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Future Consequences of Kosovo's Independence Future Consequences of Kosovo's Independence
by Newropeans-Magazine
2008-03-14 10:02:57
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George Bush said that the US supported Kosovo's independence because his administration "believes it will bring peace." He may be the president of the most powerful country in the world, but he does not seem to know anything about conflict management and peace building.

After a number of talks between the governments of Serbia and Kosovo failed to bring any agreement on the status of the Serbian province, Kosovo declared independence on February 17.

Given the power struggle for dominance in the region between the United States and the European Union on one side, and Russia on the other side, a solution through negotiations was not possible. Albanians were encouraged by American and European support for an independent Kosovo and did not want to compromise. Serbs, with Russia on their side, were opposed to any changes to the status quo.

George Bush said that the US supported Kosovo's independence because his administration "believes it will bring peace." He may be the president of the most powerful country in the world, but he does not seem to know anything about conflict management and peace building.

Long-lasting peace is possible only when parties in a conflict come up with an agreement that accommodates them all. Everything else is a short-term masquerade and a further protraction of conflict and violence.

Albanians succeeded in cutting off all ties with Serbia. But what about the areas of Kosovo with the Serbian majority? Serbs who live there want to severe all ties with independent Kosovo. If separation of Serbs and Albanians is the only solution for peace, as George Bush believes, then they should be completely separated.

If territory can be taken away from Serbia, then the same model should be used in the case of Kosovo and all other countries where there are secessionist tendencies.

Those countries that supported Kosovo's independence argue that Kosovo is a unique case in the world. They say that Serbia lost its right to govern the province because of the deep-rooted conflict and mistrust between the two ethnic groups.

What about an independent Palestine, Kurdistan, Tamil region in Sri Lanka, and many others? Secessionist tendencies, mistrust, and deep-rooted conflict are not unique to Kosovo only.

Korea Times writes that Sri Lanka's northern Tamil region "arguably has a stronger case for independence than Kosovo."

Kosovo's self-proclaimed independence and its acceptance by many world powers is a definite precedent with possible consequences around the world.

In the near future, we may see escalation of conflict in the Basque region of Spain and parts of France, fighting for independent Kurdistan in Iraq and Turkey, problems in Romania, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, China, the whole African continent, and elsewhere. German Spiegel comments that "many countries fear that their separatist groups could choose to emulate developments in the Balkans."

The recent Turkish offensive against the Kurds who are fighting for independence since the 1980s should not come as a surprise just a few days after Kosovo proclaimed its independence. Interestingly, Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo. Does that mean that they would accept future self-proclamation of an independent Kurdish state that would take a substantial piece of Turkish territory?

Another country that could expect a lot of uncertainty is Bosnia and Herzegovina. In December 1995, Bosnia ended its three-sided bloody war that lasted for almost four years. Since then, the country is formally divided into two, and informally into three ethnically homogeneous parts.

It is very possible that some ethnic groups in Bosnia could decide to follow Kosovo's path and seek partition of the country. German newspaper Handelsblatt writes that "the West will have problems explaining why one is against Republika Srpska [Bosnian Serb entity in Bosnia] when Kosovo's secession was deemed acceptable. Keeping the artificial state Bosnia and Herzegovina together against the will of the Bosnian Serbs will, in any case, be difficult."

After Kosovo's self-proclaimed independence received support around the world, it will be hard to say no to others who attempt the same.

Savo Heleta*
Port Elizabeth - South Africa


* The author a postgraduate student in Conflict Transformation and Management at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is the author of Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia (AMACOM, March 2008).


   
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Emanuel Paparella2008-03-14 11:19:08
There seems to be a perplexing paradox at work here which perhaps needs better exploration: the more Europe unites and joins globalization, the more the centrifugal forces seem to gather strength. There are political independence movements in several of the European member states. There is one in Italy, one in France, one in Spain, one in Holland, one in Britain, you name it, not to speak of cultural movements opposing what is felt to be a levelling cultural process by the EU bureacracy. What does such a reaction by ordinary people say about globalization? I still have to see an adequate lucid answer to such a question.


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