21 February 2008

Deja Vu

Meanwhile in the Balkans, Kosovo declares its independence from Serbia. Serbia disagrees. Riots ensue.

Both sides have powerful allies that are now opposing each other. Is this the beginning of another Great War in Europe? Or another Cold War between the U.S. and Russia?

I've said elsewhere that I prefer my news from reading what (well-informed, respected) regular people have to say about it, via blogs and forums with intelligent discussion threads. It makes it more real when real people care. Here's a view of Kosovo from someone who cares.


Anonymous said...

The whole this is scary. When Kosovo declared its independence, people cheered. But I think most people thought that they had some agreement with Serbia. That's what I thought too for a couple of minutes when I heard about it all.

For all the people in Balkan and all the people that had to flee from the wars in the 90's, I hope everything will be solved in a civilized matter.

Anonymous said...

Err...I can't type tonight. The first sentence should be "The whole thing is scary."

John the Scientist said...

I have some thoughts that will be up soon. I've been perusing the Russian press, and as usual the US MSM is full of crap.

I hope CW will chime in, as he knows a lot more about it than I do.

Tom said...

I read bakho's post this morning, and it took the smile off my face. I'm glad I read it. This is a situation I know much too little about. Without your post, I wouldn't have known anything was going on. So thanks for that, either version.

Random Michelle K said...

I had a classmate who was in Kosovo during the war. She was a pediatrician (obviously her medical degree does her no good here).

What she talked about was how difficult the day to day running of the hospital was, to keep children and infants alive.

My hope is that the situation doesn't degenerate into the my classmate described, where the wants of adults place children in harms way.

Anonymous said...

I found this today:

I hope Russia come to its senses. And that the thread is an empty one.

John the Scientist said...

rebelcat - that is an erroneous report based on a CNN Europe report that included a mis-translation of Rozogin's remarks. The CNN Europe text was:

"If the EU works out a single position or if NATO steps beyond its mandate in Kosovo, these organizations will be in conflict with the U.N., and then I think we will also begin operating under the assumption that in order to be respected, one needs to use force," Moscow's ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said, in comments carried by Russia's Interfax news agency.

That wording is a rather ominous throwback to rhetoric the Russians used in the Cold War. I'm pre-empting some of my own post on Kosovo, but the actual quote from Rozogin was this (translation mine):

Russian Federation Emissary to NATO Dmitri Rogozin does not discount that after the Kosovo precedent that in the future national interests may be defensible only with the aid of military force.

“If the EU and NATO overstep the bounds of the mandate that has been given to them by the UN, then that means that they are heading in some sense into conflict with the UN. That means that peace in the future will be constructed out of International Law, but by the basest of pressure - military force” – he emphasized on Friday in a teleconference between Moscow and Brussels.

The "peace will be constructed" is clearly aimed at Chechnya, Ossetia, et al. The tone is certainly less belligerent than the mis-translation. In addition, on my blog I will post a report of a Russian proposal to divide Kosovo in Serb and Albanian regions a la Berlin, certainly not the proposal of a belligerent power.

The original CNN report has been replaced with another article, but I have a Google cache of the original. The Russians might have an inferiority complex, but they are not stupid. I don't know whether to ascribe this to CNN European reporter's desire to bring the new EU members out of Russian orbit (in alignment with the strategy of France and Germany), or simple arrogance and incompetence.

Given my interactions with the MSM in the past, I'm more inclined to credit sloppiness and stupidity.