One recurring theme over the past two years of the Crimea affair has been the invocation of Kosovo by reporters and pundits who barely remember the word. Surprisingly, Geraldo Rivera — despite having flown a helicopter for America’s terrorist allies the KLA — invoked Kosovo in the proper context last year on “The O’Reilly Factor,” saying, “Like it or not, Kosovo was the precedent for this.”
But more often, the attempt is to counter the Crimea-Kosovo analogy, and sometimes it’s a strained attempt to accuse Russia of hypocrisy for supporting Crimean separatism (as with South Ossetian, Abkhazian, and Transdniestrian), while having been against Albanian separatism in Kosovo.
One instance came this past February, in an otherwise fine article by former Herald Tribune columnist Jonathan Power:
Please put your hand up if you support giving lethal arms to the Ukrainian army and also supported the US going to war with Iraq in 2003 and with Libya in 2011, the former which unbalanced much of the Middle East and the latter which has left a country almost destroyed, semi-ruled by malicious militias. Also raise your hand if you supported in 1999 the West going to war against Serbia in order to wrest away its province of Kosovo and give it independence — a move which ironically Russia opposed, arguing that this would set a precedent for territorial separation by force of arms. If you supported all these three interventions don’t take offence if I question your judgment on the issue of arms for Ukraine.
Excellent points all. I just need to address the use of “ironically,” which others have also used when describing Russia’s position on Kosovo in contrast to its positions since. (In addition to a bit of it in 2008, in March of last year, in an article that reads like an all-too-famliar State Department press release about Kosovo, Patrick Goodenough of cnsnews.com obliged Washington bureaucrats with sarcastic quotes around the word “precedent,” writing: “Ironically, the same government now invoking a Kosovo ‘precedent’ led the international opposition to Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence….Moscow warned the move would embolden separatist movements everywhere; the U.S. insisted that Kosovo was a unique case, and that it set no legal precedent.”)
Payback is a bitch. It’s not “irony.”
If you’re giving someone a taste of their own medicine — of the reality they created against better sense; if you’re demonstrating the peril and instability that playing with borders and reordering the world invites — which you’ve spent more than a decade imploring them to reconsider — your original position doesn’t retroactively become “ironic.”
Unless a writer is only now waking up to Kosovo, and is naturally all confused about how we got to Here. Here is where Russia gets to show the West what can happen in this messy new world, and why Russia was against it to begin with. Only the perk Here is that, unlike Kosovo — where America had no national interest — Russia (and others) can invoke the foul precedent in cases that do serve its national interest (and aren’t nearly as destructive as ‘Kosova’). How devious.
If the U.S. is willing to embolden worldwide separatism by setting a precedent — while unilaterally proclaiming it a “non-precedent” and reserving it the “unique case” designation despite more justifiable and deserving separatism — Russia can help make that happen. If you’ve squandered your “special” button on something that wasn’t even in your national interest, don’t blame Russia for going about it more smartly. We sure make it easy for Russia to look clever, while working day and night to make it look sinister.
Russia is making a point. That it can help you reap the fruits of your labor. Why do only we get in on the world-redesign? Russia can paint too. Especially since it’s better at coloring within lines, unlike the messy finger-painting we’ve been doing.
So, the separatism that Russia supports today isn’t a contradiction of the whole Kosovo affair, it’s a continuation. And a continuum.
Although the following may be giving Russia too much credit, every self-determination case it supports may also serve as an invitation for Washington and Brussels to come back to sanity. A sort of mutable tough-love olive branch that can remorph back into enmity if that’s what the West continues to choose. In the case of Kosovo specifically, even though Washington and its Albanian masters would have us think it’s a fait accompli, reversal is possible. Especially with all the buyer’s remorse that’s been voiced internationally. If that leads to the “disbanded” KLA retaking up arms again — this time against our troops as they repeatedly threatened to do throughout the early post-war years — then maybe it’s time Washington learned to fight actual enemies, as opposed to inventing ones like Serbia and Russia.
As for this wanton reordering of the world, it’s not just an issue of shifting European borders, which the world agreed after WWII to not do (and today’s statesmen re-profess it at every chance, adding, “Just as soon as we get this Kosovo thing done.”) It’s also an attitude, one that has manifested in Washington-led actions turning international norms on their head. In an email back-and-forth over the past year, Balkans observer Nebojsa Malic put it this way:
Russia’s view of the world is that there is an order, established at the end of WW2, for which they’ve paid with millions of lives (and we with hundreds of thousands). Even through the Cold War, it mostly held together.
The assumption in 1991 was that the US and NATO would adhere to this order — which is why the Russians agreed to dismantle the Soviet Union. Instead, the US violated it, essentially saying “the law don’t apply to us, just you,” and went nuts. Bombing, regime-changing, color-revolutionizing and “reforming” everyone to Hell and gone. Terrorizing the world is bad. When it’s a self-appointed cop doing it, that’s worse.
Moscow asked nicely, over and over again, if the West — from London and Berlin to Washington — was really, really sure it wanted to do this. What they got was “We are the Empire, we make the rules, obey or perish.” Also a resurgence of U.S.-backed Nazis (Croatia, Ukraine, etc).
The American perspective is that the order became “obsolete” in 1991, when its constraints prevented the untrammeled use of American “leadership” — so America decided to selectively dismantle it. Even though that’s the very order that gives its power any actual legitimacy, as a victor of WW2 who defined the international order (setting up the UN, Bretton Woods, World Bank etc).
The “we beat the Nazis so we can do whatever” excuse wore out over time. For two reasons: a) the Soviets did the disproportionate amount of actually beating the Nazis; and b) writing the law doesn’t put one above it.
Russians have been grumbling about all this since 1999 — but for years they weren’t in a position to do much about it. The US backing Nazis in Kiev, of all places, was the last straw, considering the Soviets had 27 million dead fighting that beast back in the 1940s…
In the Russian view, there is room on this planet for everyone, so long as they don’t trespass. In the American view, there is room on this planet only for those who play ball. The rest will submit or die. How very like some folks we know…
And then, as icing on the cake, the West deliberately snubbed the last major celebration of Victory Day that any veterans may still be alive for (don’t reckon many will be around 5 years hence). Some insults one just cannot forgive.
So while US hipsters mark “VE Day” by dressing up in 1940s costumes left over from the set of Captain America, and organize a half-our air spectacle named “Arsenal of Democracy,” millions of Russians march with the photographs of their parents and grandparents who fought in the war, and call them the “Immortal Regiment.”
Three guesses as to who I think will win.
Indeed, one eye-roller for my Russo-loathing parents has always been the popularly held Russian sentiment that some great destiny awaits Russia. I fear America may finally show Russia the way to it, just by wreaking so much havoc. But I also fear that in the end the destiny will be the opposite of great.
In Nebojsa’s analysis above, I would only substitute the word “Washington” where “America” appears, since America and Americans are not represented by the Washingtonians. “American” behavior in the past 20 years has been anything but, and there is a huge disconnect between Washington and Americans, like so many third-worlders led around by the nose by their leaders, until it ends in anguish for the masses when the consequences of their leaders’ policies arrive. We sometimes dismiss it with, “People get the leaders they deserve.” Let’s remember that when it comes our time to pay the price for Washington’s foreign misadventures, something we’ve already had a taste of.
Meanwhile, the 70-year snub — complete with the spectacle of Washington telling world leaders to boycott Russia’s observances (which backfired when the Czech president kicked out baby ambassador Andrew Schapiro and reaffirmed that his visit would be a thank-you to Russia “for not having to speak German in this country” — was foreshadowed three years earlier by Nebojsa in his “Victory Day” article:
[W]hen you look at the EU, it resembles nothing so much as what Nazi slogans described as the “European family of nations” working together for the prosperity of all. The whole endeavor has roots in National-Socialism…Then there is the bizarre situation that the map of Europe today looks suspiciously like the one from 1942, and all of Hitler’s allies in the Balkans are now the staunchest allies of the American Empire. In that corner of Europe, at least, WW2 is still being fought. Only this time, the Luftwaffe and the panzers are supposedly the “good guys”.
The newly reunited Germany, the nascent European Union and the rising American Empire [risen, but overreaching] all saw an opportunity in dismembering Yugoslavia. What followed was an eerie re-run of the 1940s carnage. Croatia’s [1990s] “democratic” president, Franjo Tudjman, led an NDH [WWII Croatia] revival — but because he was allied with the U.S. and not Hitler this time around, he succeeded where his predecessor failed. In Bosnia, Alija Izetbegovic had Washington’s support to make a bid for an Islamic state, causing a bloodbath when both Serbs and Croats objected. Albanians were likewise armed and supported to re-establish the “Natural Albania” of 1941-45.
But the cruelest twist was that these [actual Nazi heirs] accused the Serbs of Nazism — and their PR flacks used Communist propaganda to do so….Who would have ever thought to see American bombers, German tanks and Communist propaganda working together towards a goal Hitler once had: to crush Serbia as an example to others.
When Hitler invaded, Yugoslavia had been rotten already. Croats actually greeted the Wehrmacht with flowers. Few have dared ask how Tito could have put Yugoslavia back together, after all that. Yet the answer is very simple: he allowed many of the Nazi collaborators to change their uniforms at the last moment, defecting to the winning team….No wonder only Russia still celebrates Victory Day. In the rest of Europe, it’s Hitler’s ghost that rejoices.
A poignant letter to that effect in Pravda last month, written by Michael Gardner of Jacksonville, Fl.:
…My father was drafted into the US Army in 1942…He fought bravely as a rifleman under General Patton in the US Third Army group. Thank God, after victory in Europe, he came home in one piece…I watched the great celebrations that took place in Moscow…the place that was the very epicenter of sacrifice….When I heard our US government was not going to send a delegation to Moscow for the 70th anniversary victory celebrations, I was very angry. It was an insult to the men of all the Allied Forces who fought and died in Europe. Their sacrifice was ignored because of petty politics by the US government. Many of us here in the US are ashamed by this boycott of such an honorable event…I was moved by what I saw in Moscow, and it made me decide to do something I never thought of doing before. US government boycott or not, I will be in Moscow in 2020 for the 75th anniversary victory celebration and I will carry a picture of my father, Corporal James P Gardner, and honor all those who fought in the Great Patriotic War.
Earlier I mentioned there being buyer’s remorse on a global scale over Kosovo independence. Below is a sad snippet of the character of these regrets over recent years (though much has since been resolved in Kosovo’s favor, naturally). The backtracking has come even from the Vatican, which had stood at the forefront of almost every Balkans separation (Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo):
The Vatican will not recognize Kosovo, claims Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić, adding that some countries could rescind their decisions to recognize Kosovo.
Mrkić told daily Večernje novosti that Serbian officials had been assured that the Vatican would not change its stance on Kosovo…When asked why he thought that some countries could rescind their decisions to recognize Kosovo, Mrkić said:
“Some countries have already done it. Sao Tome and Principe has annulled the decision to recognize Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence. Mali was for a long time among the countries that recognized Kosovo on all sites until their president sent a letter to the public stating it was not true,” he explained, adding that it was quite possible that more countries would rescind their recognition.
A possibility indeed, if one couldn’t count on arm-twisting by Washington. Several countries at the 2011 Non-Aligned Movement summit described the enormous and constant pressure from the U.S., Britain, and France, “depending on whose former colonies they were.” (Also illustrating first-world desperation over Kosovo — in addition to America’s begging tours in places like Bangladesh — is the way its mighty representatives pounce on every new recognition, no matter by how obscure a country, principality or island. Such as when recognition was announced in February 2009 by Maldives — which had been considering de-recognizing amid a probe into whether officials took a $2 million bribe for recognition — “US secretary of state Hillary Clinton thanked Maldives for its decision…[and] welcomed [Foreign Minister] Shaheed’s efforts to encourage other countries to support Kosovo.”)
Here was Italy three years after Kosovo’s unilateral declaration, and three months after the Council of Europe’s revelations about the KLA’s murder-for-organs business:
MEP Pinno Arlacchi has said that Kosovo is the international community’s biggest mistake in the past 12 years, adding that [the] EULEX mission is a complete failure… “We created a mafia state and we care only about not letting the truth come out,” the Italian MEP added…[T]he EU and the international community should stop having a false image of Kosovo as a stable place.
“…The political situation in Kosovo and the fact that organized crime dominates its territory represent a huge threat to the security of the EU and the regional countries, even Albania,” said Arlacchi…who actively took part in the creation of Italy’s structures for combating mafia in the 1980s. “EULEX has been a complete failure. They have no strategy or idea what to do, and they did not take into account Europe’s experience in combating organized crime,” he underscored.
Remorse by Poland came a year after the declaration of independence:
…While visiting Belgrade on Wednesday [President Lech] Kaczynski said he, along with Polish opposition, is against the decision of Donald Tusk’s government to recognize southern Serbian province of Kosovo as an independent state…[and] also openly backed the policy of the Serbian government and President Tadic in regards to the preservation of southern Kosovo-Metohija province.
According to polls, the majority of Polish people share President Kaczynski’s firm position that Poland should not have backed Pristina Albanians’ unilateral declaration of independence. Apart from Poland’s president, one of the most prominent voices on [the] Polish and EU political scene fiercely opposed to the wanton mutilation of [the] Serbian state is Sylwester Chruszcz, a Member of the European Parliament and President of the League of Polish Families, who didn’t hesitate to declare the recognition of UDI by Albanian secessionists in the Serbian province was a “fatal mistake”, nor to remind that, regardless of the illegal individual recognitions, “Kosovo is Serbia”.
The government of Premier Tusk characterized a decision to recognize a mafia state on Serbian territory — which it called “difficult” — as boiling down to a “choice Poland had to make between its key allies in the European Union on the one side and aligning with Russia on the other.”
Meanwhile, here is where the Czechs were on “Independence Day” in 2008:
…The letter stresses that international law and the rule of law, although imperfect, “are the only wall standing between us and the rule of evil, the only wall capable of diminishing the rules of jungle in international relations.”
The current Kosovo status crisis is seen as an example of a breach of both these basic elements of civilization.
They remind that the valid UN SC Resolution 1244, adopted in 1999, defines Kosovo as an autonomous territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, SRJ, and thus guaranties its successor-state, Serbia, territorial integrity.
“Obviously, the U.S. and Europe are using two different yardsticks: one for Serbia, another for Kosovo, Croatia — where the Serb population was exiled from their homes in Slavonia and Krajina — and Turkey, with its fight against ‘Kurdish separatism’,” the letter continued.
The Czech lawmakers and former statesmen believe that Serbia’s offer of a broad autonomy is the only possible solution within the known principles of morality and law.
“A violent, internationally legitimized secession of this historic province from the Republic of Serbia would make a dangerous precedent for small states in Europe and beyond,” the appeal concluded. […]
In 2010, analyst Rick Rozoff pointed out that “The EU nations that led the drive to recognize Kosovo’s secession were Britain, France, Germany and Italy, the same four countries that met in Munich 70 years earlier to cede the Sudetenland and then all of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany.”
In a sad twist, the Czech Republic itself joined that pathetic crowd, answering not to its outraged public, but to international diktat:
Czech President: “How Ashamed I Am Of Czech Kosovo Recognition” (B92, May 24, 2008)
…”I was very upset by the words of Ambassador Vereš, who said that Serbs did not take personally Kosovo recognitions by countries such as Finland, Holland or Germany, but that the Czech government’s move hurt them,” Klaus wrote in an article for Mlada Fronta Dnes daily, which he entitled, “How ashamed I was”.
The Czech president reminded that he personally cannot be at peace with the recognition, and that for this reason he decided to receive Vereš, which the diplomats describe as a highly unusual move….He added that Vereš reminded him of several key moments in the common history of the two nations.
“The ambassador’s father studied in Prague after the war, to be sent home by our authorities after 1948, because he would not renounce Tito in favor of Stalin,” Klaus continued…[A]s the Warsaw Pact troops entered Czechoslovakia in 1968, Yugoslavia was the only country to declare its own mobilization.
The Czech government’s decision to recognize the unilateral independence, which Serbia rejects as illegal, has caused a storm in the local political scene, which continues unabated for the third day.
The leader of the Czech communists, Vojteh Filip, said last night… “Legally, the Czech decision to recognize Kosovo will be finalized once the president appoints the Czech ambassador to Priština. We have asked Vaclav Klaus to block the appointment of Janjina Hžebičkova,” Filip explained.
Czech: request to cancel the recognition of Kosmet independence (June 14, 2008)
Vice President of the Czech Parliament House of Commons Wojtech Fillip has stated that he has prepared a proposal for MPs to vote on the cancellation of Governmentʼs decision to recognize the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosmet. While stressing that the decision of the Government in Prague is contrary to the international law, Filip underlined that this act should be put out of power in a legal manner, and that the current authorities should be disabled from making moves without the consensus of the majority of citizens, MPs and politicians…The legal cancellation of governmentʼs decision would represent a positive precedent not only in Czech, but in the whole Europe, as it would send a message that the recognition of Kosmet independence means a huge jeopardy for the international legal system in the whole world, emphasized Wojtech Filip.
…Speaking for the ČTK news agency, [Miloš Zeman] said that if elected, he would “not allow a Czech ambassador to be sent to Priština”.
“I would withdraw even the charge d’affaires that is there now, let alone send an ambassador. I consider Kosovo a terrorist regime financed by narco-mafias,” Belgrade-based daily Danas is quoting Zeman as saying.
It was the opposition of the outgoing president, Vaclav Klaus, that prevented the appointment of an ambassador in Priština, although the Czech Republic is among the 22 of EU’s 27 nations that have recognized Kosovo.
Does Switzerland bear a responsibility for the legitimacy of the Kosovo government, given it was one of the first nations to recognise Kosovo’s independence?
There have been criticisms expressed in the Swiss media this week of Switzerland’s diplomatic move, following a Council of Europe report accusing Kosovo’s leader of heading a mafia-style organisation.
According to [Swiss politician] Dick Marty, the European Union, the United States and the United Nations were all aware of the crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), but turned a blind eye in favour of short-term stability.
His report accuses Thaci of being the head of an organised crime ring during the Kosovo Albanian guerrilla war against Serbia in the late 1990s – a ring that assassinated opponents and trafficked in drugs as well as organs harvested from murdered Serbs.
And newspapers like Geneva’s Le Temps took Switzerland to task. On Thursday, it said that Switzerland was following and even encouraging the trend of quasi-absolving crimes committed by the Albanians…. “How blind! How could such a careful country that insists on human rights be so partisan,” asked Le Temps.
In Le Temps’ view, Switzerland carries a larger part of the burden than other countries on account of its connections with the KLA. […]
Hit with a war just five months after Kosovo’s unilateral secession, Georgia too lapsed into self-preserving sanity:
…Labor Party Secretary-General Joseph Shatberashvili…says that Labor Party leaders believe that if Washington would revoke its recognition of Kosovo’s independence it would cause Russia to reconsider its decision to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.
Shatberashvili said that after the talks in the United States, Natelashvili — who is known as one of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s “most consistent critics” — will travel to Moscow to hold similar talks with Russian officials.
Moscow recognized the Georgian republics as independent countries after a brief war with Georgia in August 2008. […]
As well, an MEP from one of Washington’s chief cohorts in the Kosovo affair spoke up belatedly:
MEP Van Orden: ‘Not happy’ about Kosovo outcome (EurActive, April 9, 2008)
British Conservative MEP and foreign affairs committee member Geoffrey Van Orden believes greater autonomy for Kosovo within Serbia would have been a better solution, strengthening reformists in Serbia and improving Western relations with Russia…
“I’m not happy personally about the outcome in Kosovo. I’m not sure that was the best we could come to and I think we should have tried harder to find a way to give Kosovo greater autonomy within Serbia. I’m not looking for ways to make relationships with Russia more difficult than they are. On the contrary, I want good relations with Russia and I think it’s in Russia’s strategic interest to have good relations with the West. I don’t see a lot of point in just finding issues which are going to put Russia on a different side to ourselves, and this is one of them. And after all, we are not dealing with a Serbia ruled by Milosevic, we are dealing with a democratically elected government in Serbia, and it seems very strange, that now that we have a democratically elected government, that we kick them in the most sensitive place.”
Even one of the chief architects of reversing WWII in 1990s Yugoslavia, Germany, had a former official with second thoughts (after laying the groundwork for what he’s complaining about):
In an interview with Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, Schroeder said the declaration had come too early and was thus wrong…It had created new problems without solving old ones, he said. The European Union had succumbed to pressure from the United States on the Kosovo issue. […]
(Though really, Schroeder was more concerned that the fast pace could hurt the future of Serb compliance: “Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says that EU member-states have been too quick in recognizing Kosovo’s unilateral independence….he hoped that the EU would realize its responsibility for leaving Serbia’s pro-European forces out on a limb.”)
Any Kosovo recognizers feeling genuine buyer’s remorse would find support from non-recognizers Romania, Spain, Greece and Slovakia, that last one reaffirming its non-recognition in June 2013:
Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčak has told the Tanjug news agency…that his country would not recognize Kosovo…Commenting on the announcement of Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta that he will discuss possible recognition of Kosovo with his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico, Lajčak said:
“When people ask me whether Slovakia will change its position or why it still has not changed the stance, I ask them if they heard any politician, read any article, heard any journalist, representative of a non-governmental organization or a citizen say that Slovakia should recognize Kosovo. They have not.
“This stance is based on a resolution of the Slovak parliament but is also accepted by the entire society…So, when Prime Minister Ponta arrives next week, I am sure he will get the same answer from my prime minister,” Lajčak stressed. […]
“Kosovo’s decision was based on political instead of legal criteria. Two elements were missing in the process: an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina and legalization of the process through international institutions, mainly the UN Security Council,” said Lajcak…
Here was Romania before its 2013 bout of faltering:
… “It is wrong to grant ethnic minorities collective territorial rights,” [Romanian president Traian] Basescu said. “Western forces do not realize this and the consequences are major problems with territorial integrity in the Balkans, the Black Sea region, and in other parts of Europe.” […]
One of Spain’s most influential dailies says that Kosovo’s independence is imminent, and wrong.
“Kosovo will soon declare independence, with the backing of Germany and the United States, despite the fact that the border change was not in keeping with international law, nor EU practice, and Spain is not heard or listened to by anyone in the EU,” ABC said today in an editorial.
“The creation of an independent state for Kosovo Albanians will set a precedent for many parts of Europe with minorities who, often without reason, consider themselves discriminated,” the daily wrote.
The author, [Pedro] Schwarz, pointed out that state borders, “at least in the European continent,” are inviolable, and that this principle was “more important than succumbing to the temptation to create new states in line with ethnic principle.”
The article stressed that Kosovo Albanians, encouraged by the support of the UN special envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, and the promise of independence by the United States and some EU members, “did not show the least readiness to reach a reasonable agreement with Belgrade.”
Greek President Karolos Papoulias said in an interview to Czech Pravo newspaper Kosovo independence was declared rashly and the states which have not recognized it are in fact defending their national interests, the Serbian BETA agency informs.
According to him, the international community should have insisted on negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina to continue because the plan of the UN envoy Martin Ahtisaari has been prepared “hastily”…Kosovo will be a center of conflicts. […]
“If the UN recognizes Kosovo, tomorrow everyone will have the right to ask for the same: Northern Ireland, the Chechens, the Basques, etc.,” assessed Mini. The Italian general does not understand the international community’s hurry to recognize the unilateral proclamation…because, he said, a few years is not enough for such processes.
In an interview for the Milan daily “Corriere dela Serra”…[Mini] assessed that Italy would be making “a horrible mistake” if it recognized Kosovo, even bigger than its recognition in record time of Croatia in 1992. “The independence of Kosovo [will] only serve the ruling clans….”
Former Italian foreign minister Gianni de Mikelis, who is also a member of the European Parliament, said…that recognition…was a mistake, as well as the sending of the EULEX mission to Kosovo. According to him, it is evident that Kosovo will not become a UN member, as the majority in the General Assembly, not only China and Russia, would be against it. Serbia will not allow admission of Kosovo in the UN, but it cannot go backwards either, and such a situation creates instability and [a] problem for the whole of Europe.
[N]ormalization of the relations between Kosovo and Serbia should eventually include a UN seat for Kosovo… “If the situation developed this way, we in Bundestag would be ready to tolerate [Serbia’s] failure to fulfill some of the additional conditions.”
UPDATE: In case we hadn’t guessed, “normalizing relations” now also means what Europe has been impossibly swearing it wouldn’t:
March 28, 2013 — Serbia Must Recognise Kosovo: “German MEP Elmar Brok said neither Serbia nor Kosovo can hope to join the European Union if they have not recognised each other first.” What’s more, longstanding UN member Serbia and the newest non-state Kosovo “’should join the EU at the same time’, in order to avoid a situation similar to that between Macedonia and Greece, whereby Serbia could ‘use the veto to obstruct Kosovo’s membership in the union.’”
Explanation of how it works: “Whenever the both sides are urged to negotiate, it is mostly…to get the Serbs to accept something…more things leading to Serbia recognizing Kosovo.”
You don’t have to be Russian to be infuriated.
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