AMERICA AND KOSOVO
Sometimes between allies, lines of policy making may greatly vary.
That need not be serious.
History and cultural identity may often explain differences in a satisfactory way.
This is for example the case in the matter of migration policies.
America, which could settle people in supposedly unoccupied territory, for a long time could offer free access to immigrants. Space was so abundant that towns could be founded and again suddenly left behind if they had outlived their temporary use. Today in American ghost towns you can still see the shutters of empty houses flapping in the wind with nobody taking any notice.
Europe has a very different structure. Our cities are not expendable and our social and cultural cohesion are a treasure and an indispensable instrument in confronting the heavy challenges which our continent has to face.
In other fields of policy-making differences may be more painful because they are arbitrary and without justification. Difference then becomes far more serious.
This is the case of Kosovo-Metohija.
The USA has little or no interests to intervene there. Geopolitical defense of energy supply lines might come to mind as a reason, but that justification would be too far fetched. Other policy lines would be available for such a purpose.
Pursuing the Kosovo solution as further punishment of the Serbian people for sustaining Milosjevic for a long (admittedly a far too long) time would be irresponsible.
Moreover the punishment of nations by taking their territory belongs to other centuries.
Linking the solution to demography would also be wrong. The fact that the Albanians, particulary in recent years, have acquired an overwhelming majority cannot justify separation from Serbia unless we admit the same thing for Catalonia, for Scotland, Flanders, Chechenya, Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, Kurdistan, Somaliland and other regions, regions which might have longer and stronger titles for independence. (note 1)
We, Europeans, have a right to speak up on this American policy line issue. Kosovo-Metohija is part of our European history and heritage and we therefore raise a protest as without justification the USA pushes the Albanians of Kosovo towards complete sovereign independence.
The American conduct is frivolous. Apart from being frivolous that line, if further pursued, would prove unsuccessful. Currying favor with the Islamic world might for America in its present positioning be a painkiller for a day. But soon enough a completely independent Kosovo would be fiercely anti american, fully aligned with the moslim brethren.
The USA should stop pushing us, members of the European Union, the Serbs and the Kosovars towards complete independence. By its conduct the USA is obstructing serious European policy making.
If the USA do not adopt a more moderate line of conduct, we Europeans may , -not without pain – , seek a stronger political involvement from the Russian Federation and from China, even if so far we have no indications that those nations would consider such involvement.
Those two countries however might find the rich Kosovo subsoil of their interest.
With their great currency hoards they also have very ample means to cofinance and help carrying out a broad and well designed long term economic development plan for Kosovo which, promoted by Serbia (which remains responsible for foreign policy) would offer space for both Kosovars, Serbs and foreign investors.
Would the idea not be worth an exploration?
Dr Anton Smitsendonk Beijing-Paris October 2007
note 1: How dare the Brussels based “International Crisis Group” say that the protection of Serbs in Kosovo is “far greater than the average protection of foreigners in Western Countries”? Serbs in Kosovo are not foreigners. They are in their own country. I would not like to see the Serbs putting too much trust in a “ten-year long trial period” with complete sovereignty granted at the end. What happens in those ten years may not be undone later.