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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Kosovo reminiscent of Serbia

Illustration by Daniel Worthington
Illustration by Daniel Worthington
Illustration by Daniel Worthington
Illustration by Daniel Worthington

Kosovo’s recent declaration of independence could spell doom for America’s current relations with Russia.

Kosovo, a U.N. protectorate since 1999, declared its independence in late February. Prior to its status as a U.N. protectorate, Kosovo was considered a part of Serbia, the final holdout of the former nation of Yugoslavia, which has clung to Russia for support for decades now.

What is happening in the Baltic region right now is the final showdown between Russia and the west over former satellite states.

Russia freed Yugoslavia from Axis forces in World War II and aided in its reconstruction. Shortly after the war, Yugoslavia would adopt socialism and become one of Russia’s satellite states.

Since Yugoslavia’s inception in 1929, the Balkans has been a hot bed of ethnic and regional conflict. By 1991, with the Soviet Union dissolving, the government of Yugoslavia simply lost its ability to keep the region stable.

The Yugoslav wars started in 1991 and would last until 2001. This decade of bloodshed resulted in Serbia forging even closer relations with Russia.

The Serbian population constituted the majority in Yugoslavia, and as the region fractured, Serbia moved with impunity to keep Kosovo from gaining its independence. What resulted has been described as ethnically driven slaughter, which led to U.N. and NATO involvement.

In 1999, the U.S. led NATO missions in the Balkans turned into 78 days of bombings against Serbian positions, resulting in a cease-fire from the Serbian capital of Belgrade.

Soon after the cease-fire, the U.N. stepped in to ensure Kosovo’s borders by making it a protectorate, a move that a weakened Russia supported, with the intention of making it a fully autonomous state.

Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland, was commissioned by the U.N. in ’05 to present a plan to the U.N. Security Council for the phased independence of Kosovo that would also ensure the protection of the minority Serbian population.

However, in ’07, when Ahtisaari presented his plan to the Security Council, the Russians flatly rejected it. With this rejection, the Kosovar government began talks with foreign nations to garner support for its independence movement.

After gaining the support of America, the United Kingdom and France, among others, the Kosovar government announced the country’s independence, and so started the slow burning fire that could push the region once again into war.

Unfortunately, this whole issue of Kosovo’s independence has been underreported in the United States. The Middle East wars and the election primary have so engulfed the media reporting, that it is likely that most of us did not see the images of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade abandoned and burning.

Nor did we see the reports of Russia, China and Spain uniting to decry Kosovo’s independence for fears of similar independence movements arising in their own conflicted territories.

In the past month, Russia has begun shipments of more than 140 tons of humanitarian aid to the Serbian population in Kosovo. At the same time, President Bush has authorized arms deals with Kosovo, a move that most certainly will not be ignored by the Russians.

While there is every reason to believe that if an international conflict were to occur from Kosovo’s declaration of independence, Spain would ultimately side with the west, this is most certainly not the case for China.

America should rethink its arms deal with Kosovo since in the past it has armed Serbia. The path to peace lies in Europe’s effort to fold the Baltic region into the European Union. Doing so will further endear this region to the West while blocking Russia from any future meddling.

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