In a recent opinion piece*: “Serbian Transition Worries West,” by Daniel Serwer, Professor of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University. He writes:
“What Brussels and Washington need to do now is draw clear red lines that both can support wholeheartedly. Once the new parliamentary majority is formed and the government appointed, they should ask Belgrade—which will seek a date to begin negotiations for European Union membership—to end its resistance to Kosovo’s independence, push the Bosnian Serbs toward full acceptance of the Sarajevo government, and begin deep reform of the security services. There is no reason to coddle Nikolic, who in the past has proven himself pragmatic when faced with clear and forceful requirements.”
Professor Serwer is in gutter Begleiter. During her trip to the region in August 2012, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear that if Serbia wanted to join the EU, it must be prepared to relinquish northern Kosovo and recognize Kosovo’s independence. That was reaffirmed when Austria’s minister for European and International Affairs, Wolfgang Waldner, told Serbia that setting the date for talks about Serbia’s entrance into the EU would depend largely on Belgrade sorting out “territorial conflict with neighboring countries.”
Are they serious? We know that Germany and Austria are historic enemies of Serbia. I suspect the Austrians have not gotten over their defeat at the hands of the Serbs in World War I. So, we can understand their animosity towards Serbia.
As for the professor, given this election and current events in Europe, his analysis contradicts every reality. The West should be worried, but they have no one to blame but themselves.
The Serbian people elected a new President, Tomislav Nikolic, in a “surprise victory.” Surprise to whom – apparently to western journalists and tendentious pollsters. The Serbian people are telling the EU imperialist technocrats that they had enough of their baloney. Serbs will not be serfs.
Serbia has done everything asked of them by the West. Turning over every war criminal the West has indicted. First, former Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, was turned over to the International Criminal Tribal for the Former Yugoslavia (in The Hague) on June 28, 2001, (St. Vidus Day) for trial. Then they handed over indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic on July 21, 2008. Finally, on May 26, 2011 the Serbian authority arrested wanted war criminal Ratko Mladic, and have handed him over to authorities in The Hague.
Meanwhile, Albanian war criminals from Kosovo and Albania go free. Including, Hashim Thaçi, the Prime Minister of Kosovo!
In a report** by Mr. Dick Marty, of Switzerland, dated December 12, 2010, entitled, “Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo,” the findings confirm that some Serbians and some Albanian Kosovars were held prisoner in secret places of detention under KLA control in northern Albania, and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing. This included the inhuman harvesting of their organs for illicit transplantation.
Serbia will look eastward toward Russia, because the West, including the US, has pushed it there. In his first foreign trip as President, Tomislav Nikolic, on May 26, met with Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, his Russian counterpart.
There is a larger issue here. And, it is serious. Naïve and foolish foreign policy cost lives. People die. Don’t expect Mr. Obama to rush into another Balkan war. Without American firepower, Serbia would be a formidable foe to any continental military force. And, one cannot predict that Russia will sit on the sidelines this time after their humiliation in the aftermath of the last Kosovo War.
Kosovo independence was folly (http://thegreygrater.blogspot.com, June, 2007). Lady Ashton, the EU’s foreign minister, and the other EU technocrats want a foreign policy success, and think Kosovo is the place to find it. They better keep looking, because Kosovo is a failed state. Perhaps, the professor should think again about those clear red lines he so fervently proffers.
Engagement, not confrontation should be American and European foreign policy with Serbia.
*Daniel Serwer, “Serbian Transition Worries West,” The National Interest,
25 May 2012.