Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Conventional Kosovo wisdom challenged

How refreshing to read Simon Jenkins sober and sensible reflection on the Kosovo situation at Comment is Free. Redressing the conventional balance, Jenkins fails to follow the unthinking line followed by most journalists on this topic and examines in some detail the complexities of the situation in the Serb province.

Jenkins is correct in stating that the current malaise is largely due to failed NATO strategy and omission in the region. He also correctly asserts that criminals and terrorists have been rewarded and mollified simply because it suits western interests. “He may be a bastard, but he’s out bastard” is a quote normally attributed to Harry S Truman and it still provides a neat synopsis of the high-handed and morally bankrupt foreign policy which allows such people to attain US and EU patronage.

Of course the irony is that by pandering to Kosovan separatism, the west is actually driving Serbia into the arms of Russia, as well as undermining the advancement of nascent democracy, just as there appeared to be developing a greater desire to turn to the west and seek closer integration with the European Union.


O'Neill said...

Something I meant to add to your post yesterday on this subject.

The election result has had a direct effect in raising tensions even higher in Bosnia, the thinking now amongst many Bosnian Serbs is that if Kossovo does decide to go it alone then not only the northern part of that territory but also Republika Srpska will be justified under the same rules of self-determination to look to (re?) unite with Serbia "proper". Also the more extreme Croat nationalists have been courting the 400,000 Croats in Bosnia eligible to vote in the forthcoming Croatian election and the message certainly isn't the one of peaceful co-existance and reconciliation. Any further reduction of the peace-keeping forces has been postponed for the time being to see how all this pans out.

My own thoughts is that the whole sitaution is being very badly managed by the west and Russia is taking advantage of this. At some stage I think Kosovo will get some kind of independence but this has been known for at least the last 5 years and the Western powers have made no contingency for the undoubted fall-out from this

Chekov said...

O'Neill, Kosovo declaring unilateral independence and such a declaration being accepted will have dangerous consequences not just in the Balkans but beyond. You are correct in identifying pockets of Serbdom who will undoubtedly be encouraged in seperatism in answer to this. Russia has also alluded to the situation in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transdniester where no doubt UDI will be viewed as a precedent.

The point is that rather than encouraging the Kosovan leadership to accept autonomy, the promise of full independence has been made, without any consideration of the practicalities. As Jenkins is right to point out this independence is dependent on Western financial subsidy.