By: Jiri Hanak
The new year begins under the sign of the infamy that the U.S. and the European Union are committing against Serbia by supporting independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo. In this relation, I cannot help but reach for a historical comparison. When, in October 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain defended the Munich Agreement with Hitler as offering peace in our time, Winston Churchill said, The nation had to choose between shame and war. We have chosen shame. We shall get the war as well. To paraphrase Washington and the EU have chosen between a restless Balkans and dishonesty. They have chosen dishonesty and will have troubles with more than the Balkans.
But let us leave Serbia aside, injured and demeaned as it is. In its current state of mind, it is imaginable that Serbia will turn its back on the EU and the West and will seek a safe harbor in Moscow. The idea that Serbia may permit Russia to establish a base on its territory is not as fantastic as it may seem. Desperate states do desperate things.
When discussing Kosovos independence, we cannot apply a nations right to self-determination. The Albanian nation already has its state. The Kosovo Albanians are thus merely a minority in Serbia, as the Czech Germans were in pre-war Czechoslovakia. But there are further points. If the Euro-Atlantic alliance grants independence to the Albanians in Kosovo, will it be able to consistently deny it to Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia, where they form a high percentage minority? And what about Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Would it not have the right to untangle itself from the (nonfunctioning) Bosnian double state and declare its own independence as well? I am almost certain that an independent Kosovo and an independent Republika Srpska in Bosnia would fuse with their mother states in the foreseeable future, resulting in an entirely new map of the region.
These matters are but a trifle, however, compared to the whole extent of what may come spilling out of the Pandoras box of Kosovos independence. If the Albanian minority in Serbia can become independent, why not the Hungarian minority in Slovakia? And in Romania? And what about Chechnya? And the Turks in Cyprus? And what about the 40-million strong Kurdish nation, with its own language and culture? Only because fate cast them into a cursedly sensitive areaone by the way that has billions of barrels of oil?
And look at the icing on the cake: the KLA, supposedly the Kosovo Albanians liberation army, was as recently as 1998 listed on the U.S.s list of terrorist organizations. Only thanks to the magic wand of the U.S. State Department, then headed by Madeleine Albright, did the terrorists and narco-barons change into respectable freedom fighters. I cannot judge how much a role was played by the charm of KLA political leader Hashim Thai (also known as the Snake). What is certain is the fact that we will be witnesses to a unique eventwith the declaration of an independent Kosovo, the narco-mafia will gain its own state.
The states of the EU will probably recognize Kosovos independence; only Cyprus is holding out. In the case of Slovakia or Romania, the approval will be either hypocritical or suicidal. For the Czech Republic, it will be a living example of forgetting ones own history. I am sorry that, as a convinced backer of the EU, I have to say that in the case of Kosovo, the EU has apparently gone insane.