Sunday, February 17, 2008

Kosovo: should it stay or should it go?

I am a nationalist, among other things. That is to say I believe states function more smoothly and have greater national cohesion when they are founded on, well, nations. I also believe a race has a much better shot at preserving its language, its culture and itself when it has a state to call its own. As such, Kosovo is a tricky situation for me.

Kosovo is currently a part of Serbia, a nation of Serbs, yet it is a province distinctly lacking in Serbs. It is filled with Albanian Muslims, the majority of whom want Kosovo to be a free country, and the following are the reasons why I believe they should not be.

1 – Kosovo is home not only to a large Serbian minority but also to many of the landmarks of Serbian culture and history. Those people will not stop wanting this land back. NATO may forget about this in a few years, generations from now those Serbs will still be wanting that land back and recent history says that they’ll eventually be in a position to get it and that they will fight for it.

2 – Kosovo was originally Serbian, overwhelmingly Serbian, it only became Albanian after Christian Serbs were kicked out by the late Ottoman Empire and then by the puppet government put up by fascist Italy during WW2. Transferring land from nations based on a demographics shift is a dangerous notion. As a drastic example, most of the counties around where I was born in Iowa could easily be awarded to Germany on the basis of race. As a more probable example, large portions of northern Macedonia could go to Albania on this precedent.

3 – Serbians have a lot of faults, they have done a lot of bad things but they are a repressed minority in Kosovo and if IFOR leaves in the wake of Kosovar independence things will get bad for them, very bad.

4 – Most importantly, we will piss off the Russians immensely. The Slavs see this as a broader blow against them (in a way, it is) and they will unite behind Putin who will promptly screw over several of our interests in that region in retaliation. If we allow Kosovo to become independent and hurt Russia’s ally (Serbia) they will allow Abkhazia to move toward independence and hurt our ally (Georgia). It will be a decided net lose for American interests if Kosovo becomes independent.

Kosovo deserves recognition of its special status, but more along the lines that Scotland has now and the Serbs are willing to give it that. We should not let Kosovo go, it is the wrong thing to do in principle and pragmatically it is terribly disadvantageous. If Kosovo declares independence we should not recognize it and support reunification under some sort of a federation.

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