Monday, 4 February 2008

Serb election result does not indicate an acceptance of Kosovan independence


EU bureaucrats have greeted the Serbian presidential result with relief and it appears that Boris Tadic’s win is being seen as a green light for Kosovo to proceed with an imminent declaration of independence. In Pristina the result has been interpreted as an acknowledgment that Kosovo should be let go without a struggle.

On the contrary, Tadic’s narrow win simply demonstrates that Serbs are unwilling to return to the trenchant nationalism that characterised Slobodan Milosevic’s regime and envisage a modern and tolerant future for their state. In no way does the result demonstrate an acceptance that Serbia should yield sovereignty over the Serb province of Kosovo.

An endorsement of Tadic’s less confrontational stance may well betray an unwillingness to aggressively face down NATO and much of the EU, but the diplomatic tussle over Kosovo is not over. Although states within the EU are likely to recognise a unilateral declaration of independence, there is by no means consensus, particularly from those countries suspicious of separatist nationalism.

The Serb election result and the defeat of the Radical Party’s Tomislav Nikolic actually expose the inaccuracy of Western perceptions of Serbia as recalcitrant, belligerent and incurably nationalist.

Serbs deserve better treatment than NATO’s policy of discouraging compromise from Kosovan Albanian nationalists has delivered. Both Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo deserve better than lawless independence under corrupt ex-terrorists. It remains Tadic’s duty to continue advancing this argument whilst espousing the liberal sensibility which provided his mandate.

7 comments:

Safiya Outlines said...

I think Tadic's election is good for the people of Serbia. However, ex-terrorists or not, the people of Kosovo have voted and their wishes should be respected.

A question. Why was Montenegro's desire for independance met with no protest, but Kosovo's similar desire causes such consternation?

Chekov said...

“I think Tadic's election is good for the people of Serbia. However, ex-terrorists or not, the people of Kosovo have voted and their wishes should be respected.

A question. Why was Montenegro's desire for independance met with no protest, but Kosovo's similar desire causes such consternation?”

Because Montenegro although sharing a common culture and genesis with Serbia also had a history of independence, as a principality in the Middle Ages, under the Yugoslav federation and at various other points in history.

Kosovo meanwhile is historic Serb territory, indeed the very symbolic birthplace of modern Serbdom. It comes to have an Albanian majority through systematic cleansing of the Slav majority under the Ottoman Empire. ½ million Serbs were displaced in the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th. That is a recent demographic change by historical standards. The region enjoyed autonomy WITHIN the Socialist Republic of Serbia and once again the 1970s and 1980s many Serbs were replaced with the growth of Albanian nationalism.

That in a nutshell is the distinction between Serb attitudes to Montenegro and the attitude to Kosovo.

Safiya Outlines said...

Thank you for answering my question, I now understand why the region is so important to Serbia. However, that still does not explain why the modern citizens of Kosovo should not be able to decide their own future.

Dinamo said...

Given the narrow electoral margin between Nikolic and Tadic, is it wise for the EU and NATO expansionists to proceed at such unseemly haste and without proper consultation with Moscow and Belgrade?

Chekov said...

Safiya - do the people of Mitrovica get to have their wishes regarding sovereignty respected? What about Srpska Republica? What about the people of Transdniestra? What about the people of South Ossetia? What about the Abkhazians?

This is the road that supporting separatism and 'self-determination' takes us.

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