Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kosovo: Who Wants to Be in Serbia's Shoes?

As someone interested in world politics, I find the Kosovo case extremely interesting from several points of view. It is unique. No other conflict in Europe attracted so much attention, involved so many interests and raised such controversy in the post-communist era. It is new. This example of contemporary history in making brings about unprecedented combinations of events, decisions and alliances. It is unpredictable. Nobody knows what the recent developments – the unilateral declaration of one province’s independence from an internationally-recognized sovereign state and its swift recognition by US and major EU states – will eventually lead to. Yet, almost all European states have concerns, fears and expectations stemming from the Kosovo case. Take Romania, for example. Therefore, the decision whether to recognize Kosovo’s independence or not is determined primarily by the self-interest of individual countries.

Moldova has not recognized Kosovo, and is not intending to. It has strong reasons for that. Moldova has a region that has unilaterally declared its independence long time ago - Transnistria. No other country has recognized it since then. Even Russia who has frequently threatened to recognize it if the West recognizes Kosovo, has abandoned this intention and is now trying to save face . Although the nature of the Transnistrian conflict is essentially different from the Kosovo case, the separatist leaders of Transnistria have rushed to urge the international community to apply the Kosovo resolution to their case.

Another observation is related to how a country is forced to take collective responsibility for the atrocity against human beings enacted by its past leadership and army. Perhaps the majority of democratic countries with respect for human life still perceive Kosovo as a victim and Serbia as an aggressor. This type of perception is very important in contemporary Europe, which values world and regional security higher than national and ethnic interests. This perception enables European countries to endorse an action contrary to the spirit and practice of international law in the area of state sovereignty and territorial integrity. I bet no country would want to be in Serbia’s shoes right now.


Tom , February 22, 2008  

This is an interesting topic and good point in that it seems the international community now always chooses the perceived victim over the perceived aggressor. Kosovo is the victim and instantly gets international recognition. Transnistria along with Russia are perceived as the aggressor and no one recognizes it.

Lucia , February 27, 2008  

Much more is being threatened by the Kosovo case. Here is a quite objective plea on behalf of Serbia and the international security system by Vuk Jeremic, Serbian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Anonymous , February 28, 2008  

I am glad you brought up this topic Lucia. Kosovo's independence was an interesting historical event. However, I am not yet convinced of the extent to which Moldova is really threatened by this independence. It seems that Moldovan officials are doing all the fuss more in support of Russia then out of concern for the future of Transnistria.
Let's put it that way - if Transnistria were to declare independence tomorrow - it will not be translated live on BBC and CNN Europe, nor will western leaders jump in to endorse it.
You also bring out an interesting point in the victimhood of Kosovo. People are always interested in jumping in to save the weak and vulnerable. But is this really helpful or is it a continuous manifestation of the power of those strong?

Lucia , February 28, 2008  

Cezara, thanks for your comment. Actually, I do not think that Kosovo's precedent is a threat to Moldovan territorial integrity. Actually, I agree with Nicu Popescu's analysisthat concludes that Kosovo's model is hardly comparable and/or applicable to Transnistria's case.

However, I do agree with Dima Minzarari's conclusion and Vuk Jeremic's plea that the Kosovo's case defitily sets a dangerous precedent for the violation of the international law and territorial integrity of sovereign states and eventually threatens the world security.

Anonymous , March 02, 2008  

yeah, nobody wants to be in serbia's shoes today, and even fewer would like to be in Kosovar's shoes in 1999. at the end of the day nobody threatens serbs with killing, expulsion and the like.

A joke from Belgrade: " we would do anything for Kosovo, except live there"

Anonymous , March 13, 2008  

to Anonymous:

Well, killing was on both parts, besides that, as I wrote in the post on my blog, if it was to punish Belgrade, it should have been done then, earlier, when Milosevic was forced to yield to the West, and not todays Serbian government, who is no authoritarian, and able/willing to provide for large autonomy. It is wrong to play the god, braking international law to supposedly punish Serbs for what their Milosevic government did. It is a return to Metternich Europe. Besides, in this part of Europe people was and still is willing to die for their land, which means taking their territory is much much worse than killing them.

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