Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Name:
Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

26.2.08

Independence for Kosovo: What's the big deal?

In case you didn't notice (and really, who would blame you?), last week Kosovo declared independence. Why do you care? Well, Kosovo, as you may or may not know, was part of Serbia until its declaration, and the Serbs aren't happy about it. Neither are the Serbs' allies, Big Bad Russia (BBR for short). The United States, always keen to poke the Russian bear, recognized Kosovar independence (but God forbid they recognize Taiwanese independence, because we wouldn't want to piss off the country that holds so much of our debt), which made BBR unhappy. So guess what? Another shitty little place in the Balkans is driving the world's superpowers toward war. Anyone remember their history? Yes, Kosovo declared its independence not too far away from where a Serb gunned down the heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, thereby precipitating World War I. Nice to know that cesspool of Europe still can't figure out to live with each other.

Yes, I'm grumpy. I love studying Balkan history, but it's rather depressing, filled with petty people killing each over petty reasons. Serbia, for instance, hates the idea of Kosovo breaking away. Kosovo is almost 90% ethnic Albanian, and Muslim to boot, so Serbia, which is, well, Serbian and Orthodox Christian, shouldn't have a problem with letting it go. Except for one small problem - Kosovo is where, in 1389, the Ottomans destroyed the Serbian army at Kosovo Polje - the "field of blackbirds." As the Serbs can't be bothered to celebrate, say, Stefan Dušan, the Emperor of Serbia in the mid-14th century, who was one of the greatest rulers of his time. No, they have to celebrate a cataclysmic defeat that led to a half-millennium subjugation by the Turks. Kosovo Polje, as you might expect, is smack dab in the middle of the new nation. Boy howdy, are those Serbs pissed that they can't celebrate the annihilation of their army 600 years ago anymore!

I have no problem with celebrating your history, really. I'm a freakin' history major - of course I don't! But might it be time for the Serbs to let it go? I may have written about this before, but when I was in college, I took a class on the Crusades. My professor, an odd little man who wore a bow tie and had immaculately coiffured hair but was nevertheless quite interesting and engaging, told us that the next big battle in the Balkans (this was 1992, maybe, when the wars were just getting ramped up) would be over Kosovo, because of what it meant to the Serbs. Lo and behold, six years later, the battle was over Kosovo. Those people need to grow up and let things go.

But why is BBR squeamish about Kosovo's independence? For that matter, why is China? Well, BBR is Serbia's ally, and the Russians have always seen themselves as kind of the Big Daddy of all the Orthodox Christian states, having "taken over" that mantle when Constantinople fell in 1453. More problematic for the Russians, however, is that they have several grumpy republics in their own country, such as Georgia, who would love to be independent. We can't have that! China, too, has some places that would like not to be China - and I'm not even talking about Tibet! So those two powers are nervous about any country, especially one sort of near to them and sort of strategically important (I don't know how strategically important Kosovo is, but it's more strategically important than, say, Alberta), going its own way. Even Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim country in the world and should therefore welcome a new largely Muslim country into the fold, is upset. Yes, they too have ethnic groups that might be inspired by this move.

Other than that, I haven't found any, you know, good reasons why those countries should block this move. Holding onto "holy ground" where your country suffered a horrible defeat over 600 years ago? Not a good reason. Worried that your ethnic minorities might declare independence? Not a good reason. It might cause BBR and China and Indonesia some embarrassment if some tiny republic breaks away from them, but there doesn't seem to be any real, tangible reason they don't like the thought. I mean, does BBR rely on Chechnya for some kind of economic lifeblood? Maybe it does. If a republic breaking away might actively hurt your country in some way (and no, psychological scars don't count), then I could see it. But nobody has given one yet. There's just been a lot of posturing. I doubt if it will lead to war, but a lot of European politicians didn't think Franz Ferdinand's death would lead to war either, and look how that turned out.

Of course, many people say this will lead to many other groups looking to declare independence. Some of these people resort to violence - the Palestinians and Basques come to mind. Palestine, of course, is a special case - they want land that is actively occupied by a completely different group with whom they are at odds (and, of course, they had their chance for a state back in the 1940s, and they rejected it). The Basques live in an area that is almost completely occupied by Basques, and although I don't condone their violence, I don't get why Spain doesn't let them go. There are tons of separatist movements around the world. Scotland, of course, is a famous one, and why not let them become a independent state? I don't know how that's going, but what benefit is it for Scotland and Wales (why not?) to remain part of the United Kingdom? And, of course, there's the Second Vermont Republic, which wants to return to its independent state status that it had before 1791 (yeah, I bet you didn't know Vermont was independent back then, did you?). Why not? Is Vermont necessary for the continued wonderfulness of the United States? Maybe other states would become independent, but why would they? It seems like it's far more advantageous to stay in the union than not. Texas, California, Alaska, Hawaii - they all have secessionist movements (probably more states, too). I doubt it will ever come to anything, but it's interesting to read about them.

The idea of states breaking up and new ones forming is endlessly fascinating. I'm very curious to see what happens with Kosovo. Will it lead to war? Of course I hope not. I imagine there will be a lot of saber-rattling, but nobody's stupid enough to go to war over this, are they? Well, countries have gone to war for far less! In the meantime, let's all salute the Vermont flag:

Don't you feel patriotic?

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7 Comments:

Blogger Roxy said...

I'm pretty sure that the biggest question on all of our minds is, "Do you think Russia will ever change their name to BBR?"

26/2/08 7:41 PM  
Blogger Roger Green said...

I'm pretty sure that Georgia already IS a separate country (I mean the former SSR, not the state). A better example would be Chechnya, no?

27/2/08 3:33 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

You know they miss having letters stand in for their name, Ms. Roxy! If they started calling themselves BBR, life would be good for the thousands of starving Russians!

You're right, Roger. I try to keep track of all the countries in the world, but Georgia slipped my mind. Just read it as Chechnya, and we're all good.

27/2/08 6:51 AM  
Blogger Roger Green said...

FINAL JEOPARDY! -Friday, December 28, 2007: 2 of the 4 states whose names were those of independent republics before they entered the Union.

Since you've IDed one, can you name the other three?

28/2/08 10:13 AM  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...

Well, Texas, for sure. And California and Hawai'i.

Actually, Vermont was the one I didn't know.

And Scotland and Wales are much more independent now than they were ten years ago: "Great Britain" is looking more like a confederation every year.

29/2/08 2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because like any family member, it's a very hard to see another family breaking up from the family, especially if it's a violent and one sided breakup, not to mention if there're involvement of non family members. Then there're nasty stuff said by your ex-'family members' and the people supporting them, plus the threats (boycots, bans, etc) to diminish your family unless the head of the fammily comply with external demands.


So yes, it's a psychological scar thing. And believe me, a psychological scar is much worse than a physical scar.


While it's correct that some of these spoiled brat regions (Kosovo, Tibet, Taiwan, etc) don't deserve to be paid any attention either for integrity or indepence. the actual unofficial reasons these things happen are... they are actually just playing a stage play, some playing wanting integrity while others playing wanting indepence, when they (both central governments and the separatists, along with their sponsors) are actually in the same side.

That's correct, the entire thing is just a play, that's why some of the details look nonsense (like holding on to an useless region or breaking up from a relatively peaceful rule). Even the mass media is in the play.

It's interesting to see people hurt each other both mentally and physically over due a stage play. People write blogs/protests/etc to attacks, people gone on to a war to attack, etc, when the whole thing is just a play.


The majority of the people of course though don't care on from where they are governed and prefer to stay things the way they are, this seems to be an often forgotten fact. The majority of Kosovo people probably don't care they are independent or not.



As for Indonesia.

It should be noted that its actual unofficial region is the ASEAN region. That's correct, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, etc are unofficially part of Indonesia. Indonesia's true internally driven expansion is done this way (both Mahathir and Lee are loyal to Suharto to the very end), though expansion order from Washington D.C. is another matter (see above on the whole stage play act and see below on Timor Leste).

That's why Timor Leste was ordered on not to join ASEAN, they are ordered to play the act of breaking up from Indonesia, that includes its unofficial region. In the end though, Timor Leste and Indonesia end up doing the same collaborations just like in the past, poor Australia though seems have to play the 'unrecognized hero' or 'villain pretending to be a hero' role (depending on the point of view) in the play.


Personally, I don't like the idea of 'one island-multiple countries' thing. But hey, 'they' ordered these countries to play those kind of things.

27/3/08 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Tuppence said...

Unless its out of context, its odd to hear a history major describing Europe a "cesspool". Is that all 48 countries, or just some of them?

You question the benefits from Scotland and Wales of being in the UK. Notwithstanding the fact comparisons with Palestine or Tibet don't exactly stand up to scrutiny, Scotland and Wales benefit considerably from the Union.

Firstly as a proportion, they receive higher investment per head than England, who incidentally provide the bulk of the GDP. So essentially there is a net flow of wealth from England, over to Scotland and Wales. Lucky them. It would be more apt to ask what benefits England gain from being in the UK.

Secondly - and this is more amorphous - it allows them to punch way above their weight on an international level. Individuals might not care about such things, but on a world stage its important.

The UK supposed to be an equal partnership, rather like the EU or US, rather than domination of one nation by another.

But you understand this already, when you mention random separatist movements in the US. And I quote: "It seems like it's far more advantageous to stay in the union than not".

15/4/08 4:09 AM  

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