Sunday, 17 February 2008

Kosovo - an unviable state

Others have welcomed the announcement by the Parliament in Pristina of 'independence' for Kosovo. I don't. I fear hugely for the state and worry that it will necessitate an even more lengthy engagement for UK and other international troops as well as significant cash injections.

I cannot pretend to have very many answers, but at least allow me to pose the questions that come to mind:

In welcoming UDI, what thought did Bush and Brown give to the rights of the remaining ethnic Serbs in the province? Yes, they are a minority, but they are a significant number and the region does have a history of large ethnic groups trying to squash smaller ones. You may well point out that the Serbs were the ones who did quite a lot of this in the 90s but that does not mean that they can be trampled on now.

How can an independent Kosovo be viable. It has a very weak economy and few exports of note. It was a drain on the resources of Serbia and Yugoslavia before that. Are we, the western taxpayers, expected to subsidise UDI?

What further plans do the leaders in Pristina have? Not a few commentators worry that there is a movement to become a part of Albania proper.

Kosovo was a part of Serbia for a very lengthy period. Within the borders are a large number of historic Serb monuments - mostly dating from the middle ages. What access will Serbs (both Kosovar Serbs and Serbians) have to these and what protection will be offered them?

Why have Bush, Brown et al so fervently welcomed this announcement. Promise me that it wasn't simply a way of getting at Putin. And if it was a matter of principle, what about Euskadi (the Basque Country), Northern Cyprus, the Russian provinces and so on ad infinitum? Can someone please define self-determination please.

And finally, can anyone who supports this UDI please point to viable non-nationalisitic politics in Kosovo. For years parties have divided on the fault line of independence. Have the Western powers who encouraged this move looked at who is now going to be running the state and what their deeper politics are? (Clue: they ain't pretty)

1 comment:

Manfarang said...

This is already a cause of consternation in Sri Lanka and no doubt here in Thailand with the difficult situation in its far south.