November 19, 2007

The Quagmire Continues

Almost nine years ago, the United Nations sent a military force to take over the administration of Kosovo from Serbia, of which it had been a part, on and off, for centuries and continuously for decades, Having kicked out the Serbian government from its province, the UN and the international community gave Kosovo a de facto recognition as its own political entity -- and for almost nine years, they have pretended they did no such thing. Europe has once again warned Kosovan separatists not to declare independence, this time after a referendum on their status:

Foreign ministers from several EU countries have urged Kosovo Albanians not to declare unilateral independence following Saturday's elections. Independence without foreign support could isolate Kosovo, they warned.

A party led by a former Kosovo Albanian rebel is set to win the polls, which were boycotted by the Serb minority. Hashim Thaci's party seeks to declare independence from Serbia after 10 December - the UN deadline for ethnic Albanians and Serbs to reach a deal.

Kosovo is formally a part of Serbia but has been run by the United Nations since 1999 when Nato ejected Serbian forces from the province.

Ethnic Albanians, who make up some 90% of Kosovo's population of two million people, have been pushing for the province's independence.

The entire situation is absurd. NATO intervened on behalf of the Kosovars because of the actions of a Serbian government long since gone. The rationale for the occupation of Kosovo left along with Slobodan Milosevic. If the province was going to be returned to Serbia, it should have been done when the Serbs got rid of Milosevic and returned to a rational policy of engagement with its neighbors.

The UN and EU, however, couldn't figure out what they wanted to do with Kosovo. They apparently don't want the Serbs running the province, but they also don't want the Kosovars runnning it either. The only other options appear to be handing the province off to another country -- which neither the Serbs and the Kosovars would countenance -- or to sit on Kosovo forever as an occupied state.

We do not need to continue our part in that foolishness. NATO and the EU acted to free Kosovo, and now they do not want to take responsibility for any negative consequences of that action. Whether or not Kosovo should have been partitioned off from Serbia, the invasion and occupation have already accomplished that, and the vast majority of people in that province do not want to return to Serbian rule. If the West believes in self-determination, the choice here should be very simple -- a choice NATO and the EU forced on themselves.

The US should make it clear that we will not remain in Kosovo for any longer than it takes to transition the provisional government to an independent state. If the EU wants to pretend it didn't liberate Kosovo, then let it do that all on its own. With the lack of participation that our NATO partners in Europe have given in Afghanistan, we can use our forces elsewhere for liberty rather than a strange and aimless occupation.


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» The Forgotten Occupation from RealClearPolitics - Blog Coverage
Ed Morrissey on the forgotten occupation of Kosovo: We do not need to continue our part in that foolishness. NATO and the EU acted to free Kosovo, and now they do not want to take responsibility for any negative consequences... [Read More]