When Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence in February 2008, proponents of the move assumed that Serbia's acquiescence to Kosovo's final status was not absolutely necessary. The United States and many countries in Europe hoped Kosovo would gain quick recognition. These supportive governments thought that Kosovo would then have access to capital and investment, and that the northern, ethnically Serbian parts of the province would want to take part in the post-independence economic boom. Sadly, things have not gone according to plan.
Although the United States and many European countries did recognize the new state, some EU members -- such as Spain -- did not, due to fears of setting a harmful precedent that could weaken the doctrine of territorial integrity. Most other world powers have also declined to recognize an independent Kosovo, including Brazil, China, and India. Although some U.S. policymakers predicted that the Islamic world would embrace a new Muslim state -- and express gratitude to the United States for bringing about its birth -- almost no members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference have extended recognition. Even states that enjoy the patronage of the United States, such as Georgia and Iraq, have declined to support Washington by recognizing Kosovo (both countries face separatist problems of their own).
This was obvious years ago when this situation was first beginning to boil. But, those who supported independence - either hypocritically (without regard to similar problems elsewhere in the world) or opportunistically (for campaign contributions from ethnic Albanian lobbies, which include many decent people but which also include front-men for ethnic Albanian organized crime) - cared not about broader ramifications.
Let's review what Kosovo is.
Historically, Kosovo is a part of Serbia. Shortly after the Serbian Empire fragmented in 1371, forces of the Ottoman Empire moved into the province and defeated the forces of Serbia and Serbia's allies, Albanians and Bosnians. This "Battle of Kosovo" occurred in 1389. A few decades later, Kosovo fell under full control of the Ottoman Empire until right before the First World War.
Ethnically, by the 19th century, Kosovo was majority Albanian.
Fast forward to 2008: The ethnic Albanians in Kosovo declare independence from Serbia.
The quote above touches on only some issues. For example, China occupies Tibet; according to international law, this occupation is perhaps roughly on a par with Serbian possession of Kosovo, though that might be generous to China's position. China also has unrest in the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region - important as a trade crossroads and for natural resources. Here ethnic Han Chinese are being brought in as fast as possible to strengthen Beijing's control of an area that could easily teeter away from China and into the realm of Central Asia. Georgia is also mentioned; it has autonomous regions seeking legally-recognized independence, including South Ossetia, flashpoint of a brief war in 2008.
But, it seems there is an elephant in the room that is not being discussed.
Imagine San Antonio, Texas, location of America's famous Alamo. In 1836, President General Antonio López de Santa Anna took approximately 1500 troops into what was then part of Mexico and defeated a force of Texians about 200 strong. The battle was a defeat for the Texians, but now lives on in Texan and American history.
Now, imagine that, due to tremendous immigration - not all of which is legal - and a proportionally higher birthrate, people of Latino descent come to outnumber people of non-Latino descent so much in the San Antonio region, that they unilaterally declare independence.
In the Kosovo fighting, it wasn't just the Serbs who were implicated in atrocities. The Kosovo Liberation Army committed atrocities against Serbs and against fellow ethnic Albanians; the KLA was essentially a criminal organization, involved in trafficking arms, narcotics, people. America's recognition of Kosovo's independence in the wake of this history is a recognition of "Get there first with the most" and "Might makes right" politics.
Will that precedent some day come back to bite us along our southern border?
We now continue with Unfreezing Kosovo:
Being considered nonexistent has led Kosovo to struggle economically -- a situation made even worse by the lack of a formal agreement with Serbia on property claims. As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said recently, Kosovo is hampered by "high unemployment, low investment rates, and a relatively small economic base." The government in Pristina requires Western aid to meet its expenses. Meanwhile, Kosovo remains a regional hub for narcotics, weapons, and human trafficking, with corruption a major deterrent to foreign investment.
"Kosovo remains a regional hub for narcotics, weapons, and human trafficking, with corruption a major deterrent to foreign investment."
More to follow.