Kosovo as example of US political spin machines / News / News agency Inforos
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Kosovo as example of US political spin machines

In a partially recognized state of Kosovo, Washington primarily relies upon radicals

Kosovo as example of US political spin machines

As you know, in the defragmentation and chaos of Yugoslavia at the turn of the 1980s and 90s the key role was initially taken by Germany. Later, other members of the Euro-Atlantic community joined the process either, who had previously viewed the happenings, like the United States, or even tried to stay open-minded and act as peacemakers, like Germany's partners in "core Europe". However, the "platform" was somewhat shared: Germany, as before, took special care of Croatia, while Clinton's democratic administration patronized Bosnian Muslims in a time-tested alliance with Islamist countries and forces.

Initially, Kosovo's "rescue" from "Serbian supremacism" and its takeaway from the jurisdiction of Belgrade was by contrast a visually consolidated project. But further on, interests and preferences became somewhat divided. Europe, especially Germany, is seeking a soft, inconspicuous and unspoken isolation of Kosovo, the normalization of its social and political life, and the sidelining of at least the most nefarious individuals in international legal and ethical moral terms. The United States (and partly England, which has a contentious relationship of interaction and rivalry with the Americans as regards the Kosovo issue) also seems to be declaring its commitment to normalizing and healing the separatist region's moral system. But it's not cut and dried, as the phrase goes.

Just look at the current Kosovo "Prime Minister" Albin Kurti, whose Self Determination party won the parliamentary election last fall by a slim margin. Some experts tended to deem him if not a moderate, then at least nearly moderate technocrat, a new-generation politician divorced from the horrors of the 1990s-2000s and able to reset a dialogue with the Serbs.

Indeed, through the lens of economics, Kurti is verbally ready, for instance, to remove the 100% safeguard customs duty on goods from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, even though in practice this issue has not yet been resolved, creating tension. Put that aside, he is way more a hawk than a dove.

Thus, Self Determination has traditionally positioned itself as a party of non-violent protest action, but in the 1990s, Kurti was spotted among the ranks of the military-terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army. Despite the declared methods, Kurti and his party have always set the most ambitious and vicious purposes. A decade ago, the current "Prime Minister" said Pristina should conduct dialogue not with Belgrade about a compromise, but with Tirane about "reunification" and implementation of the Greater Albania project: "Instead of talking with Tirane about the unification of Kosovo and Albania, our politicians want to negotiate the internal partition of Kosovo." In his opinion, the Serbs should ask forgiveness for the genocide against the Albanian people. After winning the election, Kurti addressed a rally and said the following referring to relations with Serbia: "The dialogue will no longer be conducted in prejudice of Kosovo and it will no longer raise the question of what price Kosovo should pay for being recognized by Serbia. The issue will be Serbia's debt to us." Finally, Kurti is now in a state of medium-tension direct confrontation with "President" Hashim Thaci, whom he accuses of being too flexible towards the Serbs in both territorial and economic matters. Given Thaci's reputation, this is a real attempt to be holier-than-thou.

Needless to specify that Kurti has been under the wardship and probation of American curators since the very beginning of his meaningful party career. Back in 2010, when Self Determination first fought an election, winning 12% of the vote, the party and its leader were outspokenly supported by veteran of the American diplomatic establishment William Walker known for having been an active participant in covert CIA operations in Latin America in the 1980s, and a lobbyist for Albanian interests as head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission in 1998-1999.

At the same time, we should not regard the radicals as the only and key US stake in Kosovo. A striking example is Thaci's recent visit to Washington, where senior officials, including State Secretary Pompeo, expressed unequivocal support for his "peacemaking efforts" in the teeth of Kurti's frenzy. It's about more than an important factor of discord between various parties, departments and pressure groups of the United States in foreign policy in general, in the Balkans and in Kosovo in particular. There is also an equilibrium of checks and balances, along with the world-old divide-and-rule tactics. In the present instance, all of this happens on three levels at a time. The first one is Kosovo's domestic policy, with the star-spangled eggs carefully put in all the baskets.

The second one is Kosovo's relations with Serbia; the Americans are making it clear to Belgrade that it's better to reach an agreement with Kosovo by "moderate" means as soon as possible, while the latter do exist at all. Finally, the third level is Europe's perception of what is happening today. Here, again, the Americans hint that it's better for the Europeans not to poke sticks into spokes of the Serbian-Kosovar settlement, because after it happens sooner or later, Kosovo may find itself at the European Union's doorway in an entirely "indigestible" form.

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