Today – 16 years since NATO began to bomb Serbia and did so mercilessly for 78 days to carve out Kosovo as an independent state – still today a failed one.
Remember that when you talk about Crimea today.
Here is a link to “Yugoslavia – What Should Have Been Done?” – probably the world’s most comprehensive blog about the dissolution of Yugoslavia; it’s written since 1991 by three experts and published as they wrote it at the time.
The people who masterminded this destruction without a UN mandate are all still at large – e.g. Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Javier Solana, Wesley Clark and Tony Blair – the latter, without an ounce of shame, today “adviser” to the government in… yes, oh yes, Belgrade!

It was the largest ever NATO operation. It was conducted without a mandate from the UN Security Council. It was out-of-area and not in response to an attack on a member state according to Article 5 in NATO’s charter. It came in the wake of the – fraud – negotiations at the castle of Rambouillet outside Paris during which (the Serb and the the Albanian delegations never met face-to-face) the Serb side was forced to accept that NATO could roam around freely all over Serbia with no legal responsibility (and potentially arrest anyone, including President Milosevic) and without paying anything for it. That was when the Serbs said no – and NATO’s bombing started soon after.

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  1. Kosovo has existed out of YUgoslavia since 1999. If you have not managed to make it a reasonably well-functioning entity over all these years and over 100,000 people have just run away from it to EU countries because they see not future there and with an unployment rate that is higher than in the YU days and – with the exception of Bosnia – probably the highest in Europe – yes, I call that failed for thos and other reasons I have no time to explain.
    I was not comparing Crimea and Kosovo as states but the way in which they were taken out of their respective countries. While I was a mediator in Kosovo for 4 years I jave not been involved in Crimea and therefore have no basis on which to predict how it will be in, say, 16 years from now.

  2. Jan,

    OK I understand where you go, and my point was not to compare the two cases in specifics.

    My main issue is that Kosovo – and the status of Kosovo today – is just as much a result of “realpolitik”, as a recognition of Russian ownership of Crimea would be. And this is why I am apprehensive about the “realpolitik” argument as leverage.

    The kosovoan independence left a legacy of conflict and problems that I agree are not resolved, and the intense hatred I now see almost every day against Russia in much of Eastern Europe and the Baltics is likely to cause much bigger problems and a much more violent legacy than Kosovo, it the Russian annexation becomes a cemented fact. I have never in my 20 years in the East seen this level of fear and hate against Moscow, and it is going to take a lot more than “realpolitik” to mend these wounds and feelings.

    I don’t know how this will play out or end 16 years from now. In case of Russia keeping Crimea my guess is that the rest of Eastern Europe will move closer to the EU (and NATO) and even usually pro-Russian countries such as Serbia and Belarus will consider their position. But time will show.


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