Kosovo Splitting From Serbia with World Cooperation
Kosovo is getting its independence from Serbia to remarkably little fanfare.
Nearly eight years after NATO warplanes intervened in a bitter ethnic conflict between Serbs and rebellious Kosovo Albanians in the former Yugoslavia, the United States and its European allies have agreed to support Kosovo’s permanent secession from Serbia under continuing international supervision, according to senior U.S. and European officials.
The decision is likely to lead, possibly as early as this summer, to the formal creation of a new Connecticut-size country in southeastern Europe with membership in the United Nations and, eventually, its own army, the officials said. But a foreign diplomat posted in the capital would retain authority to fire officials and rescind legislation deemed divisive, while leaving routine matters of government to local control.
Under the plan, NATO troops would continue to patrol the new state to ensure peace and help protect minorities, but would gradually withdraw as Kosovo neared membership in NATO and the European Union.
Putting Kosovo on a path toward eventual full independence is meant to close a chapter of Balkan history marked by war, political upheaval, widespread loss of life and the destruction of billions of dollars’ worth of property.
Fifteen years ago, when then-Yugoslavia was falling apart in a series of ethic civil wars, those of us who opposed American military intervention argued that no significant threat was posed to U.S. vital interests. The caveat was always that, if things got out of hand in Kosovo, we’d have little choice but the jump in to prevent it becoming a regional crisis.
When that did indeed come to pass, the idea that Kosovo’s independence would eventually followed would have seemed incredible. Now it’s buried on A10 of the Post.