Congratulations Kosovo

As expected, Kosovo declared its independence today. Leaving political analysis for the moment, I just returned from downtown Stuttgart where a large crowd of Kosovars held an independence celebration. There was champagne, dancing and Albanian and American flags as far as the eye could see. Your trusty correspondent naturally had his camera to capture this historic day.

I met many Kosovars who repeated the joyous handshakes, hugs and praise that I’d heard while visiting last year. American flags were second only to Kosovar flags of course and several German and British flags were flown as well in recognition for their role in the NATO liberation of Kosovo.

After 9 years and many false starts, Kosovo’s day has finally come and although independence will be supervised, political problems will persist and life won’t be transformed overnight, I believe that for today at least, we should all stop to celebrate and reflect on the very good deed done by NATO and the very real, positive and long lasting effect it has had on a people and a new country. With all the conflicts and problems that we have today, and that we constantly discuss on this site, I was truly moved by the outpouring of emotion and celebration and seeing Kosovars declaring their independence today and was especially proud that my country took part in an act of good in our troubled world. Every American should be.

So here it is, Kosovar Independence as celebrated in Germany:

kosovparty-0.jpg

About Chirol

Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (1852 - 1929) was a journalist, prolific author, world historian, and British diplomat. He began his career as a foreign correspondent and later became editor of the London Times. After two decades as a journalist he joined Her Majesty's Foreign Ministry as a diplomat and was subsequently knighted for his distinguished service as a foreign affairs advisor. Additionally, he wrote a dozen books on foreign affairs including The Far Eastern Question (1896), Serbia and the Serbs (1914), The End of the Ottoman Empire (1920) and The Egyptian Problem (1921). He is generally credited with popularizing "Middle East" in reference to the Arabian Peninsula with his book The Middle Eastern Question (1903). "Chirol" is a US citizen and graduate student studying Defense and Strategic Studies and government contractor. As with the historical Chirol, he has traveled to over two dozen countries and lived abroad for many years. Chirol speaks English and German fluently with basic knowledge of manyl of others.
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19 Responses to Congratulations Kosovo

  1. dj says:

    I talked to some Serbians here in California and they were really upset about this. A lot of stuff that is important to them is in that territory. Now Serbia is a little land locked country with little comparative advantages. I don’t even think the Bush admin really had a strong stance on this and wa just carrying on with old policy. We should not have been there, the “ethnic cleansing” claims when under scrutiny are not as strong as they used to be. Do any of you guys know if that is true or not?

  2. fabius_maximus_cunctator says:

    dj

    Chirol is probably better placed to answer this than I am. However, if you want fair – not objective, but just fair – info on this, serb expats are not the ideal people to get information from. I did follow the conflict at the time and have no doubt that the Kosovars had a real grievance. What is more I cannot imagine how they could have been kept in some union with Serbia without even more brutal repression.

    Of course, the EU will have its work cut out now. Lots of hard work.

  3. dj says:

    Thanks for the response reading around the web right now and a lot of Europeans cannot seem to come up with good reasons for this except that the US/EU made a promise back in the 1990s.

    The only people this may help is the Kosovars, the Kosovar Albanians to be exact.

    So now when will the Republika Srpska to declare independence from Bosnia? Or the Serb population breaking off fro Kosovo.

    ahhhh the Multiculturalism…..

  4. Zuru says:

    Spain won´t recognise Kosovo…Guess why!

  5. dj says:

    Yep, talk about opening a can of worms. I would like to see the people supporting this support Tibet, Xinjiang and a whole lot of other stuff.

  6. Chirol says:

    The truth is that Kosovo isn’t as comparable to other breakaway regions as Russia and others like to believe. The problem is that in the press, it plays as such when those who’ve studied or followed the conflicts see the deeper differences.

    On top of that, the real issue not being discussed is the inability and dysfunction of the UN. Both the UN and Contact group agreed unanimously on the Ahtisaari plan for supervised independence for Kosovo after years of fruitless negotiations. In the end, the UN had to be avoided because of the broken Security Council system.

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  8. Mark says:

    Too bad the fedgov didn’t feel this way when the CSA tried the same thing (in the 1860s).

  9. Curzon says:

    A few comments, first to DJ:

    “Now Serbia is a little land locked country with little comparative advantages.” As it was before independence of Kosovo, no?

    “I would like to see the people supporting this support Tibet, Xinjiang and a whole lot of other stuff.” Well, I think we support them all, for what it’s worth. But political and territorial independence for small ethnic minorities in larger states only comes after either genocide or breakdown of authority on behalf of that ruling state. China has a long way to go before it approaches that.

    Zuru: why??

    Chirol: see any chance of Albania and Kosovo merging into a single state??

  10. Chirol says:

    Curzon: No chance at all. In fact, it’s expressly forbidden by the EU, UN and by the Kosovars themselves. It was part of the Ahtisaari Plann iirc.

    Besides, although both Albanian, they now have very different national experiences and Kosovars would most likely not want to merge but to be free to rule themselves. That’s what its all about

    Read the full text of their independence

    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/02/17/news/Kosovo-Independence-Text.php

  11. Curzon says:

    Thanks for that link. I wonder how long before Kosovo becomes an EU candidate country like Turkey, Croatia and neighboring Macedonia…

  12. R says:

    Logically, the northern Serb area of Kosovo around Mitrovica should remain attached to Serbia. Likewise the Serbian province of Bosnia should be attached to Serbia proper.

  13. Alfred Russel Wallace says:

    Mark: Do you REALLY believe the world would be a better place if CSA had achieved independence? I certainly don’t.
    My own comment is that the celebrators do not seem to have heard that they have a new flag….

  14. Aceface says:

    It probably have no effect on anything.But Japan is thinking about recognizing Kosovo in the near future,but will do so when EU does.The decision was made in cabinet meeting today.
    Japan is already the third largest donator in financial aid there.

  15. Dan tdaxp says:

    Logically, the northern Serb area of Kosovo around Mitrovica should remain attached to Serbia. Likewise the Serbian province of Bosnia should be attached to Serbia proper.

    A territorially equivalent chunk of Serbia proper to Kosovo’s east is majority Kosovar/Albanian. A land-swap would be possible, but currently Serbia does not think there is any state to swap with, so you need to get over that hurdle first.

  16. P. Aeneas says:

    “My own comment is that the celebrators do not seem to have heard that they have a new flag….”

    “No chance at all. In fact, it’s expressly forbidden by the EU, UN and by the Kosovars themselves. It was part of the Ahtisaari Plann iirc. Besides, although both Albanian, they now have very different national experiences and Kosovars would most likely not want to merge but to be free to rule themselves. That’s what its all about”

    Kosovo may have a new, UN-inspired flag (blue, yellow and plenty of stars… remind anyone of Bosnia?), but I think it’s pertinent to look at the people on the ground in these situations. Is this really Kosovar nationalism, based on a geographical region subject to specific circumstances, or is it a more familiar nationalism, based on ethnic affiliation?

    I am reminded of Austria and Germany, which have had a comparatively long history of separate statehood. This separation has been vindicated in the long run, but until fairly recently (this past century) this has been in dispute, especially among the kinds of nationalists who go around declaring new countries. Personally, I would be very cautious in trying to predict what course these states will take.

  17. Bill says:

    Congratulations to Kosovo on your independence–from chicago

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