Although I posted in slightly facetious fashion about Putin’s comments in regard to Kosovo earlier, the Russian leader’s remarks are prescient and highlight a considerable degree of hypocrisy among the main western cheerleaders for Kosovan independence. It appears that a unilateral declaration of independence is both inevitable and imminent. This will be the culmination of a catastrophic failure by NATO to engineer a responsible compromise in the region.
During the 8 year NATO protectorate established in the wake of a ground invasion, the autonomous ethnic Albanian regime were permitted to ‘reverse cleanse’ Kosovo of more than half its Serb population. Brutal perpetrators of terror were rewarded for their actions with political power and it was made clear to the ethnic Albanian regime in Kosovo that they would not be expected to accept anything short of full independence from Serbia.
Putin can justly point out the hypocrisy and stupidity which America and certain members of the EU have displayed in encouraging nationalist separatism in the region. Kosovan independence will not encourage good government in the Balkans. It will cause a real possibility of conflict in the north of the province, it will retain a corrupt, quasi-criminal government dependent on western magnanimity, it will foment other separatist causes throughout Europe and it will inflict severe humiliation on Serbia, at a time when the country is attempting to consolidate a western leaning democracy.
Serbia and Russia have indicated that they will remain cool-headed in the aftermath of this UDI, but it is justified to oppose Kosovo’s independence through peaceful means. Russia retains the sanction of blocking resolutions in the UN to recognise Kosovo as an independent protectorate. This is morally and legally defensible.