Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov confirmed everyone’s suspicions last week when he said that he regards Kosovo’s ultimatum-like demand to Serbia to recognize its “independence” as having been encouraged by the US. This shouldn’t have surprised anyone since NATO’s War on Yugoslavia was carried out with the tacit objective of carving out a proxy state from where the US can exert its military influence all throughout the Balkans, which it ultimately did with the creation of Camp Bondsteel and Kosovo’s 2008 self-proclaimed “independence”.
Even so, Serbia refused to recognize this blatant violation of international law and was loathe to surrendering its legal claims to the region that it regards as the cradle of its civilization, though that’s begun to change over the past few years since President Vucic started flirting with the idea of “compromising” on this in order to facilitate his country’s entry into the EU.
It’s an open secret in the Balkans that he’d probably “recognize” Kosovo’s “independence” if the NATO-occupied criminal protectorate “swapped” its majority-Serbian-populated northern region for Serbia’s majority-Albanian-populated Presevo Valley, a proposal that picked up speed late last year but was eventually shot down by the entity’s political leaders who have since retained a stubborn position regarding this issue.
One might be inclined to think that this would have been the most “pragmatic” solution for them because they’d be able to expand the geographic scope of the fascist-era project of “Greater Albania” that’s been in the process of revival since 1999 concurrent with getting rid of the Serbian minority within “their” borders that opposes this without having to continue their ethnic cleansing of this demographic. Not only that, but they’d finally receive Serbia’s recognition of this geostrategic fait accompli and could then be “welcomed” into the “community of nations” as a “legitimate” member.
On the other hand, the Serbs of Northern Kosovo can only do so much to oppose the separatist authorities as it is given the international military dictatorship that prevails in the region, so the argument can be made that Pristina has no reason to “compromise” on their removal in “exchange” for the Presevo Valley when it’s actually in a position of strength vis-à-vis its American patron and Washington’s NATO vassals to make unilateral maximalist demands against Belgrade.
For the time being and in spite of some speculated dissent from various “deep state” factions within the Trump Administration, it appears as though the US supports Kosovo’s decision to swat away Vucic’s “compromise” proposal in order to one day obtain the maximalist gain of Belgrade’s “recognition” of the region’s “independence” and possibly even its surrender of the Presevo Valley even if Pristina doesn’t “exchange” it for Northern Kosovo, though there are serious risks inherent with this strategy.
Serbia is in the midst of an ever-escalating domestic political crisis largely provoked by what many patriots suspect to be his impending sellout of Kosovo one way or another irrespective of whether an “exchange” is agreed to or not. This grassroots pressure has the potential to greatly destabilize the country and possibly even lead to regime change in the “worst-case” scenario, the outcome of which would likely be the creation of a government firmly opposed to “recognizing” Kosovo (unless they want to experience the same political fate as Vucic).
It can’t be discounted that any speculative post-Vucic government in Serbia might actually sell out more of Serbia’s interests than he’s suspected of seeking to do, but for now at least, it’s most likely that they’d reverse his political moves in this respect in order to solidify their “legitimacy” if they do indeed succeed in taking power.
Still, they haven’t yet seized power and might never do so, but their disruptive Color Revolution tactics might just put enough bottom-up pressure on the government to get it to reconsider “recognizing” Kosovo under any circumstances in a desperate last-ditch attempt to mollify the protesters, which might actually work if they’re sincere in taking irreversible steps away from that possibility such as if Vucic publicly announced that he’s pulling out of all negotiations with Pristina and indefinitely suspending talks on this issue.
Again, it can’t be guaranteed that he’d do this even though he’s largely delegitimized himself by letting the Albanians humiliate him as much as they already have, but there’s nevertheless a conceivable chance that he might be cajoled into undertaking this course of action if he was convinced that it was necessary in order to remain in power in the face of intensifying resistance to his rule.
Bearing this backdrop in mind, it might even turn out that the “window of opportunity” for Serbia to “smoothly” “recognize” Kosovo has already passed after the populace wised up about this impending plot and took direct action to stop it, thereby making it politically impossible for Vucic to pull off without risking regime change one way or another.
Should that be the case and he chooses not to sacrifice himself for the geostrategic sake of his Western “partners”, then the Kosovo Albanians would be entirely to blame for forcing their maximalist outcome on him and refusing to “compromise” on a territorial “swap”. There might still be a workaround of some sort that could be devised under those circumstances, but its chances of success are low because the Kosovo Albanian leaders have staked all their political “legitimacy” on the maximalist scenario, meaning that only regime change against them might make that back-up plan feasible.
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