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M Lux
M Lux
2 months ago

It’s really nice to see even-handed and down to earth coverage of this topic for a change. Whenever I see it come up in western media, it’s inevitably hysteria about the lack of progress and/or fear-mongering about what the Serbs are up to (with the standard implication being that it’s probably something evil).
Self-determination (i.e. the right to secede) based on ethnic composition of a region is a double-edged sword and the fact is, Pandora’s box has already been opened in Kosovo, it’s just that the West is pretending that it hasn’t.
With Kosovos independence, the question now becomes “why can’t Serb (or whichever) majorities in a given region secede, provided they want to?” and the answer is usually because it doesn’t suit the West and as such there is no answer that is both consistent with western rhetoric and aligns with their goals, so there are few solutions to be had (just look at Bosnia). In the interest of fairness, I will add that the local actors in this case don’t make it easier, for obvious reasons.
However, this is still very much a case of cake-ism, to borrow a phrase, and once again exposes the hypocrisy of western diplomacy and the so-called “rules based international order”, since the rules are there for others to follow and the West to ignore.

Muad Dib
Muad Dib
2 months ago
Reply to  M Lux

Yes, refreshingly balanced and well researched article. Agree, about Pandora’s box already being opened, and the dangerous precedent being set. There are many such regions where ethnic and/or religious majority in the region is different to the whole country, and being somewhat unsatisfied with their status. Their independence movements have gained new energy and legitimacy with Kosovo development. It is indeed frequently pointed out whenever regional tensions arise. I guess that’s the reason certain countries (e.g. Spain) are very reluctant in recognition. Calling for international laws and norms is hypocritical. If majority of region democratically decides for independence should it be stopped? What if it’s Catalonia, or Scotland or Northern Ireland or Crimea or California… Pandora’s box indeed.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
2 months ago
Reply to  M Lux

Self-determination need not be a problem. A decade ago, Czechoslovakia split into Czech Republic and Slovakia, along the pre-WW I historical border between the Austrian and the Hungarian halves of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Both have reasonably prospered and neither has been “behaviourally conspicuous”.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
2 months ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

Sorry, your example is totally incommensurate with this scenario.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
2 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

I agree. The point of my comment was to reflect on: Why?

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
2 months ago
Reply to  M Lux

Exactly. Kosovo good, Abkhazia/Ossetia/Crimea/Occupied Palestine bad. Funny old world

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
2 months ago
Reply to  M Lux

Nice take. Of course, it was Tito who largely shifted the ethnic balance in Kosovo toward Albanian, though without the unintended consequences. A quick but thorough review of the role of Albania in various destabilising events and activities in northern Europe signals that peeling off Kosovo to hurt Russia is not exactly helping Europe. But our American ally doesn’t much care about European interests.

Flamur Fonda
Flamur Fonda
1 month ago
Reply to  M Lux

Your answered your own question.
“With Kosovos independence, the question now becomes “why can’t Serb (or whichever) majorities in a given region secede, provided they want to?”
Without going back to history, which you know just as well, Albanians were and still are majority in Kosovo. Serbs were not and still are not. And if you want a minority of 3-5% to be allowed to secede in Kosovo then allow Albanians in Serbia, N. Macedonia, Monte Negro too. While you are at it, let people of Sanxhak and Vojvodina, too!

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
2 months ago

The Serbs remember Muslim domination, it’s baked into their DNA. Same with the Hungarians. The far West — Britain, Sweden etc. — thinks that Islamization is the woke thing, the fashionable thing. The Serbs and the Hungarians and the Macedonians know better. Albanians enjoy one of the most broken cultures on the planet; the Serbs want nothing to do with it and they are prudent not to.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
2 months ago

As with N.Ireland, how can a critique of this Kosovo conflict be significant … if it has NO mention of religion?

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
2 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Bingo.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 months ago

Fascinating how concepts of human rights, war crimes and self determination are wholly dependent on what serves the interests of various powers.
So, non Serbian parts of Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Kosovo, one rule.
East Ukraine Russians, Kosovo Serbians or Kurds in Turkey, too bad.
And imagine if anyone other than China were doing what they are with the Uighurs.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
2 months ago

Oh what tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!
NATO started a completely illegal war against Serbia in 1999, based on blatant lies, and goaded a terrorist-ridden Kosovar cabal to declare independence, even though the EU-mediated deconfliction administration had pledged not to change the political status of Kosovo. Kosovo survives today purely on the graces of the US, and is home to one of the largest US bases abroad, Camp Bondsteel.
Russia warned NATO and the EU not to create an international-law precedent, but NATO and the EU ploughed ahead anyway. The result is that many NATO countries do not recognise Kosovo, and NATO’s Kosovo caper served Russia as international-law template for the reabsorption of Crimea.
The latest crisis developed when NATO leveraged the EU to put pressure on Serbia to make Serbia give up its neutral stance between the EU and Russia, and join the EU’s economic war sanctions against Russia.
So – yes, no doubt, if there were a willingness on the side of the puppet masters to not only allow a resolution, but knock some heads together locally to discourage grandiose notions of past glories and heady revanchism, then the issue could be resolved. Unfortunately, the EU has decided to abandon its decades-long track record of burying centuries-old grievances under a blanket of unideological prosperity, strong minority protection and freedom of movement, and has instead become a blatantly militarised extension of a Neocon-weaponised NATO, so that solution, that brought the formerly fascist military dictatorships Greece, Portugal and Spain into the European mainstream, is no longer available.
We’ve created quite a mess. Mr. Borrell would do well to worry more about the NATO boar he is allowing to rampage in our European garden than about the peaceful jungle outside our borders.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
2 months ago

I remember several hundred Serbs being kicked out of Kosovo.

berat kryeziu
berat kryeziu
2 months ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

Just see the facts. Also mass graves on SERBIA . Then you will undestand why NATO attacked serbia.

Flamur Fonda
Flamur Fonda
1 month ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

I remember a million of Albanians being kicked out of Kosovo! I remember several thousands of Albanian women and children being raped, killed by Serbian neighbours and militia. Dead bodies found in Serbia’s rivers and other part of Serbia. I still hear that many Albanian mothers are waiting to know for the bodies of their disappeared kids, buried in Serbia.
Do you still want me to go on and tell you what I still remember?