I have been writing about this for years; mainly trying to get peace groups to head this off. Unfortunately Iraq has distracted the Peace Community and the world's attention away from other hot spots. This highlights the importance of being proactive about mediating conflicts before situations are allowed to deteriorate.
(back in November of 2007, I put together a list of the World's Biggest hot spots. Kosovo made the list, but it has quickly climbed to near the top in recent days).
Russia's tough talk is more about allowing the Bear to growl, than allowing it to bite (I hope). However, the U.S. has fought two wars in the Balkans, and the U.S. and Russia came extremely close to a military conflict in 1999, during the U.S.'s second attack on what was then Yugoslavia. Russia is not all about "talk" on this issue. Russian troops have been sent into Kosovo before (uninvited). There is no reason to believe that this couldn't happen again.
The Kosovo mess is yet another remnant of Bill Clinton and his misguided & aggressive foreign policy. This is why U.S. and European military involvement there without a stronger consensus and better cooperation with the Russians and the UN, was so shortsighted. I knew that it would lead to problems later on and that Kosovo (once a protectorate of the U.S.) would probably make a bid for independence, with U.S. and NATO backing.
Russia's NATO representative, Dmitry Rogozin, stated over the weekend that Russia may see that it has no choice but to use force, if NATO and the EU continued down this road (meddling in Eastern European affairs, supporting independence movements in sovereign countries, among other things). However, other reports indicate that, after the statement, Rogozin seemed to back away somewhat from the earlier message. But the statement still set off alarm bells around the World.
This is the culmination of the U.S. treating Russia like a poor little step-child for the past 15 years or so, giving the country no respect and rubbing the Cold War in their faces at every opportunity. Russians (who once leaned towards the U.S. & the West) were turned off by this treatment, and eventually turned inward and became more Nationalistic. Soon, Russians wanted to gain back the kind of prestige that they once had during the Soviet years, when they were not pushed around. This anti-American backlash provided former KGB thugs with enough support to seize power in Russia in the late 1990's, and they have been able to hold on ever since, due to continued U.S. arrogance. So in essence, the U.S. has unwittingly brought hardliners to power in Russia, which has in turn led to a rollback of Democracy there.
I just can't understand why the U.S. chooses to instigate and foment war and tensions in Europe, destabilize relations with Russia, expand NATO, meddle in the internal affairs of sovereign nations (when other tactics and forms of support may be more appropriate), invade Countries that are no real threat to the United States, anger its enemies as well as its friends around the world, shoot down satellites that don't need shooting down just to show off its military capability, etc.... when we have so many domestic needs....healthcare, a rehab of social security, fundamental improvements to infrastructure, an economy that is slowly tanking, huge deficits and a national debt that will soon become unmanageable, sky high gas prices, stagnant wages, troubled schools, a housing mess, better services for Veterans, a globalized economy of which the U.S. is not adapting to fast enough, climate change, etc... the list goes on and on.
Now we are facing the possibility of a third war in the Balkans since the 1990's. This is how the Serbs put it back in December when negotiations failed.
This is yet another example of foreign policy that the Clinton's and the Bush's are in lock step agreement on. The war in Yugoslavia was one of the key issues that turned me against Bill Clinton (although there were many others). This is one of the reasons why Hillary must not become the Democratic nominee or God forbid the next President of the United States. When you put Bill and Hillary together a pattern eventually emerges- that is, a pattern of bad judgements, particularly on matters of foreign policy. Bill and Hillary's foreign policy is not that much different from the Neo-Conservative Republican foreign policy. If you look at the goals of the PNAC (Project for a New American Century)- The seeds of the Bush doctrine- you will find several policy points that are in line with the Clinton's view on foreign affairs.
Well, thanks Slick Willy (and Bush & Co.) for yet another foreign policy mess.
Hopefully this situation can be diffused calmly, but Bush & Co. gives me no confidence whatsoever in their diplomatic abilities. They know how to start wars. But they aren't very good at heading them off or ending them once they have begun.
This event (the independence declaration) is not a shock. Everyone already knew that it was coming. However, the consequences of such a decision were always the problem, because of their unpredictability. Kosovo has been an autonomous protectorate since 1999, so for all practical purposes, it was already in control of many of its own affairs. But for the Serbs, it's about honor, and the history and tradition that they have invested in Kosovo, as well as an issue of territorial integrity.