Monday, December 03, 2007

National Review: "The Africanization of the Balkans"

The lessons of Zimbabwe are lost in darkest Kosovo.

By Denis Boyles

The report in Le Figaro that a trio of today’s big powers — including Russia, the U.S., and the European Union — was at loggerheads in the Balkans, has a certain cold air of familiarity about it, right down to the annoying Serb nationalists at the center of it all.

The sudden chill between Russia and what we can now again call “the West” is the result of the collapse of talks between the Serbs and the Kosovars a couple of days ago. Their negotiations were supposed to be the “last chance” at working out a “settlement” — ostensibly of what relationship the Serbian province of Kosovo should have with Belgrade. In reality, the two sides were negotiating the terms of Serbian surrender demanded by the Kosovar terrorists they had once fought. The Serbs were willing to continue to come up with something, as the IHT reports today, but most think it would be an empty exercise: On December 11, the international community will impose a “solution” and grant Kosovo the independence its leaders demand. The Serbs will be scarred and Russia might not like it, but they both had their chance to do something about it eight years ago, and they missed it. Serbia was being run by a dangerous buffoon and the Russians were broke.

Now the Russians are rich as czars and everybody’s worried about what they might do — including, I guess, the Russians: Le Figaro’s reporter says the Russian foreign minister is “very alarmed” at the consequences of forcing Serbia to accept Kosovo’s independence. That Russian alarm was matched by American concern. Our negotiator, Frank Wisner, told Le Monde that “tensions are obvious.” Sorting out the Balkans should be a snap. The countries there are little and cute. But the “Balkan powder keg” is a local trademark, and for good cause..... National Review

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