Sunday, December 09, 2007
Remember the Balkans?
Bal·kan·ize (bôl k -n z )
To divide (a region or territory) into small, often hostile units.
The best I can figure, the administration of George W. Bush has 406 days remaining. That is more than enough time to initiate any number of fresh foreign policy blunders. But our administration seems perversely intent on bringing to fruition a disaster left over from the Clinton regime. In fact, there is no daylight between the Bushies and the Clinton on this topic. Iran? Syria? No, Kosovo. Yes, Kosovo.
Ready or not, Kosovo is poised to declare independence from Serbia, and the U.S. and most of the E.U. seem likely to go along. Apparently, this is a bad idea whose time has come.Russia will oppose the move, but what they will do to counter such a unilateral declaration remains to be seen. It doesn't have to be this way, as Doug Bandow observes:
Thus, the European states and the U.S. should propose a new round of negotiations – genuine negotiations. No preconditions. No timetables. If the Albanians want independence, they need to come up with sufficient concessions, territorial or other, to win Serbian assent. If the Serbs want to maintain formal sovereignty over Kosovo, they need to come up with sufficient concessions, expanded autonomy or other, to win Albanian assent. Agreement might still prove impossible. But success would be far more likely than from the faux talks promoted by the allies.
What's another foreign policy crisis among friends? Maybe one too many. The best hope to avert a new, and possibly violent, breakdown in the Balkans is for both Washington and Brussels to realize that America and the Europeans are far too busy to deal with civil disorder and conflict in Kosovo. They must tell Pristina no to independence. And they must do so quickly.
Nicholas Kulish examines the plight and prospects of the beleaguered Serbian minority in Kosovo, here. The picture is of Mother Anastasia and a German soldier in the gutted St. Joanikije Monastery. “This monastery was always offering a comfort of healing, not only for Christians but for Muslims as well,” Mother Anastacia said.
Since the Albanians in Albania have their own country, and soon the Albanians in Serbia will have their own statelet, it will be interesting to see how long it will take the Albanians in Macedonia to begin agitating for more autonomy. Not long, I'd wager. It will also be interesting to see just how the lessons of our Kosovo experiment play out worldwide. For there is hardly any country of consequence today that does not have an enclave of some sort with an equal or greater claim to "self-determination" than does Kosovo.
And if you like Kosovo, you'll love Molvania.