Thursday, May 31, 2007

 

Kosovo? I thought that problem was solved

“On Kosovo, Russia backs Serbia, its longtime ally, in opposing a plan proposed by U.N. mediator Martti Ahtisaari that would give the ethnic Albanian majority of the Serbian province independence with international supervision. Serbia wants to grant Kosovo only broad autonomy.” Rice, Russian Clash Over Kosovo Plan, Missile Shield - washingtonpost.com

Apparently this is a big deal:

“In its struggle for Kosovo, Serbia is also struggling for fundamental principles of international justice and order. And, by defending an inalienable part of its territory, Serbia may even be defending the future of democracy as a way of life and a view of the world.” Vojislav Kostunica - Justice for Serbia (Prime Minister of Serbia)


Who knew the Serbian nation was so focused on selflessly improving all of our lives? Kind of makes you think the Albanians in Kosovo are a bunch of over-reacting whiners. But just to refresh our memories:


Kosovo has been overseen by the UN since 1999 – when NATO dropped some bombs on Serbia because of an ethnic cleansing program Serbia was applying to the Albanians in Kosovo. And while no parades awaited our troops there in the aftermath (mainly because we didn’t really have any there), the Kosovo Albanians are grateful as hell for the US role in their survival: Kosovo to honor Bill Clinton with statue


Of course the issue is tricky because we are discussing the carve-out of a sovereign nation – Serbia. At least that’s what Russia claims is of prime concern to them….and for sheer sincerity on concern for sovereign nations, who better than the Russians….


Anyway, the UN and NATO remain watching Kosovo nearly EIGHT Years after NATO bombing encouraged the Serbian government to leave their Kosovo province. The presence remains because we’re just not sure if Kosovo goes back to being under Serbia’s control (because it is, after all, according to the almighty international law, a recognized part of Serbia) or does it get its independence because many feel that you just can’t trust those Serbians to do right by the Kosovo Albanians. Granting Kosovo independence kind of feels right especially in light of all the misery the ethnic Albanians went through there. But if the UN can assert a province of a country to be free of that country, where does it end? How do we differentiate between the Serbian put-down of Kosovo secessionists (the Serbian side of the story) and the Russians in Chechnya?

For the record, I supported our efforts in Kosovo and would probably have supported ground troops there had the President thought them necessary. The eventual success and relative peace there now (for us) however does not mean the problem was completely resolved…as the matter before the UN clearly shows.

Perhaps these international matters involving varying ethnic and religious groups just take some time...


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