Duck! and Gather


Posted on: February 19, 2008

Another current story of interest to me is the Kosovo declaration of independence last Sunday, and the world response to it. I suppose it interests me for the same reason I am writing to you in English. In other words, it’s what I know.

What I mean is that my “ethnicity”, if I had one, which I don’t feel, would be Serb on my father’s side, and Greek on my mother’s. I don’t count my Canadian birth and upbringing as bearing “ethnic” significance since Canada is the same glorious ethnic polyglot mish-mash void that is America. Further, I am a citizen of Greece (I became one a couple of years ago because we own some land over there) so I’m kind of up on the region.

This is why I am quite interested in Kosovo, but less interested in Palestine, North Ossetia, Taiwan, Quebec, or any of the other ethnically-defined enclaves around the world.

Where do I stand on the happenings in Kosovo this week? In short, I wish I had some free cash to throw into gold (even with it trading over $900). When I find myself agreeing with the Russians, Chinese, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Romanians on this one (i.e. this is a Pandora’s box for the U.S. and the EU), I know it’s time to buy gold (the price of which serves as a barometer of social fear).

Basically, I would like to see the world follow America’s lead on ethnicity and do away with the bloody concept altogether. Let’s define ourselves first and foremost as humans, and do away with false rigid divisions of race, gender, ethnicity, etc. Sure, these are real differences that exist among us humans. But IMHO, these differences shouldn’t serve as bases for politically or commercially dividing us.

That is how we live in America. Ethno-centrism is dead. And, as far as I remember, save for Quebec, the same goes for Canada. It’s a wonderful way to live. No ethnic baggage to lug around.

Of course, pretty much the rest of the world outside of the U.S. and Canada (and maybe Australia and a few others) does in fact define itself ethnically. Just look at the 27 members of the EU. Same currency. But among the various countries of the EU, there are different ethnic cultures — cultures defined by language, food, history, myth, personality, heroes, sports, etc.. These different cultures define the different nations. This is true for all EU nations, including the ones that rushed to recognize Kosovo: UK, France, Germany, and Italy.

The main difference between those four, and the small-fry EU countries who oppose Kosovo independence (Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania) is that four are “big guys” who run the EU show and have no fear that their own ethnic minorities will get uppity, whereas the small-fry do have this fear.

As for the rest of the EU (Finland, Netherlands, etc, etc.), they’re keeping their heads down waiting to see how it all plays out.

What I find most comical about it all is the childish hypocrisy. Sure, the ethnic Albanian Kosovars represent 90% of the population, and sure, they have a long history of subjugation by the ethnic Serbs who used to “own” Kosovo until last Sunday. And sure, my sentiments go with these Albanian Kosovars with respect to their desire to throw off a regime categorically prejudiced against them.

Yes, I am aware of the Serb arguments about the Albanian latecomers, their high birth rate, the Muslim “terrorism” of the KLA, and so on. But those thoughts don’t move me.

What does interest me is the insistence by the EU leaders and the U.S. that Kosovo is unique in the world. This is wishful thinking. The world is full of ethnically-defined enclaves lying within the borders of a nation defined by a different ethnicity, where that minority enclave has been, to one degree or another, subjugated by the majority. This is not merely the world as it is today, but the world as it has been throughout most of recorded history. The EU and U.S. calling Kosovo “unique” is one of those “doth protest too loud” claims that lets you know they are trying to hide something.

A parallel dynamic happened with the Iraq war in 2003. The U.S. was determined to start that war, and with the support only of the U.K. and some half-hearted support from a handful of others, went ahead and started that war by itself. Five years later, look at where the U.S. and the world is on that score.

Kosovo is to diplomacy what Iraq was to war. Iraq was a “pre-emptive” “cowboy taking the law into his own hands” war. Recognition of Kosovo by the EU leaders and the U.S. is “pre-emptive” “cowboy taking the law into his own hands” diplomacy.

The Iraq war was not about WMDs (even though Sadam had tried), but really about oil (Iraq is top-5 in the world for oil reserves), “military-industrial complex” profits (see, e.g., Haliburton, Black Water, Carlyle Group, etc.), and Israel (read about the political power of AIPAC). (Sidebar: Boy, it really feels good in 2008 to say what we really think. Save for the Israel angle, the above is what I thought back in 2003, but didn’t write about, cause, you know, the political climate was a tad chilly in 2003.)

In the same way, the recognition of Kosovo is not about the emancipation of a subjugated group (even though the Kosovars were exactly that), but really about some “interested plan” of the EU and the U.S.

But what interested plan? This is where I’m stumped. Serbs will claim it’s because the US wants military bases in Kosovo. That seems dubious to me because I don’t think the US is short for countries in the region willing to give us military bases.

As for the EU leaders, I cannot believe they are so “stupid” to think that Kosovo is or even will be interpreted around the world as “unique”, or that its “pre-emptive” recognition of Kosovo will make Europe and the world safer. But if those claims are all fluff, what really is the EU after here?

Kosovo is a landlocked patch of Balkan turf the size of Connecticut. What’s in it for the EU? For the US?

Technically, being a citizen of Greece, I’m actually an EU citizen too. So I’m a citizen (pending) of the US and of the EU. But for the life of me, I have no idea what these Great Powers are thinking here.

As for Obama who came out in support for the recognition, it’s got me thinking a little more about that guy. I still believe he is far and away the best candidate for America. I believe that Clinton or McCain would be a disaster for the country, but that Obama might help preserve the Union.

Yet I’ve read some scathing progressive critiques of Obama — i.e. claiming he’s some sort of Manchurian candidate for big business and/or big government. I’m dubious about those sorts of claims, but when I see him coming out in favor of Kosovo recognition, my dubious-ness drops a couple points.

for the money has gone too far

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