State Department Pushes Throttle Despite Clear Warnings
Renewed Violence Likely But, Hey, Lets Do It Anyway!
Editorial Comment from the American Council for Kosovo You would think that anyone generally regarded as a skilled American diplomat, looking ahead to a looming confrontation among the major world powers, would be interested in finding a way to avert it. You would think that with U.S. forces stretched thin in so many places, notably in Iraq and Afghanistan, such an American diplomat would not seek to trigger violence in a region that, if not entirely quiet, at least has not been sufficiently unstable as to require the deployment of additional American forces. You would think that with America engaged in a global struggle with jihad terrorism, any competent diplomat would want to make extra sure the U.S. took no action that would strengthen terrorist and organized crime elements.
If that was what you thought, then meet former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke.
Writing in the Washington Post, Ambassador Holbrooke as much as says that an Albanian Muslim unilateral declaration of independence will lead to renewed violence in the Balkans not just in Kosovo but possibly spilling over into Bosnia. (Anyone remember Bosnia?) Yet, applauding such a declaration as long overdue, his answer is to beef up the American and NATO presence in advance of the violence his recommended course would in fact trigger.
Perhaps even worse, Ambassador Holbrooke himself describes as a train wreck the inevitable confrontation U.S. recognition of an illegal and forcible attempt to separate the province from Serbia would provoke with Russia. (In a strange inversion of the truth, Ambassador Holbrooke blames Russia for the collision that would occur because Moscow refuses to go along with an action that violates every accepted principle of the international system not his friends at the State Department for insisting on it.) Meanwhile, Serbias reaction to any illegal and forcible attempt to grab any of its territory should not lightly be dismissed. No one should have any doubt that we will annul any unilateral act, and treat unilateral independence as a null, void and non-binding phenomenon, said Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, after once again offering a deaf Albanian delegation the widest autonomy enjoyed by any ethnic or religious minority anywhere in the world; but, he said, Serbia will not let an inch of its territory be taken away.
It remains to be seen if the Bush Administration will proceed with eyes wide shut down the path Ambassador Holbrooke has marked. (And one cant help asking: Whats he doing calling the shots for the Bush Administration, anyway?) But if they do, they cant say they werent warned.
James George Jatras
Director, American Council for Kosovo