The Macedonian Tendency: Putin: Seize the Opportunity With Nato on Kosovo

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Putin: Seize the Opportunity With Nato on Kosovo


I have never met Janusz Bugajski or Edward P. Joseph so it maybe that they are good guys who are sympathetic to Macedonians on the "Macedonian Name Issue". However, since their names have never been associated with condemnation the Greek repression of it's ethnic Macedonian minority, I doubt it.

Hey, Janusz and Ed, if I am wrong and you are really devotees of
Macedonian cooking , especially polneti piperki and zelnic ... my apologies.


November 6, 2007
David Edenden
To: President Putin

The authors of the article below, in the Washington Post, do not wish Russia well. I have provided a point by point discussion their proposal on Kosovo with special consideration on American policy towards Russia. In summary, my position is that ... it is better to defeat Nato in Kosovo than to fight Nato at the gates of Moscow!

 Seize the Opportunity with Russia on Kosovo
By Janusz Bugajski and Edward P. Joseph
Special to's Think Tank Town
Wednesday, October 24, 2007; 12:00 AM

Janusz Bugajski

They tried to put a good face on it, but the truth is that Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly humiliated Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates during their recent meeting in Moscow. Before even hearing the Administration's latest pitch on missile defense, Putin heaped scorn, even raising serious new objections.
Vladimir, stand firm, stand tall! Janusz Bugajski and Edward P. Joseph are vampires. They want to suck blood of Russia and make it seem as normal as ordering a "big Mac, fries and coke" at McDonald's.

You are right to assume that this missile policy, which was done without consultation with Europe, is aimed at Russia, not Iran.
Even conservatives, such as Pat Buchanan, are appalled at the US foreign policy of walking across the street to spit on Russian national interests.
Edward P. Joseph

Whatever one thinks of missile defense, the dressing down of Rice and Gates marks a new low in U.S.-Russian relations. Appeals to shared values-- and those aimed at shared interests -- are falling on deaf Russian ears.
Vladimir, I understand you born at night ... but not last night. Good for you. The US appeal to shared values with Russia is a fraud that has tricked with some US pundits.

You have to point out to the western journalists that all the US "kissy kissy" public relations propaganda regarding Russia cannot mask the US policy of impoverishing Russia by pressuring European governments to boycott further Russian gas purchases.

That's a fact!
It is now clear that getting Russia's attention on the Iranian threat and a host of other issues will require action, not talk.
It is unmistakably clear that there are forces at work in the US to isolate and cripple Russia. Most Americans do not want to pick a fight with Russia because ... you know ... so many enemies, so little time.

Next time the US asks for Russian help on Iran, North Korea or "The War on Terror" sit down with them over dinner (serve some beef Stoganoff, with nice wine and vodka to chase it down) and calmly discuss the reform of the European security framework as a prerequisite for further cooperation.

Have a plan. My plan: abolish Nato as a cold war relic; establish a real EU army; beef up the OSCE.

Its a plan have yours ready!
Fortunately, Putin has created an ideal opportunity for Washington to score a victory and re-orient Moscow toward cooperation. The opportunity is Kosovo.
Unfortunately following Janusz and Ed advice is like having a barbecue in California when the Santa Ana Winds are blowing.

But our friends and Janusz and Ed live in a virtual world that is ruled by the zero sum game. If Russia loses, Nato wins. That is why they are for the independence of Kosovo and not Republic Srpska or even Darfur.

There is no other reason.
President Putin has seized the dispute over Kosovo's final status as one more means of reasserting Russia's global authority.
Janusz and Ed's zero sum game works this way: Russia (or China or India) strong, the US weak. Can't be "the sole remaining world's superpower" and push the world around, if others are also strong and do not want to be pushed around. There's the rub.
But he has overplayed his hand, snubbing not only the U.S., but the UN, whose Secretary General has endorsed a compromise plan for supervised independence of the former Serbian province, along with near-autonomy for Kosovo's Serbian minority.
Vladimir, in this poker game, you have three aces face up ... oil, gas and "the bomb". Threaten to use all three. Don't let the US bluff you. Their pot has been blown on another game (Iraq).

Janusz and Ed have no interest
in the hurt feeling of Ban Ki Moon or in the UN . Their policy on Kosovo independence is a precedent for the independence of Chechnya (and why not Tartarstan) as well as Tibet and Taiwan (and why not Xinjiang - Chinese Turkestan).

There is no other reason!
So far, Putin has exploited perennial European divisions over the Balkans that put strong U.S. allies such as Britain and France against those European capitals who are either sympathetic to the Serb position or worried about a messy situation that would ensue without a UN blessing for independence.

Britain may not that upset if there is a vote for independence in Scotland (cheap bastards), but Spain would be upset to lose Catalonia and the Basque country and Cyprus would have to abandon any hope of reunification.

They are right to worry, because Kosovo does set a precedent. Those who argue otherwise are lying ... plain and simple.
But these concerns pale next to the threat that the Russian challenge poses not only for Kosovo, but for the overall Western strategy to calm the still-troublesome region. Beyond asserting Russia's voice on behalf of its client, Putin is also intent on transforming Serbia into a bulwark against European Union and NATO enlargement. Indeed, the obedient Serbian prime minister now advocates a "third way" between West and East and scorns the need for Belgrade to join NATO, raising the prospect of a fundamental reorientation away from Euro-Atlantic integration.
The overall Nato strategy is to diminish Russia ... period. Nato views the independence of Kosovo as its weapon. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica is all talk and no action. If he wants to preserve the unity of Serbia he should mend fences with Macedonia, improve relations with Bulgaria and live and live with Montenegro.

The disunity of the
Slavic Orthodox Christians in the Balkans is like little piglets trying to get the best teat of the mother pig, in this case ... the US (to its advantage).

Unity of the Slavic Orthodox Christians in the Balkans: good for Russia, bad for Nato. Visit Ohrid, birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet and take Solzhenitsyn with you to meet with the presidents of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro. Bring lots of vodka and ask "can't we all just get along".

Janusz Bugajski and Edward P. Joseph will hate it, which means it will be good for Russia!
 Belgrade's position has severe consequences for Europe since its grand strategy is for all the former Yugoslav states to narrow their differences through accession to the EU and NATO.
Before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the grand Nato strategy was to keep Russia out, to keep the US in and to keep Germany divided.

The Nato strategy now is still to keep Russia out (and poor), to keep the US in and to destabilize the the Balkans and former Soviet allies so that their economies are in disarray so that US business interests can purchase companies and resources for pennies on th dollar.

See the Ukraine and Georgia and Macedonia.
But thus far not one former Yugoslav state which suffered major conflict has entered either organization.
Blame the EU for making these former Yugoslav states jump through hoops like trained dogs. This is the de Gaulle strategy regarding the admission of The UK to the EU. The process of joining the EU is humiliating and degrading.

We have EU political weasels lecturing the Balkans about human rights and all the while they ignore the rights of Macedonians of Greece and Kurds of Turkey. Pathetic!

The Nato politicians want to humiliate Russia. Don't let them.
And the most fractious of all, Bosnia, has had serious setbacks over the past year, with its Serbian and Muslim leaders engaging in incendiary rhetoric not seen since the end of the war in part because of the Kosovo issue.
In Kosovo, 95 percent of the people are ethnic Albania and want the right to form their own country According to Nato, the territorial integrity of Serbia is not sacrosanct and Kosovo can be ripped from it.

In Republica Srpska, 95 percent of the people are ethnic Serbs and want the right to join Serbia. According to Nato, however, the territorial integrity of Bosnia is sacrosanct.

Nato's push for the independence of Kosovo is destabilizing Bosnia, not to mention Macedonia. Our friends, Janusz and Ed's know this, yet continue to push it for the national interest of the US ... which is a low down dirty rotten shame.
Three key errors by the Administration have permitted Kosovo to fester to Russia's advantage.

Remember Vladimir, the zero sum game at play.
First, Washington failed to see how Russian objectives were evolving under Putin. Like many allies in Europe, Washington believed Moscow would bark its objections over plans to grant Kosovo independence, but incorrectly assumed that Russia, as in years past, would eventually fall into line with a few face-saving concessions.

Translation: The US did not realize that Putin was born with balls and was not stinking drunk most of the time like the previous Russian president. He not willing to sell the family silverware for a few bottles of vodka. Much harder to deal with ... don't you know.
Second, the White House repeated the core mistake of the early 1990s, when the Yugoslav crisis threatened to tear apart trans-Atlantic relations. It allowed disputes in Europe to postpone concerted action.

Hey boys, Janusz and Ed, concerted action requires common values. Look at Bosnia and then look at Kosovo and then give Macedonia a peak. What are the common values?

a. Territorial Integrity? (Serbia - No) (Bosnia -Yes) Kosovo (Yes)
b. Respect for people's will? (Serbia - No) (Bosnia -No) Kosovo (Yes)
c. Respect for human rights? (Greece - No ... for ethnic Macedonians)
Instead of seizing on a broad consensus among the major powers that the status quo in Kosovo had to change, and move swiftly toward supervised independence on the basis of the UN plan, persistent delays have actually deepened Europe's divisions. Each postponement signaled to Belgrade and to Moscow that the West lacked resolve, and this has enhanced Russia's assertiveness. As a result, the inevitable reckoning over Kosovo has become even more complex and conflictive.
Every taxicab driver, every hairdresser and every other member of the chattering classes in the Balkans knows that Kosovo complex. It is joined at the hip with Macedonia and has a long umbilical cord to Bosnia. It is not easy.

It would be helpful if Nato had a consensus based on human rights promotion, not national interest. Janusz and Ed, if Nato had not insisted on trying to force the Republic of Macedonia to change its name, and the Macedonians in Greece to accept cultural genocide, the Serbs of Kosovo maybe more trusting of Nato guarantees of "near-autonomy.

Nato didn't, so the Serb won't.

Third, the Administration continues to participate in utterly fruitless diplomacy. As is clear to all informed observers, there is zero possibility of a negotiated solution between Kosovo's independence-demanding Albanians (who comprise over 90 percent of the population) and Serbia (which continues to claim a territory over which it lost control eight years ago following a NATO intervention provoked by the mass expulsion of Albanians.) Another "deadline" looms, but it is likely that Russia will demand yet another extension for more "negotiations."

We can all agree that there is zero possibility that the Serbs will sign on to an agreement for Kosovo independence.

Hey Janusz and Ed, I just had a great idea. Remember the "near-autonomy" that Nato promised the Serbs in Kosovo if they just would agree to stay in Kosovo, why not promise "near-autonomy" to the Albanians in Kosovo if they would agree to stay in Serbia. I think they will agree, especially if you tell the Albanians facts of life and point to Cyprus as an example of a possible future.

How about that, I think I just solved the f***ing problem.
After the recent humiliation in Moscow, it is crucial for Washington to take the lead on Kosovo, galvanized by the understanding that what happens in the Balkans matters not only for the people of that region, but also for the West's relationship with Russia.

The US government does not have the intellectual, political or financial resources to lead Europe on the Kosovo issue. The US government cannot get Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq to return President Bush's phone calls.

Nato does not have the skill to push unilateral independence for Kosovo without the Balkans exploding from Bosnia (Republic Srpska) to Macedonia. That is a fact.
There are allies in Europe who grasp that the last chance to deal with Kosovo is rapidly approaching. And many allies also realize that Europe's energy dependence on Russia makes it more important to show mettle and unity on threats to core European security interests.

There are allies in Europe that think that Americans should not play with matches in a dry tinderbox area.

, our friends Janusz and Ed want to test of the mettle of the Europeans as well as the mettle of Russia. If Russia falters and they succeed, Nato will come calling with demands on Russia itself.

This is where the rubber hits the road. Tell the Europeans, calmly and in private, that if the EU recognizes an independent Kosovo in the winter, then they will freeze in the dark! Tell the Americans, over a Texas barbecue, not one drop of Russian oil will leave Russian soil and the Americans will have to learn to used to gas at $5.00 a gallon.

Vladimir, stand firm, stand tall!
With American leadership the EU can be mobilized into concerted action as witnessed during the NATO interventions that ended the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Send Donald Rumsfled, as a special emissary, he's free, to mobilize old and new Europe. That will really work! His motto: first Kosovo then Chechnya, then Tartarstan!
At the same time, Washington must work closely with allies to develop follow-on plans for the enhanced EU and NATO missions in the new state.

Get Paul Wolfowitz, he's free and good at developing follow-on plans.
Dealing conclusively with Kosovo is no longer simply about successful U.S.-European involvement in the Balkans. It is now about our relationship with Russia and whether Moscow acquires veto rights over Euro-Atlantic security. Vladimir Putin has created an opportunity to show the world that shared values still prevail across the Atlantic and across Europe. It's time to seize it.
Kosovo has zero to do with US national interests or Euro-Atlantic security. Its all about using Nato as a dagger against Russia.

Russia has shared values and interests with Slavic Orthodox Christians in the Balkans. This should be respected.

Yeah! You heard me right the first time!

It is natural and proper for Russia to have veto rights over actions that threaten its interests and those of its Slavic Orthodox Christian kin in the Balkans.

Deal with it.
Janusz Bugajski is Director of the New European Democracies Project at CSIS in Washington. Edward Joseph is visiting scholar and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Both these guys are vampires and both are evil. They may not be the devil, but they are agents of the devil.

No comments:

Post a Comment