In the last few days, both the Serbian and Russian government have seemingly taken a page out of the playbook of Ivan Drago. Its message to Kosovo pretty much amounts to this: We must break you! That’s too bad, because both Russia and Serbia’s statements, as well as their lack of statements, have revealed that history has not changed much. Serbia is still enslaved by ethnic nationalism. Russia is still motivated to make its presence felt on the international scene at any cost. Put these two together, and you have a potent recipe for disaster.
For example, just recently, Russian’s top envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, warned the world that Moscow might have to use “brute military force” to maintain respect for the world scene. Awesome. Is that Russia’s way of not provoking tension and instability in the region? Is that Russia’s way of not trying to intimidate other countries into silence? Interesting display of diplomatic finesse, Russia. But, Russia assures, they are not planning any action for military confrontation. So, if you’re not planning any military confrontation, why are you making both veiled and explicit threats of using force?
The same goes for Serbia. If Serbia is so against the “isolated” violent acts that are occurring in Serbia and in the northern part of Kosovo, then why is it explicitly inflaming the population with ethnic rhetoric? There’s a severe disconnect between word and action. Under the circumstances, both Russia and Serbia’s attempt to minimize their inflammatory and irresponsible remarks fall flat. It’s a bit like America saying they don’t torture, but in the same breath, claim they waterboard only once in a while.
Are Russia and Serbia really kidding anybody? A country cannot simultaneously call for calm and peace when it actively calls for violence and instability. When government officials in high positions act and speak like thugs, is there any surprise that certain segments of the population act like thugs, too? “Isolated” acts of violence? Isolated only in geographical location, but not for lack of trying. Russia and Serbia need to do a much better job in calming its population and reducing tension in the region.
As I have said before, both Russia and Serbia certainly have their right to fight diplomatically against Kosovo’s independence. But they need to do so responsibly. Neither of them have done that.
Vladimir Putin has issued a sharp warning to the West about the consequences of recognising Kosovo’s independence, saying the decision would “come back to knock them on the head”. The comments, made during an informal meeting of leaders from ex-Soviet republics, were the strongest by the Russian leader since last Sunday, when Kosovo made its declaration of independence from Serbia.
They followed statements made earlier by Russia’s envoy to Nato, who warned the alliance against overstepping its mandate in Kosovo and said Moscow might be forced to use “brute military force” to maintain respect on the world scene. President Putin used the meeting of presidents from the Commonwealth of Independent States – a loose, Russian-dominated organisation of former Soviet states – to harshly lambast Western nations that have recognised Kosovo’s independence. Among them are the US, Britain, Germany and France. Those who have recognised Kosovo “are miscalculating what they are doing. In the end, this is a stick with two ends and that other end will come back to knock them on the head some day”, he said.
Moscow has heatedly protested the Kosovo declaration, which has sparked violent protests in Serbia and international disagreement over whether to recognise the fledgling nation. Earlier, Russia’s Nato ambassador, Dmitry Rogozin, said the Russian military might also get involved if all European Union nations recognised Kosovo’s independence without United Nations agreement and if Nato oversteps its authority in Kosovo. He couched his threat, however, assuring that Russia was not currently making plans for a military confrontation. Mr Rogozin’s comments sparked quick reaction from the US State Department, which urged Russia to repudiate them. The US ambassador to Nato said Washington was “very disappointed” by Russia’s hostility over Kosovo and Nicholas Burns, the State Department’s third-ranking official, called Rogozin’s statement “highly irresponsible”.
Quoted article was published by the Associated Press and can be found here.