Monday, February 25, 2008

Kosovan independence

Here's a link to the Register's editorial on Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia. We expressed some skepticism, noting that Kosovo remains a dependent of NATO. Didn't get nto the KLA's long connection with organized crime; now it will dominate the government. It's not that independence as such is a bad idea, but it's likely to unsettle things in a chronically unsettled part of the world. Russia, traditionally a Serbian ally, is opposed, partially also as a way to poke the West, and especially the U.S., in the eye. The Kosovan provinces along the border have fairly heavy Serbian populations, and could opt to be governed by Serbia if Serbia wants to be provocative. After a few demonstrations things seem to have settled a bit, but serious violence is still possible.

However, the decision in 1999 to bomb Serbia to protect it from Serbian domination (the charges of genocide were a bit overblown, though Serbia under Milosevic was hardly gentle). Once de facto independence, enforced by NATO troops, became the reality on the ground, formal independence was reasonably inevitable. When you intervene and create a dependent, you get yourself drawn into situations that have nothing to do with core interests, and even damage them.

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