Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Balkan double standard

Milorad Dodik, the prime minister of the autonomous Serb Republic within Bosnia-Herzegovina suggested on Tuesday that the Serbs wanted the right to succeed from the Bosnian federation. He wanted this right to be included in the constitution currently being written for Bosnia.

But not so fast said Miroslav Lajcak, the Slovak diplomat overseeing the implementation of the peace accords that ended the 1992-95 war between Bosnia's three main ethnic groups, and created the federal state that exists today.

"Bosnia-Herzegovina is an internationally recognized state, its territorial integrity is guaranteed by the Dayton peace agreement and its existence cannot be questioned,” Lajack said.

So internationally recognized states cannot be carved up – well except for Serbia. Members of the international community (the European Union, NATO and the United States) are actively working to split the province of Kosovo from the, to use Lajack’s words “internationally recognized” state of Serbia.

Again, the question that has yet to be answered is why its okay to dismember Serbia, yet wrong to let ethnic groups in any number of other states declare their independence?

The Guardian (UK) gave a potential answer recently in a commentary titled “It's time to end Serb-bashing.” The author, while quite clearly having a pro-Serbian point of view, puts forward the idea that as the Soviet Union and its sphere of influence dissolved in the early 1990s, the West was uncomfortable with an independent-minded Yugoslavia that resisted globalization. (Its important to remember that Yugoslavia, while socialist, pulled away from the Soviet Union and maintained itself outside of both their and the West’s circles of influence.) So, according to the author, the West set out to undermine it.

Seen in that light, the current situation in Serbia is the latest step in this process. Again, the author definitely comes at the subject with a strong point-of-view. But this doesn’t necessarily mean he is wrong. There has to be some explanation (even if its not shared with us in the public), for the actions by the West over Kosovo, which go against the standards set down in international law and have no regard for the future problems they can cause.
Sphere: Related Content

No comments: