Independence to Kosovo: A Just Result
Given this historical background, the subsequent breaking up of Yugoslavia into smaller states is in the interest of its inhabitants as well as the mediating international community. We have to understand that autonomy to smaller geo-political entities divided on lines of ethnicity is the only viable solution for a region in perpetual turmoil for most of its modern history. The most recent episode in this political rearrangement is the independence of Kosovo from Serbia. This result is a welcome relief for all peace loving nations, including the United States. The Balkans, which had earlier been a theatre for Cold War animosities between the United States and the USSR, has finally seen peace and harmony, thanks mainly to the persistent and brave efforts of the United States government as well as the NATO. The numerous ethnic groups that inhabit this resourceful landscape, including the Slavs, Croats, Serbs, Albanians, Bosnians, Slovenes, etc, can finally look forward to a period of peace and prosperity, thanks to the justified intervention by the NATO. The independence to Kosovo, which was achieved recently, is in the long term interests of both Kosovo as well as Serbia. A noteworthy aspect of the Kosovo conflict is the demonstration of what genuine peace loving nations such as United States can do. Under leadership from Washington D.C. 19 countries joined hands and stood shoulder to shoulder through tough and trying moments in recent world history. And the result is for all to see: “an end to the killing and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. The ethnic Albanians of Kosovo, the underdog heroes of this saga, are streaming home to a safe and secure environment” (Beeman, 1999).
Benefits for the United States and the rest of the World:
Credit has to be given to the United States for bringing Slobodan Milosevic to trial in the international court in Hague. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Milosevic rose to power in the erstwhile Yugoslavia. Following on the legacy of Dictator Tito, he carried out many despicable atrocities against his own countrymen. The situation called for military and judicial intervention, both of which were provided by the American leadership. For example,
“The history of the conflict over Kosovo is well known. For eleven weeks, NATO war planes continually degraded Serbia’s ability to wage war and conduct ethnic cleansing. In the last weeks of the war, a resurgent Kosovo Liberation Army (now flush with angry recruits from refugee camps) waged limited but important ground offensives in south-west Kosovo which finally forced Yugoslav troops from their protective warrens. Fully exposed to NATO air power, Serbian amour and troops suffered heavy losses. With Yugoslav army morale in tatters, NATO unified, and the KLA’s strength growing daily, Milosevic finally realized his situation was untenable”. (Beeman, 1999)
The role of the United States and NATO in this sustained effort to preserve basic human rights of the people of the Balkans cannot be overstated. It is also an accomplishment that NATO achieved its goals with no allied casualties and minimal civilian casualties. This is “an astounding feat, a testament to the use of high-tech warfare, and a warning to those considering a future course of action similar to Milosevic’s” (The Washington Times, 1998). As the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair noted, “NATO’s success in Kosovo will be the biggest deterrent to tyrants the world over and the biggest rallying cry for democracy” (The Washington Times, 1998). It is also a favorable result for American interests, as American leaders can focus their efforts on bringing peace and prosperity to the rest of the world. The result is a setback for Russian designs for the region. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Russia had pursued a policy of dominating “near abroad” nations. While the Balkans falls in this zone, the assertive intervention by NATO had reinforced the standing of the United States as the only superpower in the world, thus weakening Russian influence in the region. In the end, Russia paid for its opportunistic diplomatic maneuvers.
Almond, Mark. “Balkanized: The Wonder Is Not That Serbia Attacked Kosovo, but That It Waited So Long.” National Review 20 Apr. 1998: 32+.
“The Ancient History of Kosovo Is Irrelevant to Today’s Crisis.” The Washington Times 30 Aug. 1998: 2..
Beeman, Josiah., “THE UNITED STATES, NATO and KOSOVO.” New Zealand International Review 24.5 (1999): 6.
Doder, Dusko. “Yugoslavia: New War, Old Hatreds.” Foreign Policy Summer 1993: 3+.
Miller, Nick. “Yugoslavia: A History of Its Demise.” The Historian 63.4 (2001): 875..
Velebit, Vladimir. “Kosovo: A Case of Ethnic Change of Population.” East European Quarterly 33.2 (1999): 177..