Saturday, February 23, 2008

Time to Move On, We're Told

The Kosovo aftershocks are playing out much as expected. The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade was torched--unfortunate, but hardly surprising. Bloody-handed pols from the Clinton era (Holbrooke, Cohen, etc.) are huffing and puffing on cue. Tensions are on edge in the fault line city of Mitrovica, see here.

And on top of that, Condeleeza Rice is losing patience with Serbia.

In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it was time for Serbs to accept that Kosovo is no longer theirs. She also suggested it was time to drop centuries of grievance and sentimentality in the Balkans. "We believe that the resolution of Kosovo's status will really, finally, let the Balkans begin to put its terrible history behind it," Dr. Rice said Friday.

Oh, really. Her message to Serbia seems to be something like this: We are America and we know what is best for you. We have divvied-up your country in a manner we think best, and it is high time for you to stop your whining and learn to live with it.

But I have saved the best for last. Rice continues:

"I mean, after all, we're talking about something from 1389 – 1389! It's time to move forward."

With the President out of the country--last seen getting-down, so to speak, with some Liberian tribal dancers--this statement is easily the most inane commentary coming from the Bush administration in recent memory.

The American people have been told that Secretary Rice's expertise lay in the field of Russian--or to be more exact, Soviet Union--studies. Such petulant comments display an appalling ignorance of Slavic history, culture and sensibilities. Beyond that, it dismisses the very thing which defines a people, any people--their shared history.

It's worse than we imagined.

Lord, have mercy.

7 comments:

Mary said...

I don't usually comment on the political topics, but Kosovo just hits too close to home when you're Orthodox. The stupidity in that Rice quote... it is to weep, truly. What will happen to the Decani Monastery? I've been too scared to look it up and see if the monks are even still there after the declaration. Lord have mercy. : (

John said...

I know what you mean. Rice's comments almost take your breath away. The fate of the remaining churches and monasteries in Kosovo doesn't look good. I hope and pray I'm wrong.

Mimi said...

I also thought it was an unusual quote from a woman who studied Russian Studies (one can only imagine that she's come across Slavophile writings?)

Lord have Mercy.

Carey G. said...

"Greater Kosovo" area as as follows: "Its population, which is 90% ethnic Albanians, has tripled in the past five decades. In addition to being the fastest-growing population in Europe, it's also the youngest. More than half of its citizens are under 24, and almost one-third are under 15."

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_46/b3908058_mz054.htm

With this young of a populace in a country in a state near economic collapse, this is a recipe for Islamic extremism if I ever saw one. Per Putin, this will come back to "bonk the West in the head".

I guess my question is, despite this outcome, with a 90% ethnic Albanian population in the Serbian Heartland, what other "humane" choice is there besides autonomy or independence?

Steve Hayes said...

The ugly face of US imperialism just got a whole lot uglier.

John said...

Carey, thanks for writing. But Kosovo was offered autonomy--in fact, independence in everything but name. But they (we) would have none of it. Our administration insisted on independence or nothing. But Kosovo is hardly a viable state. There is nothing per se about independence that makes it more viable than being an autonomous region of Serbia.

Carey G. said...

Thanks for the reply, John- Which begs the question: What happens to countries with increasing Muslim populations into a majority? Answer: Another Kosovo. It seems (please correct me if I am wrong), that whenever the Muslim population passes a certain percentage threshold, there is a demand for independence. This is already happening in European countries in varying degrees.