Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Mafia politics in Kosovo and Bosnia

Before Hitler started his real wars he had a period in which he just got his way by establishing fact-on-the ground. He did it when he invaded the Rhineland, when he announced to have an airforce, with the annexation of Austria and finally with the annexation of Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia. It was a prelude to war. Far from leading to stability it led to an ever increasing appetite.

Now we have the West implementing a similar policy in the Balkans. Just as Hitler had his philosophy of Untermenschen here we have Robert Cooper's theory about pre-modern states where we as civilized Westerners can basically do whatever we want to bring civilization. The result is that we now see both in Bosnia and in Kosovo an attempt to establish facts-on-the-ground.

In both cases it starts with a unilateral act by the West's favorite party. The act is clearly illegal but close enough to the rules to be defended in front of ignorant journalists. It is then also defended by the US ambassador and there is even active Western support for it.

In Bosnia it started when the Bosniaks usurped the presidency by installing as Croat member of the presidency a Croat who had been chosen nearly exclusively with Muslim votes. Later on they captured also the government of the Federation. These are clear attempts to undermine the Dayton Agreement. Western support became visible when the OHR overruled the Central Election Commission who had condemned the Bosniak move.

In Kosovo it started with the Albanian attempt to capture the border posts in the Serb-controlled north. Western support became visible when it helped transport Albanian police to the border after they had been driven away.

The combination of these two events makes it clear that the real actor behind these events must be somewhere in Washington or Brussels. This and the underhanded way it is executed makes me very pessimistic that we will see a speedy solution in either area. When people with moral consciousness of Machiavelli are determining what happens anything can happen.

It is good to remember the sorry end of Machiavelli himself. The kind of behavior he advocated may bring victories but it destroys trust. And that means that in the everyone ends worse. Solving ethnic conflicts requires trust more than anything.


Asteri said...

I think it was a combination. I agree that there are certainly figures in Washington and Brussels who pushed for the Albanian annexation of the north but there were a lot in the west who were against such a move, rightly seeing it as counter-productive and a unwanted headache.

Anonymous said...

If transferring one part of Kosovo to Serbia ends Serbia's hostility and aggressive intent toward Kosovo in general, it might be a worthwhile price to pay.