I have refrained from commenting about the Georgia situation because so often the first draft of history (the media’s) is bunk.
It is curious though to see all sides engaging in rank hypocrisy and the understandable extent to which both sides are using the Balkans and its rhetoric in this Caucasian crisis.
The Russians are accusing the Georgians of committing “genocide” in South Ossetia. Whilst this is obviously rubbish it is a testament to how degraded the word has become thanks to its abuse in the Balkans. The Georgians counter that they are being “Ethnically Cleansed” from South Ossetia [see this example BBC article for uses of both].
The Russians are using the rhetoric the West used in Kosovo to justify its actions in Georgia. The West, caught as it is in a trap of its own making, desperately rejects the Kosovo analogies with Georgia, repeating the “unique case” plea, which is nonsense. There is outrage that Russia is redrawing borderers in Europe, some reporting for the first time since Stalin and Hitler, yet this is precisely what happened in Kosovo.
So what is being done to Georgia is as unjust and illegal as what happened in Kosovo, and both situations stink.
Here are few things I believe:
- The Russians have given up on Kosovo (and Serbia). There is no way they can offer even token support for Kosovo after their actions in Georgia and their recognition of the secessionists.
- Russia is turning its attention away from the Balkans to its periphery (Baltics, Caucasus, the *stans and Ukraine) and it is using the Kosovo precedent to paralyse the West.
- This new instability and sudden legitimacy for breakaway regions could ignite the Balkans if Republika Srpska decided to secede from Bosnia and join Serbia or Herzegovina decided to join Croatia.
let me leave you with an example of the sort of rubbish being touted in the papers:
“Kosovo is a unique case and cannot be compared to any other in the world,” Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu told Kosovo TV. “The status of Kosovo was solved through international mediation.”
Serbia lost control over Kosovo in 1999 after it launched a military campaign in the province against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian separatists. Slobodan Milosevic, president at the time, was forced to pull out of Kosovo after NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days in retaliation for its brutality to civilians in Kosovo.
The new pro-Western Serbian leadership, which came in after Milosevic was ousted in 2000, has refrained from using force in Kosovo but has refused to give up its claim on the territory it considers the cradle of its religion and statehood.”
The Kosovo situation is far from unique, it is commonplace. If 78 days of bombing is international mediation then what is gun-boat diplomacy? Serbia was not bombed because of brutality but because of alleged brutality. The bombing was based on lies and gross exaggerations. There were no more mass murders of civilians s alleged in the causus belli than there were WMDs in Iraq. Since 2000 Serbia has had a fully democratic and liberal regime with not one single act of aggression. During that same period the government and authorities in Kosovo have failed to prevent the ethnic cleansing of up to 200,000 Serbs, Roma and Gorani from Kosovo. So who has refrained from violence then?