Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Country Alert

Yes, Kosovo: you probably already know about it. If you don't, shame on you.

Kosovo is shamelessly pro-western, and is still grateful to NATO for its intervention in stopping Serbian ethnic cleansing of the area in the 1990's. The Serbs still hold the territory dear, and are not yet willing to recognize that it's gone. Russia is willing to back up the Serbian claim, and has been blasting the EU and US for supporting Kosovoan independence. Kosovo seems doomed to be part of the Russia v. West struggle that is arising in Eastern Europe (though I'm not sure for entirely what reason).

Kosovo is likely to turn to NATO and the EU for support; I predict they will be petitioning for membership as soon as possible. NATO seems to be looking to mop up as much of Eastern Europe as possible, giving speedy membership action plans to many Eastern European states. Seven states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovenia) joined NATO in 2004, 3 more should be joining this April (Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia), and Georgia, Ukraine, and Montenegro are on track to be inducted in a few years. Kosovo is likely to go the way of Albania in its own time, but ethnic Albanian love for the EU, the US, and the West as a whole is likely to keep NATO enthusiastic about their rapid inclusion.

Serbia's reluctance to let Kosovo go may make the region unstable (and if not, it will certainly remain hostile), but NATO peacekeeping troops and EU advisers should keep the Serbians from doing anything too rash. Inclusion into NATO means (in article V) that an attack on Kosovo would constitute an attack on every member nation of NATO; such inclusion is then likely to keep Kosovo safe from any Serbian attacks, but unfortunately, it may mean that, far in the future, Serbia remains the only Balkan state not in the alliance.

For now, good luck to the Kosovoans. I hope their adventures in self-government turn out well.