Captain's Quarters Blog

« Blue Hawaii Swinging Red? | Main | Language Is Highest French Priority »

October 24, 2004
Telegraph: Kosovo Vote Shows UN Leadership Failure

For those who prefer to leave issues of global leadership up to the United Nations, the London Telegraph reports that five years of UN governance in Kosovo has left the disputed province more deeply divided and hostile than ever, and no closer to a resolution:

Early results from the weekend's general election showed that five years of UN rule had only deepened ethnic divisions as Kosovo's voters signalled their despair with the Balkan province's administrators.

Barely more than half of Kosovo's 1.4 million voters went to the ballot box. While the province's majority ethnic Albanians were struck by apathy, its 130,000-strong Serb minority was seized by anger and completely boycotted the poll.

Only a handful of Serbs voted, following calls from Vojislav Kostunica, the Serbian Prime Minister, and the Serbian Orthodox Church to stay away. Mr Kostunica described the election as a "failure".

American politicians, notably John Kerry, have repeatedly called for UN leadership in the newly-liberated countries of Afghanistan and Iraq, arguing that elections without an imprimatur from Turtle Bay deligitimizes the outcome. However, the UN has run Kosovo since 1999, when the Clinton Administration allowed them to take over the project of determining Kosovo's status and negotiating betweent the ethnic Serbs and Albanians who populate the territory. The result of five years of UN leadership? Elections that neither side took seriously and one side boycotted entirely.

Five years later, no one knows what form a Kosovar government will take: a province, an independent nation, or another partition along the lines of Bosnia. The UN has dithered, unwilling to take any action at all to reach a resolution, exhibiting an overwhelming preference for the status quo:

The provisional result equates to a maintenance of the political status quo by default, as both Kosovo's bitterly opposed ethnic Albanians and Serbs signalled their dissatisfaction with foreign rule. ...

Long happy to do nothing, Kosovo's international administrators were stung by riots in March that made clear that maintaining the stand-off was counterproductive. Now Kosovo appears deadlocked.

Long happy to do nothing -- that's a perfect description of UN intervention wherever it occurs. The UN was happy to do nothing when Srebrenica was overrun by the Serbs when the UN had thoughtfully herded the Bosnians into one spot for them. They were just as happy to do nothing in Rwanda and Darfur as well. Having the UN take charge anywhere is a recipe for doing nothing except freezing time, when the problem in Southwest Asia is exactly that -- nothing has changed in a century, and the people still live under oppressive kleptocracies and mullahcracies that inspire and encourage radicalism and terrorism.

In Afghanistan, American insistence on pushing change resulted in the first democratically-elected government in that nation's long, troubled history. We didn't listen to the naysayers that said the Afghanis couldn't govern themselves, nor did we stop when people kept harping on the old canard that democracy cannot be imposed from the outside. (Tell that to Japan.) The universal impulse for all humans is to exercise control over their own government and to be free to choose their own fate. The Iraqis will prove that once again in January.

And had the UN been in charge of either country, they would have suffered the same fate as the Kosovars -- bitter, divided, with no end in sight of the UN's indifferent governance. We simply cannot afford to allow that to happen in the future.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 24, 2004 8:53 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Telegraph: Kosovo Vote Shows UN Leadership Failure:

» Daily Dish from The Cool Blue Blog
Bush ahead in Hawaii? Look for Kerry to become a Surfer Guy and schedule a speech at Pearl Harbor... Mixing Church and State is long as you're a Democrat. Bob Woodward wants his questions answered, dammit. Oh for the [Read More]

Tracked on October 25, 2004 6:27 AM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!