In the fortnight I have been away a full-blown war has virtually started up and the Serbs have virtually expelled all the Albanians from Kosovo. The speed of the ethnic cleansing has shocked the world. That this was a calculated move on the part of Milosovic is undeniable - he calculated the NATO response and looked at Iraq and saw how far NATO was prepared to go. So far, though, popular opinion in the West is behind NATO (even traditionally anti-NATO left-wing parties in Norway are in support!) and the daily bombing continues. And for the first time there is now serious talk of sending ground forces into Kosovo in spite of earlier denials. In addition, Albania itself has now openly invited NATO troops into parts of its country to assist in the humaniarian relief of the tens of thousands of refugees which, like those in Macedonia and Bosnia, could be used in an offensive capacity in the future.
In my first article I said that if the Serbs ceased their aggressive tactics against the Albanian population she would probably not lose Kosovo Province. In the light of what has happened I would think that independence for Kosovo is a strong possibility now. Indeed, I would not be surprised if pro-Western Monte Negro declared independence from rump Yugoslavia once Milosovic's grip on power has been weakened. This would fulfil the revelation we received which said that Yugoslavia would cease to be a nation. It is interesting that Milosovic, who probably calculated the Monte Negran mind, placed vital military installations in the Monte Negran capital, Podgorica (the former Titograd) and in other build up areas, in the hope that NATO would be forced to bomb these and inflict civilian casualties onMonte Negrans, thus turning public opinion against NATO. He has ever tried to oust the moderate Monte Negran President and install a puppet ruler obedient to himself. I suspect the map will look something like this after the war is over:
In order to avoid conflict with Russia and rebuild the now seriously damaged NATO-Russian relationship I suspect that Kosovo will remain "technically" Serbian under UN military protection but in fact be a de facto independent nation. Already the Russians and NATO leaders are discussing how Kosovo will be in peacetime. It is likely that the Serbs within Kosovo will press for their own "Republika Srpska" (Serbian Republic) as obtains in Bosnia. Possible complications might be an influx of Serbs into the territory paralleling the German settlement of the former Polish lands in the Wartheland (Posen) in the last world war. However, with so much destruction already in Kosovo it may well only be able to sustain a skeleton population for some time.
So, we are predicting an "independent" Kosovo along the lines suggested above and likely an independent Monte Negro and the end of the Yugoslav Federation. Whether Milosovic goes is another question - I think we are going to see lots more dictators like Hussein and Milosovic holding on to power inspite of military defeat. These days wars are never brought to a final conclusion as they were in the times before 1945 all of which I think is a shadow if the great lawlessness that is going to occur generally in the future. The signs are not good.
We do not forsee peace coming to the Balkans for the forseeable future. Bulgaria and Romania are unstable economically and their leaders may seek diversions in the future. The Macedonia problem is not resolved, this being a territory historically claimed by both Serbia and Bulgaria. The best we can hope for is a "dying down" againof the thousand-years war that has bewitched this part of Europe for so long. The stability of the region will likely depend on a UN/NATO presence in several countries. Whether NATO expands or not to include nations such as Romania and Bulgaria, and possibly Slovenia and Croatia, remains to be seen. It really depends how the EU and European NATO overlap and finally combine as we believe they will, and how Russia will respond to NATO encroachments into former Soviet satellite territories. NATO has now swallowed up Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary - all Catholic countries - with only one Catholic country left: Slovakia. The rest belongs to Eastern Orthodoxy which Russia will want to claim as her own. I forsee a possible extending of NATO and a new Eastern Orthodox ALliance, with territories like Bosnia and Kosovo being administered jointly. But this is just a speculation.
Laget: 12. april, 1999
Oppdatert: 12. april, 1999
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