Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Kosovo, Kurdistan and the future of NATO

The future is not bright for the NATO alliance and its service of Washington's imperial energy strategy. The Canadian left still sometimes hauls out the 70's plan to "get out of NATO." But there may be good reasons to propose a more orderly retreat and devolution of the outdated coalition. These to articles present recent parts of the picture that are not commonly discussed in the context of NATO. This is the beginning, not the conclusion, of that discussion.

William Lind, "On war #252: Fools rush in," Defense and the National Interest, February 27, 2008.

...The latest Balkan fools are the United States and the European Union, which have rushed in to recognize what Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica rightly calls the “fake state of Kosovo.” Why is it a fake state? Because there are no Kosovars, only Serbs and Albanians. Each group seeks to unite Kosovo with its homeland, historic Serbia or Greater Albania. An independent Kosovo has the half-life of a sub-atomic particle.

The action of the U.S. and the E.U. in stripping Serbia of Serbs’ historic homeland is both a crime and a blunder. It is a crime, first, because no one, not even the U.N., has a legal right to dismember a sovereign state, and second, because the narrative used to justify the illegal action is a lie. The stated justification is that the Serbs, under Slobodan Milosevic, were ethnically cleansing Kosovo of Albanians. As German courts have established, there was no ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo until NATO started bombing Serbia. After NATO launched its unprovoked attack on Serbia (Mrs. Albright’s splendid little war), the Serbs dumped the Albanians on NATO’s doorstep as a vast logistics spunge. That wasn’t terribly nice, but when you are a very small country fighting all of NATO, you do what you can. Ironically, after Serbia was forced to capitulate when Russia withdrew her support, NATO blithely presided over the ethnic cleansing of two-thirds of Kosovo’s Serbs by the Albanians.

In international affairs, blunders are worse than crimes, and two of the blunders contained in the recognition of Kosovo are likely to have consequences. The first is the creation of an irredenta, which guarantees another Balkan war. Serbia will never accept the wholesale alienation of one of her provinces. Like France after 1871, her whole policy will focus on recovering her lost territory as soon as the moment is ripe.

The second blunder is further alienating Russia, this time in a way she cannot ignore. If the U.S. and the E.U. are blind to the ghost of 1914, Russia and Serbia are not. The fact that Russia went to war to protect Serbia then puts pressure on Moscow to do so again, lest the Putin government look weak domestically as well as abroad....

Read the whole =>

Pepe Escobar, "A long road from Kosovo to Kurdistan," Asia Times online, February 28, 2008.

[This article is full of detail about both Kosovo and the Kurds, Iraq, Turkey and the US/NATO. -jlt]

"The precedent of Kosovo is a terrible precedent, which will de facto blow apart the whole system of international relations, developed not over decades, but over centuries. [The Americans] have not thought through the results of what they are doing. At the end of the day it is a two-ended stick and the second end will come back and hit them in the face."
- Russian President Vladimir Putin


The ongoing saga revolves around two crucial, interrelated facts on the ground: Pipelineistan and the empire of 737 (and counting) US military bases in 130 countries operated by 350,000-plus Americans. In short: it revolves around the trans-Balkan AMBO pipeline and Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, the the largest US base built in Europe in a generation.


Washington and the three European Union heavyweights (France, Germany and Britain) have applauded Kosovo's independence. But this core of the self-described "international community" is caught in silent scream mode when confronted with the possibility of independence for Flanders in Belgium, northern Cyprus, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia, the Basque country in Spain, Gibraltar - not to mention Indian Kashmir (the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, JKLF, is already making some rumblings), Tibet, Taiwan, Abkahzia and South Ossetia (both in Georgia and both Russia-friendly), Palestine and Kurdistan. Northern Kosovo itself - totally Serbian-populated - and western Macedonia also don't qualify to become independent. ... Small, contrarian EU countries like Slovakia, Romania and Cyprus were imperially overlooked.


Blowback, in this case, may be long in coming, but Washington is bound to taste it. Turkey will clinch an oil deal with Russia and will buy Iranian gas and co-exploit Iranian oil in the Caspian. As for Iraqi Kurds - seeing red against both Washington and Ankara - more than ever they won't stop dreaming of becoming the new Kosovo, on their own terms....

Read the whole article =>

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