Editorial 2 / Taking Kosovo Solution Seriously

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Written by Aleksandar Jokic   
Wednesday, 13 June 2007

  • Suddenly, the urgency to settle Kosovo’s political status in the form of “supervised independence” is on the US imperial agenda. After years of neglect following the US-led NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 (the 78-day bombing operation was called “Merciful Angel”) and merely a year of “negotiations” between representatives of Serbian government and an Albanian delegation from Kosovo, it was announced that the time had come for an imposed “solution”.
  • The part of this US-endorsed solution that the Albanian community in Kosovo (the real name of this Serbian province is Kosovo and Metohija) likes is “independence”. But what does the qualification “supervised” amount to? While former Finish President Martti Ahtisaari’s plan, developed on behalf of “international community,” offers Kosovo Albanians some cosmetic (though perhaps substantively insignificant) attributes of independence such as a distinct flag, seal and anthem, “key international stakeholders” in the form an “International Civilian Representative (ICR)” would be the true rulers, vested with the power to annul laws adopted by the local democratic institutions or dismiss democratically chosen officials who fail to tow the line. More importantly, the Ahtisaari plan would leave basic economic policies in the hands not of an “independent” Kosovo or its government, but to the “free market,” or its institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the EU Commission, in other words to the outsiders. Consequently, “supervised independence” amounts to an insulting “paternalism by arrogant foreigners” of the kind now perpetuated in Iraq and Afghanistan, having been perfected for eleven years in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • If one is to believe US officials, in their search for an adequate settlement in Kosovo they were guided by the interest in securing “regional stability”. Since it is hard to see how “supervised independence,” explicitly and unashamedly favoring one side, could deliver in this regard—as unlike in Bosnia and like in Iraq and Afghanistan the fake independence of Kosovo will likely trigger a violent backlash against foreign dominance by well armed Muslim fighters—let us consider what would be the result of an approach honestly concerned with stable peace in the region. The obvious and inexpensive solution is to partition Kosovo between Serbs and Albanians by the process in which Serbia would exercise expulsive secession. The Serbian part of Kosovo would then become a part of Serbia proper while the Albanian part would become independent. Albanians have made it abundantly clear that they want nothing short of full independence. If possible, this genuine desire ought to be satisfied at least to a degree. Some give and take would be necessary, however, but partition is the only natural way to go. What would it take to accomplish this?
  • First, the myth that Serbs would not find this option palatable must be rejected.  In fact many Serbs, including members of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU), and in particular the former President of Yugoslavia, the novelist Dobrica Cosic, have long advocated this sort of solution. Back in 1996 SANU President Despic in a newspaper interview recommended partition. What exactly it should amount to is another matter, but it is a feasible step for both Serbs and Albanians.

  • In fact, convincing Serbs that a specific partition is good will seem less of a problem than divorcing the Kosovo issue from the Republika Srpska issue. And this is where the key policy may lead to a happy return of foreign servicemen and women (including Americans) from both Kosovo and Bosnia. A carefully crafted package of financial incentives and policy of compensating the Serbs' loss of territory in Kosovo with empowering Republika Srpska to join Serbia would provide a long term security and stability solution for the puzzle that the Balkans have presented until recently. This proposal would have to be further fine tuned, such as offering a provision that the UN guarantees that the holly Orthodox sites which remain in Albanian dominated Kosovo would enjoy protection from destruction and access secured to all Serbian pilgrims.

  • The policy of partitioning Kosovo along with the unification of Republika Srpska with Serbia offers long term security and stability for the region. Also, it is no less natural an outcome than the unification of Germany, for example. Once NATO and EU troops pull out of Bosnia, Serbs in Republika Srpska will be safe from possible attack coming from the Muslim and Croatian Federation as the strength of the Serbian Army will function as a decisive deterrent. On the other hand the Muslim and Croatian side would have nothing to fear from a democratic government in Belgrade. Similarly, after partition of Kosovo KFOR can pull out without worry of a renewed full-scale war between Serbs and Albanians there. A small contingent of NATO troops (preferably Americans, because of their credibility) would have to maintain a long-term presence in Macedonia to prevent a conflict erupting in the western part of the country where Albanians have a majority similar to the Kosovo situation. Albanians there might be tempted to repeat a Kosovo style uprising. American troops in Macedonia would guard against this, further contributing to the long-term security of the Balkans. The cost would, however, be an insignificant fraction of the current costs of maintaining both the Bosnia and Kosovo missions.

  • This entire enterprise is likely to provoke fierce resistance only from one side: the ethnic Muslims in Bosnia. However, American diplomats should have no serious problem convincing them to go along, as Muslims have enjoyed American protection and favors from the beginning of Yugoslav crisis. While Croats were supported by Germany and Serbs supposedly by Russia, Muslims in Bosnia were the side the US chose to favor. Perhaps the honor of carrying out the implementation of this comprehensive and long-term security solution could fall on the son of the President who began the destructive US meddling in former Yugoslavia in the first place.

Aleksandar Jokic
Associate Professor - Department of Philosophy
Portland State University

The Real Solution for Kosovo"

More in the series: Kosovo: La route balkanique vers l’UE / The Balkanic Road to the EU ...
(15/06) And yet Babel was the work of God... (Katjia Dersek)
(14/06) Taking Kosovo Solution Seriously (Aleksandar Jokic)
(13/06) Kosovo and possible solutions (Lucia Vesnic)
(12/06) Kosovo: La route balkanique vers l’UE commence par la détermination de 2 régions, serbe et albanaise (Franck Biancheri)
(11/06) Albanaise, serbe ou kosovare, quelle est l’identité du Kosovo? (Krenar Gashi pour Birn @Courrier des Balkans)

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Last Updated ( Friday, 15 June 2007 )
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In memoriam
In memoriam
After a long battle against the disease Franck Biancheri passed away 30th of October 2012, at the age of 51. A great European, a militant democrat, a wonderful person.
Franck Biancheri was founder of AEGEE and founding fathers of the ERASMUS programme. He also was research director of the European thinktank LEAP 2020. In 2005, following the no of the Dutch and French to the Constitutional Treaty, Franck Biancheri founded the European citizens movement Newropeans.