While all eyes have been on the U.S. presidential campaign, such foreign-policy hot spots as Syria, Iran and Pakistan, and the increasingly frosty relations between the United States and China, a simmering problem in the Balkans threatens to come to a boil. The most serious clashes to date involving angry Serb inhabitants of the northern portion of Kosovo and international Kosovo Force (KFOR) peacekeeping personnel erupted on November 28. Thirty German and Austrian soldiers were injured, some by small-arms fire and Molotov cocktails, when KFOR troops tried to remove roadblocks that Serb residents had erected. Those barricades have been the most prominent component of the ongoing campaign that Serbs, who want to remain under Belgrade’s jurisdiction, have waged against the secessionist government of Kosovo, based in Pristina.
NATO and European Union leaders responded to the episode in their usual obtuse fashion. NATO commanders warned that they will use lethal force if necessary to protect alliance troops in any future clash. German Chancellor Angela Merkel renewed her campaign of blackmail against Belgrade, telling the government of President Boris Tadic that the violence showed that Serbia was not yet ready for inclusion in the EU. Aside from Merkel’s dubious assumption that Belgrade has decisive control over Serbs in northern Kosovo, her bias threatens to make a tense situation in the Balkans even more so. Her opposition to Belgrade’s ambitions to join the EU is not an academic matter, since Serbia’s bid for candidate status was set to be discussed when the bloc’s leaders meet on December 9. A collapse of that bid risks discrediting democratic forces in Serbia and reviving the currently weakened ultranationalist opposition.
“The path of Serbia into the EU,” Merkel warned, “can only lead through the normalization of its relations with Kosovo.” In other words, Belgrade must recognize Kosovo’s independence, which occurred following NATO’s amputation of the province from Serbia. What is striking about that demand is that five current EU governments refuse to recognize Kosovo’s independence. Moreover, Merkel and her allies are demanding of Serbia a type of political concession that has never been required of any other current or prospective EU member. Worse, the EU demand includes recognition of Kosovo’s territory with no boundary adjustments whatsoever, thereby condemning the disgruntled Serb minority in northern Kosovo to perpetual discrimination—or perhaps ethnic cleansing. Those inhabitants are not likely to tamely accept such a dismal future.
The EU’s rigid position would be unwise even if there were no danger of an explosion of violence in northern Kosovo, or if the EU powers would be entirely responsible for handling any crisis that did erupt. But neither condition is true. The level of violence on November 28 was significantly greater than previous incidents. And this time it was directed not at would-be security forces or bureaucrats from the Pristina government but at KFOR personnel. That is a worrisome escalation of an already tense situation.
And it is a danger that Washington needs to recognize before it’s too late. The United States still has troops in Kosovo as part of the seemingly endless peacekeeping mission, and they would be at risk if the Kosovo powder keg explodes. Such an eruption is now more than a remote possibility. The Obama administration should withdraw all U.S. military personnel from Kosovo immediately. It would be bad enough if the EU’s myopic, clumsy policies lead to a new crisis involving Kosovo, but it would be an inexcusable tragedy if President Obama allows American troops to be injured or killed in the process.
Originally published on 2011-12-05
About the author: Ted Galen Carpenter, senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute
Source: The National Interest
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
One of the consequences of the geopolitical changes that has come to characterize modern civil society has been the surge in popularity of paramilitary units across Europe. This phenomenon is particularly observable in the Baltic States.
The Lithuanian Riflemen’ Union is a telling example. Established in 1919, the Union has become very popular in the past few years; its number has grown significantly. Now it has around 8,000 members up from 6,000 two years ago.
Trained by military personnel and falling under the responsibility of the defence ministry, the Union serves the clear purpose of supporting the regular army’s capabilities and ...
If Pentagon chief James Mattis was seeking to reassure the world of American restraint in the North Korea crisis, he clumsily did the opposite. The US Defense Secretary was speaking after intense discussions with President Trump and other senior military officials in the White House Situation Room following the sixth nuclear test carried out by North Korea on Sunday.
Mattis emerged from the meeting to say that any threat from North Korea to the United States and its allies would be met with an «overwhelming military response». He then added – with a weirdly presumed ethical tone – that the US «was not looking to ...
The Syrian battlefield is now witnessing an escalation of the war. This is despite the fact that it is supposed to be a time of cessation of hostilities brokered by the US and Russia.
The Syrian war has two major fronts. The first and most important is in southern Syria, on the borderline with Israel and the occupied territories of the Syrian Golan Heights. This area is divided into two areas: the liberated area of Al-Quneitra, and the occupied area of the Golan Heights where Jabhat Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda’s base their fighters.
Israel has been attempting to drive the Syrian army out ...
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists — Ernest Hemingway
Military spending is the second largest item in the US federal budget after Social Security. It has a habit of increasing significantly each year, and the proposed 2019 defense budget is $886 billion (roughly double what it was in 2003).
US military spending exceeds the total of the next ten largest countries combined. Although the US government acknowledges 682 military bases in 63 countries, ...
Columbus made four voyages to the New World.  The initial voyage reveals several important things about the man. First, he had genuine courage because few ship’s captains had ever pointed their prow toward the open ocean, the complete unknown. Secondly, from numerous of his letters and reports we learn that his overarching goal was to seize wealth that belonged to others, even his own men, by whatever means necessary.
Columbus’s Spanish royal sponsors (Ferdinand and Isabella) had promised a lifetime pension to the first man who sighted land. A few hours after midnight on October 12, 1492, Juan Rodriguez Bermeo, ...
Are you aware of the heroin epidemic that has been on fire all across America- since 2001? Thanks to the government-corporate media outlets you probably are not.
Between 2002 and 2013, heroin-related overdose deaths in the US quadrupled, with more than 10,000 people dying of heroin overdoses in America in 2014 alone. Afghanistan has been the number one source globally of both opium and heroin:
Heroin from Afghanistan has killed more people than the 55,000 Americans killed in the Vietnam War. An American now gets killed every 32 minutes by Afghan heroin. With US heroin deaths tripling every four years, an American ...
A former Islamist fighter in Syria recalls why he went to Syria, how easy it was to get there – and why he would go again, if he could.
On his first trip abroad, he left with 400 euros in his pocket, a printed map from the internet and the belief that he was fulfilling his destiny in eyes of Allah. The destination was the frontline of the war in Syria, but his jihad ended faster than it started.
Two years later, in a bar full of people in his hometown in northern Albania, Ebu Merjem stands out with his long beard ...
Due to the international media’s continued claims about the «annexation of Crimea», it’s been difficult for the citizens of the US and Europe to make sense of the details of the peninsula’s recent history. Exactly three years ago, on March 16, 2014, the Crimeans were offered a choice: to rejoin Russia or to return to the constitution of 1992 that proclaimed Crimea a legal, democratic, secular state whose relationship with Ukraine was based on bilateral agreements. That constitution was unilaterally abolished by Kiev on March 17, 1995, and here’s what’s surprising: no one at that time in the West demanded that the Ukrainian ...
The speech delivered Tuesday by Donald Trump to the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York was without precedent either for the UN or the American presidency.
Speaking before a world body ostensibly created to spare humanity the “scourge of war” and founded on the principles elaborated at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders, the American president openly embraced a policy of genocide, declaring that he was “ready, willing and able” to “totally destroy” North Korea and its 25 million people.
The fact that nobody in the assembly moved for Trump’s arrest as a war criminal, or even ...
Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.
The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.
Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this ...
Source: Rich Whitney
Rich Whitney is an attorney, actor, radio commentator and disk jockey, Illinois Green Party activist and former Green Party candidate for governor.
While much is said in some American media outlets about “fake news” in the US, the smallness of the matters being discussed might come into focus when compared with Ukraine, which is of late producing rather much fake news about the Holocaust and elementary points in World War II history.
As we reported back in October, Ukrainian media outlet Radio Svoboda — the Ukrainian arm of the US Government-funded arm of RFERL — posted a picture from the US Holocaust Museum. It is an image of Polish Jews being deported to a death camp. There was just one problem. Radio Svoboda claimed the picture was ...
How can it be that in virtually all of the Presidential-candidate head-to-head Democratic versus Republican polling that was done of both Democratic and Republican candidates during the primaries, the preferred Democratic candidate against any one of the Republican candidates was Bernie Sanders, but he almost certainly won’t be that Party’s nominee (and there’s more on that here); and the preferred Republican candidate against either one of the Democratic candidates was John Kasich, but he certainly won’t be the Republican nominee?
Sanders and Kasich also scored the highest in his respective Party for net favorability rating, but almost certainly neither candidate will ...
GR Editor’s Note
Moscow is accused of doping as part of a US dirty tricks campaign to prevent Russia from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
What is the record of the US with regard to doping?
The main sports organizations including the NFL, MLB, and NBA have allowed unusually relaxed policies for performance-enhancing drug testing and punishment. The USADA is the US government agency responsible for the implementation in the United States of the World Anti-Doping Code, Yet, the record suggests that the USDA does not actively intervene in “big money sports” and often turns a blind eye ...
Much is being written regarding the Charlie Hebdo issue in Paris, France. I do not condone any killing but at the same time I do not support issues that violate human rights, religious freedom or freedom of speech and thoughts. Using cartoons to condemn Divine thoughts and beliefs is utterly wrong because they fall under hate crimes and not under freedom of speech as we are lied about. The perpetrators of hate continue to be protected. Islam is under attack and its adherents, the Muslims, are being targeted through provocation. In a recent article Charlie Hebdo and Tsarnaev’s trial: Cui ...
I was 23-years-old the first time I was arrested. It was at the Pentagon— an act of civil disobedience in protest of the U.S. war on Vietnam. My boyfriend, Jerry Rubin, and I were organizers for the National Mobilization Committee Against the War (familiarly called The Mobe).
Here we call it the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese more accurately call it the American War. After all, the U.S. was the aggressor. It was our troops that landed on their soil; our planes that bombed their cities and sprayed Agent Orange; our army massacred their civilians, women and children included. Not the other ...
After Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo is a second ISIS in Europe today. From June 1999, when NATO troops occupied Kosovo and brought to power militant Muslim Albanian Jihad fighters, systematic destruction of (Serbian Orthodox) Christianity is visible on every corner.
The most disappointed fact in post-war Kosovo reality is an ethnic and cultural cleansing of all non-Albanians and not-Albanian cultural heritage. The proofs are evident and visible on every corner of Kosovo territory. For instance, on the arrival of KFOR (international but in fact NATO „Kosovo Forces“) and UNMIK („United Nations Mission in Kosovo“) to Kosovo in 1999, all the names of the ...
According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.
But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the ...
Harry Truman surprised Americans with his call for European-style government guaranteed health care for all, Johnson with the extent of the Great Society reforms, and even Nixon with the avalanche of regulatory legislation and social spending he approved, outperforming Johnson on a number of “Keynesian” fronts. Hillary Clinton will offer no such surprises. Her consistent record in the context of the Party’s rightward gallop allows us to infer with iron confidence what we can expect from the Monstress on both the foreign and domestic fronts.
Her coming onslaught against the working population combines neoliberal austerity with some of the dominant strategies ...
Backdrop To The Balkans
The tiny South-Central Balkan country of the Republic of Macedonia is in dire straits right now, but most of Europe – let alone the rest of the world – has no idea that this is the case because the Mainstream Media narrative is that the state’s two-year-long political crisis was “resolved” when the patriotic VMRO-DPMNE government of Nikola Gruevski was replaced in a “constitutional/electoral coup” that followed Color Revolution and even Hybrid War provocations. The author wrote about this in a Sputnik piece at the time from May 2017 titled “The Macedonian Crisis Isn’t Over, and a ...
Emergence of “Right Sector” in Lithuania?
An Isolated Tyrannical Regime – Not Pyongyang, It’s Washington
Here’s How the US, Israel, al-Qaeda and ISIS Work Together in Syria
U.S Military Bases Worldwide: 682 Military Bases in 63 Countries
NATO-CIA-Pentagon: Junction of the Real Druglords & Warlords
Albanian Jihadist’s Easy Passage to Syria’s Brutal War
Who Annexed the Crimean Peninsula?
Trump’s “Mein Kampf” Tirade at the United Nations (September 2017)
How Kosovo was Turned into Fertile Ground for ISIS
US Provides Military Assistance to 73 Percent of World’s Dictatorships
More Fake News, Again from Ukraine and Once More — About the Holocaust
US, UK, & EU, are Now Dictatorships
The Demonization of Islam
Crucified Kosovo With Photo Albums
Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault
Hillary’s Agenda: “Full Spectrum Dominance” Around the Globe
Will Macedonia be Removed from the Map in 2018?