Robert Kaplan whom I first encountered when I read his Balkan’s Ghost prior to deploying to Kosovo in 2000, is in my opinion one of the big thinkers of our age. Over at Foreign Policy, he has a fascinating article that I urge all to read and think about, entitled Augustine’s World. Syria is the Levant, the geographical core of Late Antiquity. And its disintegration, like the crumbling of Libya, Yemen, and Iraq, along with the chronic unrest in Tunisia and Egypt, signifies not the birth of freedom but the collapse of central authority. Rome could not save North Africa, [...]
Michael Totten, doing what I think is the dream job -travel writer -reports from the Balkans: Albanian pro-Americanism resembles that of both Poland and Iraqi Kurdistan. The unspeakably oppressive communist regime pushed Albanians strongly into the U.S.-led Western camp, and the humanitarian rescue of Albanians in Kosovo from Slobodan Milosevic’s tyrannical despotism bolstered that sentiment even more. More kids tugged at me and wanted their pictures taken. It was overwhelming, and more than a little bit startling. Yup, that’s pretty much how it is there. It may surprise many folks here at home, but Americans are not universally loathed abroad.
I figured I’d do a Kosovo post, because of my experience there. Here’s a roundup of the European press reaction to the unilateral declaration of independence: From the Independent, Optimism! Today, Kosovo becomes only the third new country of the 21st century. Its declaration of independence will be recognised by a majority of the European Union, including the United Kingdom , and by the United States , but not by Russia . Its birth is more contested and difficult even than that of Montenegro in 2006, which was also detached from an unwilling Serbia , or of East Timor in [...]
Success (?) PRISTINA, Serbia (AFP) — Kosovo appears set to declare independence in 10 days’ time, just ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers, sources in Pristina and observers say. The authorities were “awaiting the green light from the West and consider the weekend before the EU meeting as the most probable date,” according to a source close to the Kosovo government. The European Union meeting on February 18 could approve the start of the deployment of an EU mission charged with supervising the initial phase of independence for the Albanian-majority southern province of Serbia. Let me throw out [...]
Stick a fork in it. More talk isn’t going to help this situation, only a decision one way or another will. MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Russia called for the creation of a new “road map” for Kosovo on Monday, warning that the future of the breakaway Serbian province risked sparking an “uncontrollable crisis”. Russia, which backs Serbian objections to Kosovo’s independence, said that 120 days of talks with the United States, the European Union and Russia made progress and the process should continue. “In the interests of stimulating the negotiation process as well as resolving other crisis situations, we [...]
I guess they are standing by to stand by: PRISTINA (Reuters) – Kosovo Albanians said on Monday they would start immediate talks with Western backers about an independence declaration, but Russia said unilateral recognition could trigger a “chain reaction” of problems around the world. “From today, Kosovo begins consultations with key international partners to coordinate the next steps to a declaration of independence,” Skender Hyseni, spokesman of Kosovo’s negotiating team with Serbia, said in Pristina. This is headed for a “frozen conflict” like Cyprus, because the two sides are gridlocked at every turn. The issue here is that eventually, a [...]
December 10th is the end of the road for negotiations: BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU leaders are expected to agree this week that efforts to reach a negotiated solution to the Kosovo problem are exhausted, and offer to take responsibility for security and justice in the breakaway Serbian province. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday “artificial deadlines” for finding a solution to Kosovo’s status were not binding and could raise risks to stability. EU negotiator Wolfgang Ischinger will brief European Union foreign ministers on Monday on the results of four months of mediation efforts and urge them to [...]