will realize all along they’ve been helping the wrong people. Today Albanians praise the American flag, tommorow they will be burning it. Thaci and the KLA was funded by the Al Queda in the beginning to secede from Serbia and form an Islamic State. Today America is allies with Thaci & KLA, at the same time claiming to fight a war on terror.

  10. I see I have to gently re-iterate the commenting rules again.

    No obscene languages; don’t insult other commenters or their countries. Long angry rants are not favored, nor are lengthy cut-and-pastes from other sites or media. Play nice.

    I’ve deleted comments before, and will again if necessary. Word to the wise.

    Doug M.

  11. @ Doug,

    I agree that Kostunica seems to be falling back into some classical communist style rethorics.

    You are right, the Kosovo Albanians didn’t get exactly everything they wanted, but they did get the vast majority of them, despite breaking international law. The Kosovar Albanians now have their own state, supported by the US and the EU despite not fulfilling the conditions the UN had initially set up, including providing sufficient safety for minorities. Also, just as in the case of Croatia, Kosovar Albanian authorities seem to be gettin away with having ethnically cleansed half of their local Serbian population and not doing much to promote their return.

    The things you mention that the Kosovar Albanians have not gotten are the result of the unilateral attitude taken by them and their US and Nato allies in the independence negotiations.

    Also, I doubt that it’s due to Serbia that Kosovo is not an EU candidate or on route to becoming one. The main problems in Kosovo, no matter what many Kosovar Albanians say, not related to Kosovo’s status, the UN or Serbia, but are indigenous – organized crime, general lawlessness, corruption, a poorly developed domestic economy and dependence on external aid/remittances and weak state institutions.

    Finally, it’s not Serbia or Russia who are generating conflict or starting a “bush fire” by opposing indepenence for Kosovo, it is the US and its Nato allies which are causing an increase in tensions by accepting Kosovo’s unilateral move towards independence.

    The Belgrade embassy fire is unfortunate, but I have yet to see any evidence that it was planned or directly instigated by the Serbian government. On the other hand, I seem to remember the US government bombing a certain embassy in Belgrade (together with other official buildings) with quite high precision.

  12. I would just like to clarify some points which I was trying to make earlier. First, most historians would say that the winning side often writes the history of a war or situation with a slanted view based on the winning side and not the loser. This philosophical view can be attributed to many situations i.e. if you are a Serb or Russian you might tend to see Kosovo’s recent Independence as a slap in the face! One might view it as an illegal intervention on the side of those countries that have supported this move. But, if you are Russia (Putin) you might try to play both sides against the middle i.e. during the initial stages of the Crisis in Kosovo when the U.S. was bombing Belgrade the Soviet government spoke out firmly against such action in the UN and also in Serbia itself. However, most of the world new that the Soviet Union was doing similar things in Chechnya (forgive the spelling). One might say, that the Soviets had to save face with the Serbs in light of knowing that they could not affect the outcome but rather their “bark” in the world must never-the-less be heard and at all cost it must not be interpreted by the Serbians as though they were being hung out to dry by Russia. In fact all of this has happened in one former or another. The question is WHY? I believe as I have already stated, that Russia (now Putin) cannot afford to be politically or economically tied down with the situation in Kosovo per se, but rather he can hope to achieve a Political win for himself and Russia (especially in the Serbs eyes) by seeming to speak out against the new Independence thus saving face with the Serbs, which at the same time demanding that Russia play a role in any Security Council decision or UN decision regarding Kosovo’s new Independence. Today, many would say its Russia’s way of securing that the world at least somewhat believes that they are and remain a world power as they were viewed prior to the Cold War. The simple fact is they lost the Cold War and could not keep up with Western economies because they were busy investing vast sums of their state monies in the military. I saw first hand what shape the Russian military was in after the Cold War– Rusty components no money for fuel or replacement parts etc. They just could not keep up financially with the West! Today Putin uses the threat of the former Soviet Union (mostly the threat of their Nuclear arsenal) to assure Russia’s place in the G8 summit and in the World Political arena. Financially, The Soviet Union was finished after the Cold War and only now through western assistance and investment through such countries as Germany is they able to rebuild their country financially. Russia cannot afford a drain on their financial reserves and that is exactly what they had with all of their former Pre-Cold War Warsaw Pact satellite nations who required their earlier support which brings me to my main point. Russia is a big Nuclear Dog who wants everyone to hear its Bark, with nothing to back its bark up apart from the potential threat of nuclear proliferation. Does this mean, I dislike Russia-no way, but one must understand that Putin is milking this Kosovo Independence thing for all its worth. His Rhetoric is causing many countries to challenge the EU and Western countries who have decided to support Kosovo’s Independence. Does he really care about this? I doubt it, but he only sees what he can gain from such dissension– Angry Serbs who like the fact that Russia appears to be supportive of their feelings (believe me nothing will come from this Serbia) because Putin doesn’t really care about you he cannot afford to get mixed up with your squabble, rather he must maintain the appearance as if he cares! Kosovo– you may have gained recognition to Independence (something many ethnic groups would like to have) but at what expense? You have opened the proverbial Pandora box to every other ethnic group wanting and demanding the same thing. This is just simply not possible. Dumb mistake Germany, England and US. Dumb politically and economically. If Independence is desired then it must be won all by yourself, otherwise it will not last nor be respected. Kosovo’s new Independence will only bring new problems in the entire world. I wish Kosovo all the best but even in the Unites States we had to fight our own battle of Independence and lost many of our own people as a result. No one fought our battle for us or gave us our Independence. If it’s worth having its worth fighting for yourself versus being granted through a Political decision! Finally, Putin you old fox– your methods are clearly visible and although you play a good Political game you will eventually lose! Stand taller Putin and take care of your Nation better versus filling your own pockets with state money from GAZPROM and other ventures which belongs to your fellow countrymen!

  13. Finally, the whole Kosovo recognition thing has opened the door to any and all countries or people asking for and demanding the same recognition and this is a dangerous precedent! Taiwan wants to be left alone from China, The Basques in Spain want to be separate as well as recognized. Tibet wants to be left alone from China. Palestine want a separate homeland from Israel and the list goes on… where should it stop if at all? These are questions which need to be and should have been answered by the world at large before Kosovo was recognized. This is nothing more than a re-alignment of the world based on either break away nations gaining support of the EU or NATO nations all in the name of creating subordinate so called democratic nations who are desire recognition or in some way can create a new economic territory which can be exploited thru trade or economic means. I have often said, „Western Democratic nations require new frontier (trading partners for import and export) which can be used and exploited in order to prop up such nation’s economies until the proverbial well runs dry. Larger nations require lots of money to maintain their economies and when they can no longer support themselves from within, they naturally look elsewhere to expand thus they need new trading partners which allow the larger countries to use up the newer ones resources until they eventually run out. This has happened throughout history and the world but just about every large nation. There are just simply not enough resources to go around and the rate at which they are being used up is faster than they are or can be replaced. I call this the need for new frontiers- In the US, we called it Manifest Destiny and now it’s called democratization under the guise of so called Peace. Kosovo Albanians want peace and their own nation–they now have recognition, but at what cost? And who decides which nation or ethnic group is allowed or will be recognized and which ones will not? Shouldn’t world peace be agreed upon by the entire world? I doubt this will happen without divine intervention and so in the meantime the stronger dictate the game rules and decide who and who will not be allowed to play.. Hypocrisy at its best! No wonder someone once said, the world is going to hell in a hand basket. The question is whose hand basket? My hats off to former Czechoslovakia– they split peaceably into two lands. Perhaps this should have been used as a model for Kosovo instead of the way in which it was accomplished.

  14. “You have opened the proverbial Pandora box to every other ethnic group wanting and demanding the same thing. This is just simply not possible.”

    In 1989-1992, three different federations (USSR, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia) home to nearly three hundred million people in the heart of Europe came apart. This did not inspire a world trend of secessionism: Catalunya, Québec, and Scotland have all remained Spanish, Canadian, and British last time I checked. Will Kosovar independence have any greater impact than, say, Croatian or Ukrainian independence?

    As far as recognition is concerned, compared to (say) Bangladesh in the early 1970s Kosovo isn’t doing too shabbily. It took three years for Bangladesh to get recognition from the People’s Republic and accede to the United Nations. That may take longer, but is recognition by the remaining states of the EU really that far away?

  15. Doug wrote: “The Serbs are refusing to resolve the fraught issue of ownership of former state property.”

    Might it be that they are a little angry about how the Albanians are treating Serb corporate properties (that they are “privatising” without giving the Serb owners a dime) and Serb private properties (that has been usurped on massive scale after the war and for which many Serbs are now involved forever in Kosovo’s ineffective courtsystem)? Not to mention the continuing efforts to privatise Brezovica: a ski resort in a Serb majority area that seems destined to be given for a small sum to some Albanian in yet another corrupt privitisation.

  16. Hi Randy, Hi Doug

    Pretty much everything was said on the issue. Albanians got their country despite continous killing Serbs. Serbs were punished for doing exactly the same what Turks are doing to Kurds, Russians to Chechens or Americans to Talibans in Afghanistan. America did it’s best to push Serbia into Russia’s hand. As for UE, Kostunica and many other politicians already said that they are not interested in EU membership – so whatever EU said later, is pretty much irrevelant.

  17. I see that you all have your theories, ideas and arguments over the Kosovo issue. But I think it got really of the wagon and senselessly complicated. The matter is much much simpler than what you all are talking about, gets reported in the media, or gets argued upon. The only reason why Kosovo got its independence and is being supported by a lot of democratic and civilized states is that Serbia is not a stable country in its own and is very vulnerable to war. Some very obvious facts are the wars that they initiated in the 90s. Now for all of you who do not know, WARS ARE NOT PLEASANT. Indeed they are very fckued up. They are especially fckued up when you have Serbs in them as your enemy and they are outnumbered, outgunned and hungry for blood. Having all this siht in mind, some Diplomats got together and asked a question: Do we want to live in a world where every morning we wake up with the fear that we will hear on the news that Serbia started a new war, people were massacred, and 2 million people continue living like zombies (with no perspective) in the 21 Century? The answer for any decent human being should be intuitive!

  18. Il auras toujours des revendications AVEC OU SANS kosova.Qui a créé la boîte de Pandore est le coupable c’est a dire qui a créé la Yoguslavie et pas l’autodetermination du peuple albanais.
    -pour celui qui a dit Kosova ne merite pas l’independence car elle ne la pas gagner tout seul:est-ce que L’Europe c’est souver tout seul de l’Allmagne naziste?
    Kosova est un Etat albanais car elle a était injustement séparéée de L’Albanie.

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