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Hot Heads and Cold Wars
by Jack Wellman
2008-02-20 09:36:30
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"We, the democratically elected leaders of our people, hereby declare Kosovo to be an independent and sovereign state," the Parliament’s proclamation read. One would have thought Kosovo was celebrating a new year, but perhaps more dramatic than that, celebrating what they hope will be independence and Democracy. But Russia and Serbia call the withdrawal illegal.

They have, up to now, withheld their hand from a show of military force to stem Democratic tide, but Serbia has already said that any nation that recognizes Kosovo as an independent nation, would have negative consequences with their diplomatic and economic ties. They especially fear this movement bolstering separatist movements in Georgia and Chechnya. The proverbial dominoes effect still strikes fear in the hearts of the Kremlin. And patience is running low on both sides.

The U.S. and key European allies support Kosovo’s move toward Democracy and Russia and Serbia, who liken it to the withdrawal of states during the U.S. Civil War. Tension remains high enough that the NATO alliance increased the number of patrols, even though 16,000 NATO-led peacekeepers are already present there. President Bush has already expressed support for Kosovo’s fight for independence stating "We also believe it's in Serbia's interest to be aligned with Europe and the Serbian people can know that they have a friend in America."

Russia has warned that it could be another conflict which could escalate into the bloodbath of the Balkans, which was also separatist nature. For over a decade, 10,000 lost their lives at the hands of Serbian forces, but Kosovo’s citizens today say even that did not snuff out the flame of freedom. In Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, there was widespread celebration, patriotic songs, fireworks and gun shots into the air, even American flags appeared outside windows.

Kosovo essentially declared it’s independence from Serbia by parliamentary approval of the measure. Russia's Foreign Ministry responded angrily staying that “this could shake the foundations of a world order that has developed over decades“. Russia pointed out that this violated an international U.N. Charter which was designed to prevent ethnic violence. Russia warned the U.S. and any other nation, that recognizing Kosovo as an independent nation could cause further separatists movements elsewhere, further destabilizing the region.
Russia has veto power at the U.N. Security Council and is expected to block any attempt to recognize Kosovo. They will ask that the U. N. recognize only Serbia, since under the U.N. Charter does, or be in direct violation of the already approved Charter. The same non-recognition status that Georgia is under. And Georgia is already a stewing pot on the stove.

Russia is widely expected to block recognition of Kosovo in the United Nations and continue backing traditional ally Serbia. The Interfax News Agency have quoted leaders of the Georgia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia area that they feel jealous. They feel more deserving of independence than Kosovo. The separatist movements, although mainly underground, are growing stronger every day and their effects are becoming systemic in nearly every part of the former Soviet Union. A spokeswoman for the South Ossetia’s separatists, Irina Gagloveva, says "We believe that we have a greater right to recognition of our independence by the international community than Kosovo does "I feel stronger," said Ymer Govori, 36, carrying his daughter on his shoulders to celebrations downtown. "I have my own state and my own post code," he said, "and it won't say Serbia any longer."

Escalating feelings of mutual distrust, foreign and domestic policies that are polar opposites, Democratic and Socialistic. What is needed now are cool heads, calm negotiating, working to seek a middle ground or compromising on both sides. This seems to be a lose-lose situation. Is there going to be another Cold War? I am not optimistic that there will not be, but I hope to be proven wrong.

When tempers flare, just like when a couple argues at a party, the mood quickly grows cold and quite. When nations have polarized philosophies, tempers flare, when tempers flare, there is mistrust, where there is mistrust, there is subterfuge, where there is subterfuge, there is violence. A cold war is a non-declared war of sorts, but war nonetheless. Not a hot war no, but a cold war. A war we pray never does turn hot.

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