Tag Archives: kosovo

The Europeanization of Kosovo

NATO membership action plans for Georgia and Ukraine and the Russia’s financial troubles may get the media attention, but one of the great silent stories: the integration of Kosovo into Europe. Of course all these stories overlap, and each is accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Georgia.

The rule of law mission in Kosovo has been a great success of European-American friendship. Kosovo is on track to join the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and even is going to privatize a local telecommunications firm.

Meanwhile, Vojvodina is seeking greater autonomy from Serbia, though Kosovar soccer just took a setback.

Russia’s Deteriorating Position

The Bubble of Russian power, that hit a post-1989 high during the first stages of the Olympic War, is crashing hard. The credit crisis has hurt Russia (a Gap country with a shallow facade of connectedness) hard, the Russian stock market is repeatedly suspended for days at a time, oil prices have fallen nearly 50% since Russia’s attack on the Southern Energy Corridor, and Putin’s acts of self-sabotage have driven away the investment income that once threatened to make Russia a powerful country.

A symbolic area of conflict for the Russian state are international recognition for Kosovo (carved from her former satellite, Serbia) and Abkhazia (carved from her enemy, Georgia). On 9/11/08, I wrote that Abkhazia was currently recognized by the “feared Russian-Nicaraguan Axis“…

.. though Belarus has toyed with recognizing the statelet.

A month later, Abkhazia is recognized by her allies Russia and Nicaragua, and hopes for Belarus to join too.

Meanwhile, Kosovo has now been recognized by 50 countries, with Portugal, Montenegro, and Macedonia joining just this week.

Countries on every continent have recognized Kosovo. 22 of 27 European Union states have recognized Kosovo. 22 of 26 NATO countries have recognized Kosovo. 4 of the 6 former constiuent republics of Yugoslavia recognize Kosovo. 4 of Kosovo’s 5 neighbors recognize it.

Abkhazia has been recognized by Russia, and Nicaragua, and that’s it. Though one day soon, mighty Belarus may join, too.

Heck, a Finnish President who oversaw the UN process that Serbia rejected (and thus led to the recognition of Kosovo) is now a Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

Of course, recognition is a symbolic act, like cocking a gun is a symbolic act. More substantial acts are those which makes it hard for Russians to invest directly in the west, makes it risky for western countries to invest directly in Russia, encouraging investment in Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova, and so on.

Still, it’s important not to blow Russia out of important. Russia is a threat to its smaller neighbors, but to us it’s just a belligerent version of Portugal. Moscow is a problem to be managed, and a bad actor to deter and contain. It’s not a country to fight a Cold War (or, for that matter, insist on detente) with.

Another EU Member State Recognizes Kosovo

Russia’s invasion of Georgia was in response to Europe’s recognition of Kosovo. Kosovo was used to part to Serbia, a Russian client in the middle of Europe. Thus, it is heartening that recognition by Kosovo by European countries — which had been stalled since the Czech Republic’s recognition of Kosovo in May — is on the move again.

B92 – News – Politics – Malta recognizes Kosovo
PRIÅ TINA — The Kosovo foreign ministry says it has received official information that Malta has recognized its unilateral independence declaration.

“The Kosovo foreign ministry has just received official information that the Republic of Malta has recognized Kosovo as an independent and sovereign country,” read a statement.

It added that the Maltese foreign ministry’s declaration of recognition had been submitted to Skender Hyseni, the man appointed by the Kosovo provincial authorities as its foreign policy chief.

Most European Union member states (21 out of 27) now recognize Kosovo.

Those who wish to slow down this process effectively want to encourage Russia’s acts of war. Those who believe that interstate war is not a legitimate tool of diplomacy must work to increase Kosovo’s recognition around the world, and its eventual accession to the European Union.

Kosovo Day

Congratulations to Kosovo, the newest country in the world!

“Kosovo is a republic – an independent, democratic and sovereign state”

Kosovo’s independence was made possible through military support from NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the EU, or European Union. Fittingly, Kosovo’s independence will be announced through the “Ode to Joy,” Europe’s national anthem.

The Political-Military Ruleset

The Political-Economic Ruleset

Kosov’s independence is another milepost in NATO’s and the EU’s expansion into the lands of the fallen Communist empire. The latest central remnant of that empire, now called the Russian Federation, It also is just the latest bit torn from Yugoslavia, a country hapless enough to decide to be a Russian satellite

The Remains of Yugoslavia

Kosovo, welcome to freedom!

On the web:Catholicgauze, Zenpundit

The Rise of Europe

Two stories, two maps.

To the Borders of Russia

The first: the European visa-free zone increased, incorporating many of the new EU members. Germany and Austria no longer have guarded frontiers, formerly having checkpoints on the Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, and Slovene borders. Russia now borders the four members of the visa-free zone: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland (in addition to Finland and Norway).

Europe and the West Balkans

The second is the continued dismemberment of the Russian client state, Serbia, at the hands of Brussells (and Washington, and Berlin, and…). When Kosovo declares independence, which is already a few months overdue, Serbia will find itself surrounded by eight countries — three of whom are already in the EU, another (Croatia) which will probably be the next EU member, and the rest looking for eventual EU integration.

Relatedly: Vladimir Putin, who has been invaluable in accelerating Europe’s rise, is Time‘s Man of the Year.

The Brutal Colonizer

The War We Haven’t Finished,” by Frank C. Carlucci, New York Times, http://nytimes.com/2005/02/22/opinion/22carlucci.html, 22 February 2005.

First, I was angry. Then I was horrified. Then I was resigned. Then I knew.

The world reacted in horror six years ago when the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic embarked on an ethnic cleansing operation against Kosovo’s Albanians, forcing 700,000 people, nearly half the population, to flee the province. Reports of massacres and images of mileslong lines of refugees fleeing into neighboring Albania and Macedonia compelled the world to act. The NATO air campaign against Serbia that followed convinced Belgrade to give up its brutal assault, and Kosovo was put under United Nations administration.

And so it remains to this day: an international protectorate, legally part of Serbia, but with a 90 percent ethnic Albanian population that would sooner go to war than submit to Belgrade’s rule. Kosovars seek an independent state, and the seemingly endless delays over final-status talks are only causing deep frustration and resentment.

Their discontent is not simply a matter of hurt pride over national sovereignty; Kosovo’s unsettled international status has serious repercussions for daily life. Because it is under United Nations administration, Kosovo is in economic limbo: it cannot be part of the international bank transfer system, it is ineligible for sovereign lending from development banks, and it can attract few foreign investors. With 70 percent unemployment, the province is being starved of the commerce it badly needs.

The United Nations’ brutality once confused me. Whever blue helmets go, horrible suffering follows. Few organizations would disarm civilian populations and heard them into ghettos to be slaughtered, but the U.N. did. Few organizations would allow its peacekeepers to fire at refugees while the refugees are being slaughtered by machete-wielding thugs, but the U.N. did. When I thought at the uncalculating evil the United Nations represented, the only moral response seemed to be withdrawal.

But the violence is calculating. The evil is intentional. Whether or not corrupt aparatchicks like Kofi Annan know this isn’t an issue. The U.N sends a clear message to the world: Act up and we will mess you up.

Tom Barnett wrote of a Wolfowitz Reconstruction as a veiled threat, but U.N. peacekeeping is far worse. The U.N has abetted ethnic cleansing, genocide (by its surreal standards), “emergency sex, and countless other evils.

The United Nations offers a hobbesian, criminally reckless system administrator to the world. By implementing Barnett’s vision we can do better. In the meantime, the U.N. is better than a vacuum.

But not by much.