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Re-post from the Salon at Jérôme's request:

Here is one German editorial NOT echoing the Atlanticist idiocy -- Bruno Schoch in the leftist taz:

taz.de - Debatte Kosovo-Unabhängigkeit: Das schlechte Beispiel taz.de - Argument over Kosovo's Independence: The Bad Example
...Der Westen hält seinen Schritt für überfällig, das Kosovo gehöre ohnehin seit 1999 de facto nicht mehr zu Serbien. Er setzt darauf, dass Belgrad und Moskau nach und nach klein beigeben. Die Hoffnung könnte trügen. Auch wirft diese Politik des Fait accompli einen Rattenschwanz von Folgeproblemen auf. ...The West thinks that its step is long overdue, Kosovo de facto doesn't belong to Serbia since 1999 anyway. It bets that Belgrade and Moscow will back down little by little. This hope could be delusive. Also, this policy of fait accomply throws up a rat's tail of follow-up problems.
Eine einvernehmliche Lösung ist ausgeschlossen, weil die Antagonisten auf ihren Maximalforderungen beharren. [...] Ihnen trug bekanntlich schon die UN-Resolution 1244 von 1999 Rechnung: Sie schrieb die Integrität des Staates fest und entzog ihm zugleich das Kosovo. A consensual solution is out of question, because the antagonists insits on their maximum demands. [...] As we know, UN Resolution 1244 from 1999 also took these into account: It laid down the integrity of the [Serbian] state and detracted Kosovo from it at the same time.

Wow, someone who remembers it.

Lange hielt sich der Westen an die Formel "Standards vor Status". Rechtsstaat, Freiheitsrechte, Gleichberechtigung und Freizügigkeit sollten gewährleistet sein, ehe man über den Endstatus befinden wolle. Dass diese Standards nicht erfüllt sind, konstatieren internationale Vermittler unisono. Gleichwohl rückte der Westen nach den Pogromen von 2004 von der Maxime "Standards vor Status" ab. For long, the West held to the "standards before status" formula. Rights of freedom, equality and free movement were supposed to be guaranteed before a decision on final status. That these standards aren't fulfilled is stated byinternational negotiators in unison. Nevertheless, after the pogroms of 2004, the West withdrew from the "standards before status" maxim.
...
Die regionale Stabilität verbessert sich nicht. Mit einem unabhängigen Kosovo triumphiert jene ethnonationale Logik abermals, der sich EU und Nato doch gerade widersetzten. Die serbischen Gebiete im Norden könnten sich vom Kosovo abspalten. Auch besteht die Gefahr, dass "ethnische Säuberungen" weitergehen - Umsiedlungen bleiben barbarisch, selbst wenn sie international kontrolliert und unblutig erfolgen. Die Spaltung des Kosovo widerspräche allem, wofür der Westen seit 1999 eingetreten ist. Hinzu kommt das Risiko einer regionalen Destabilisierung. In Mazedonien drohen Sezessionisten unter der albanischen Minderheit neuen Auftrieb zu erfahren. Erst recht dürfte die Bereitschaft der Republika Srpska noch weiter sinken, sich in den Staat Bosnien und Herzegowina zu integrieren. Damit steht auch das Abkommen von Dayton auf dem Spiel. Wie Stabilität auf dem Westbalkan erreicht werden soll ohne die Kooperation Serbiens, des gewichtigsten Akteurs, steht in den Sternen. Regional stability won't improve. With an independent Kosovo, the same ethno-nationalist logic triumphs yet again which EU and NATO just opposed. The Serbian areas in Northern [Kosovo] could split off. There is also the danger that "ethnic cleansings" will continue - relocations remain barbarian, even if they are controlled internationally and take place without bloodshed. The division of Kosovo would contradict everything for which the West stood for since 1999. Add to this the risk of a regional destabilisation. In Macedonia, there is a threat that separatists among the Albanian minority will receive a boost. The readiness of the Republika Srpska to integrate into the state of Bosnia could sink more than ever. With that, the Dayton Agreement is also at stake. How stability could be achieved on the West Balkan without the cooperation of Serbia, the heaviest actor, is in the stars.
Das Kosovo droht zum Präzedenzfall für andere "eingefrorene" Konflikte zu werden, von Transnistrien bis Südossetien und Abchasien. Und was ist mit Nordzypern? Alles Beteuern, das Kosovo sei ein ganz besonders gelagerter Fall, gleichen dem sprichwörtlichen Pfeifen im Wald. Präzedenzfälle schafft man nicht, indem man sie erklärt oder leugnet, sondern durch die normative Kraft des Faktischen. Kosovo is threatening to become a precedent for other "frozen" conflicts, from Transnistria [Moldova's Russian-speaking break-away] to South Ossetia and Abchasia [Georgia's break-aways]. And what about North Cyprus? All the assurances that Kosovo is a very specially situated case equates to the proverbial whistling in the woods. One doesn't create precedent cases by declaring or denying them, but through the nromative power of the factual.

I agree -- the way the EU allowed the secession of Montenegro was bad enough, but this is much worse.

If you read German, read this op-ed in full -- it makes several other good points.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 09:06:50 AM EST
The EU recognizing Kosovo independence without meeting minority rights status is what makes this so bad...
I am glad that some Member States have said that they will not recognize this ... and it speaks bad for the idea of human rights as a "European value."

The effect of "recognizing Kosovo independence" means recognizing a human rights violator and rogue nation within Europe...

by euamerican on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 09:54:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And even those member states aren't led by a concern for minority rights in Kosovo and stability of the Balkans, but concern about secessionists in their own countries.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 04:46:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Kosovo qualify for Council of Europe membership?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:11:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the way the EU allowed the secession of Montenegro was bad enough

Serbia didn't put up a fight after Montenegro voted to secede (there were citizen protests but after the vote, everyone pretty much shrugged their shoulders and said, "Meh"). It was as close to mutually agreed dissolution as you'll find in the Balkans, I think. Why was the EU's handling of it so bad?

by lychee on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 10:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed it was taken with apathy, but mutually agreed secession it was not. Almost 45% of even those who could vote voted against secession. Back then, I wrote this diary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 04:42:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Montenegro is simply not comparable with this situation. First it was republic in ex YU and Kosovo was not and second most of Montenegrians are actually Serbs (that's why they voted like they did).

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:09:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This also points to contradiction in the main argument for Kosovo's independence.

The main players in the EU argue that you can't expect Albanians to live inside Serbia after what Milosevic pulled in 1999. Yet in the next breath the players argue that you can expect them to live alongside Serbs in Kosovo. If the Albanians are so aggrieved (and I'm sure they are) this doesn't speak to multiethnic harmony inside Kosovo at all. Essentially, the players are somehow sticking to a formula which, by their own admission, is doomed to fail.

Can someone explain this willful blindness to me?

by Upstate NY on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:35:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I need to sit down and work out Kosovo et al ... ever since I discovered on ET that (unsurprisingly) the mainstream media narrative was a fairytale I have failed to adequately grasp even the basics of the situation in that area.

I suspect I'm not alone here: I very much doubt that almost all the members of the governments involved don't understand what they're doing. There will be a small number of civil servants who think they do, but they'll mostly be operating on biases and sympathies.

Sometimes the system is just fucked.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:41:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect you haven't had a good listen to Bernard Kouchner on this subject. He's one of the main players.

After watching him in action, let me say I'm a lot less confident in the motivations and abilities of EU ministers than you are.

I appreciate your point of view, and actually this is a frequent argument that friends make when we discuss international events. I'm of the mind that fuckups frequently occur, while my friends tend to think that things are much more plotted.

From the US, I watch as the CIA sets up fake banks in Europe with which to entrap Al Qaeda, I watch as the Joint Cheifs of Staff conjure up Operation Northwoods to trigger wars, I watch as badly forged uranium documents are pased to Italy, as German intelligence conjures up Serbian genocide plots in Kosovo (Operation Plotvicka) not realizing they are using the Croatian spelling in their forgery, I watch as the British parliament states that, although the document is a forgery, it still rings true, and American congressman and State Dept officials who have no clue act surprised when an Albanian at the table at Rambouillet rejects a peace agreement.

These events, these people, do not inspire confidence. In fact, they look like bunglers to me. Bill Clinton's own Balkans outlook was fashioned after reading a single book by a neo-con. I think we could do better.

by Upstate NY on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 12:15:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I started reading this and thought "'a lot less confident in the motivations and abilities of EU ministers than you are'? Cynical man." and then realised that I had meant to write:
I suspect I'm not alone here: I very much doubt that almost any of the members of the governments involved understand what they're doing. There will be a small number of civil servants who think they do, but they'll mostly be operating on biases and sympathies.

Double negatives are not my friend.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 12:18:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah! Yes, and upon rereading everything, I should have known because some of the rest of what you wrote didn't jibe with that first sentence.
by Upstate NY on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 01:40:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only explanation I know of willfully sowing discord is a Spanish saying: a río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores (turbulent river: profit for anglers)

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:17:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, wonderful.
by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 11:06:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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