Beyond Empire, A Thousand Kosovos Now

Throughout the world, the reverberations of Kosovos independence are still being felt. A number of nations have continued to recognize the new country, the latest including Canada. freedom.jpgThe issue of self-determination was raised earlier and I want to return to it for this brief post.

The word balkanization has entered out vocabulary. Although first coming about with the fall of Titos regime, it has come to mean different ethnic groups breaking into smaller ‘ineffectual’ regimes. The word has an extreme negative denotation [check out the dictionary.com definition]. No longer quite relevant in Europe, it flows East to look at remnant Empires — maybe China and India. These two states are much larger than any existing nation-state. They are imperial remnants from a bygone age.

With Kosovos declaration of independence, commentators from China and India have been quick to reply. Indian newspapers are full of headlines such as Kosovos declaration places India in a quandary and Why India must oppose Kosovos independence. Newspapers in China are little different. The current situation in Tibet China, may be read in light of what has occurred in Kosovo and the international spotlight with the upcoming Olympic Games.

From China:

“This (Kosovo) is a very sensitive issue for China. It could have some effects (for independence activists) as a demonstration of what can happen. But I don’t think it will have a substantial impact,” Shi said.

From India:

Kosovo has not only committed a crime against Serbia by unilaterally breaking away; it has also committed a crime against the UN by flouting its mandate under transparent encouragement of the US and its major allies, France, Britain and Germany. These countries have already recognised the illegitimate country and its illegal government.

It is time for India to stridently oppose unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo, while under UN administration. India should openly support Russia and China in the UN and ask Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to explain to the world body as to how the US and allies could bury the UN mandate and agree to the creation of another nation on ethno-religious considerations.

Self-aggrandizers in our community [perish the thought!], such as one Swaraj Singh of the Washington State Network For Human Rights, and Chairman of Central Washington Coalition For Social Justice, have written op-ed pieces calling the situation in Tibet and Kosovo as diabolical western ‘plots’ [a preliminary internet search on his groups pulls up nothing, leading me to believe they are paper tigers and just PR groups, however if someone gives me contrary information, I will be happy to apologize].

The Western countries are really scared of the Beijing Olympics because people will see for themselves that while the West is facing a severe crisis and decline, China is looking forward to the Olympics as an opportunity to show the rest of the world the progress made by China. There is already talk in the West about boycotting the Beijing Olympics.

Detractors of Kosovo claim that it is a landlocked state of 2 million people, of which 10% are Serbs and strongly opposed to its independence. However, this is where the European Union gives a way out. The EU, makes such detractions as landlocked, irrelevant. The nature of the EU allows smaller states to exist within a broader political entity. It allows self-determination, but economic cooperation. The success of the EU is striking. Recent reports have indicated that the EU, since the decline of the US dollar, is now the worlds biggest trading economy.

“With the euro now trading around 1.56 against the dollar, the size of its annual output (at market value) has exceeded that of the United States,” US investment bank Goldman Sachs estimated last week.

Can we envision in Asia and Africa, areas where imperial historical remnants still are political realities, a new future?


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25 Responses to “Beyond Empire, A Thousand Kosovos Now”

  1. Jim Pappas says:

    By the end of the year you will see the decline of the euro dollar to an all time never to be seen before low. This will be due to the events that will be transpiring within the next six months in the Balkans. Trust me on this one. Let these Euros(the people) enjoy this temporary laugh that they are having on our dollar.

  2. Jim Pappas says:

    By the end of the year you will see the decline of the euro dollar to an all time never to be seen before low. This will be due to the events that will be transpiring within the next six months in the Balkans. Trust me on this one. Let these Euros(the people) enjoy this temporary laugh that they are having on our dollar.

  3. Lemmy says:

    What a [edited by admin], ignorant, tribalistic belligerent comment

  4. Lemmy says:

    What a [edited by admin], ignorant, tribalistic belligerent comment

  5. Reema says:

    Regional organizations like the African Union and Inter-American Court of Human Rights, ASEAN, SAARC do seem to be a mode of growing regional power and cooperation (some more effective and less corrupt than others so far) though this regional (economic/political) cooperation may or may not lead to EU-like cooperation in other regions within our lifetimes. I do think this regionalization is inevitable and healthy because it will allow smaller groups/nations to assert their interests through the support of regional powers.

    Is your question implying an increased possibility of redrawing inherited colonial boundaries because of regional cooperative orgs? Though the EU's economic network will probably be key in Kosovo's success as an independent nation, I'm not sure I see how the existence of regional organizations would lead to greater national self-determination. The cases of former Yugoslav countries seem to be unique, stemming from their long and brutal conflict. I would think that acceptance of new boundaries would only stem from the type of carnage involved in major conflicts like drawn out civil wars, when all resources are exhausted and no other solutions seem possible. Governments embrace and become protective of the colonial boundaries they've inherited. Sure, lines are redrawn, but at history's snail pace. But what do I know, I'm not a historian.

  6. Reema says:

    Regional organizations like the African Union and Inter-American Court of Human Rights, ASEAN, SAARC do seem to be a mode of growing regional power and cooperation (some more effective and less corrupt than others so far) though this regional (economic/political) cooperation may or may not lead to EU-like cooperation in other regions within our lifetimes. I do think this regionalization is inevitable and healthy because it will allow smaller groups/nations to assert their interests through the support of regional powers.

    Is your question implying an increased possibility of redrawing inherited colonial boundaries because of regional cooperative orgs? Though the EU’s economic network will probably be key in Kosovo’s success as an independent nation, I’m not sure I see how the existence of regional organizations would lead to greater national self-determination. The cases of former Yugoslav countries seem to be unique, stemming from their long and brutal conflict. I would think that acceptance of new boundaries would only stem from the type of carnage involved in major conflicts like drawn out civil wars, when all resources are exhausted and no other solutions seem possible. Governments embrace and become protective of the colonial boundaries they’ve inherited. Sure, lines are redrawn, but at history’s snail pace. But what do I know, I’m not a historian.

  7. Mewa Singh says:

    I am not a historian, either, but I do think that looking at the current macro-historical trends, it seems that the redrawing of colonial boundaries will continue. It may be at a snail's pace or you may be right that Western interests decrease the farther away the conflict is from Europe. However, each national aspirant has taken inspiration from Kosovo; this is what troubles old empires in Africa, China, India, and the like.

  8. Mewa Singh says:

    I am not a historian, either, but I do think that looking at the current macro-historical trends, it seems that the redrawing of colonial boundaries will continue. It may be at a snail’s pace or you may be right that Western interests decrease the farther away the conflict is from Europe. However, each national aspirant has taken inspiration from Kosovo; this is what troubles old empires in Africa, China, India, and the like.

  9. Reema says:

    sorry… i thought you were saying more than inspiration…

  10. Reema says:

    sorry… i thought you were saying more than inspiration…

  11. Mewa Singh says:

    Each national aspirant will still have to go through their own struggle, but as you suggested earlier, regional cooperative organizations may either promote or prevent future re-drawing of boundaries. I do not think that the former Yugoslavia (drawn from the dismembering of the former Ottoman Empire) is anymore brutal or long than those of other national aspirants, but for different reasons it has played out the way it has.

  12. Mewa Singh says:

    Each national aspirant will still have to go through their own struggle, but as you suggested earlier, regional cooperative organizations may either promote or prevent future re-drawing of boundaries. I do not think that the former Yugoslavia (drawn from the dismembering of the former Ottoman Empire) is anymore brutal or long than those of other national aspirants, but for different reasons it has played out the way it has.

  13. Balwant says:

    Congratulations to Kosovo independence. Within 100 years we will have Tibet, Palestine and East+West Punjab.

  14. Jay Singh says:

    Congratulations to Kosovo independence. Within 100 years we will have Tibet, Palestine and East+West Punjab

    Free 'West Punjab'? What's that then? I understand the theocratic fantasy of Khalistan, the land free of impurities and a utopia of religion, but what on Earth is this 'independence of West Punjab'? Is this part of that amusing fantasy of some Khalistanis that they shall restore the borders of Ranjit Singhs empire to Sikh rule? Hilarious if it is.

  15. Balwant says:

    Congratulations to Kosovo independence. Within 100 years we will have Tibet, Palestine and East+West Punjab.

  16. Jay Singh says:

    Congratulations to Kosovo independence. Within 100 years we will have Tibet, Palestine and East+West Punjab

    Free ‘West Punjab’? What’s that then? I understand the theocratic fantasy of Khalistan, the land free of impurities and a utopia of religion, but what on Earth is this ‘independence of West Punjab’? Is this part of that amusing fantasy of some Khalistanis that they shall restore the borders of Ranjit Singhs empire to Sikh rule? Hilarious if it is.

  17. Balwant says:

    You are immature and maybe misunderstand. West & East Punjab were only one. They shall be only one. Khalistan is not land free of impurities. Every land has impurities. Khalistan is land where people strive to become pure based on ideals of universal truth, love .the center concept of all religions.

  18. Balwant says:

    You are immature and maybe misunderstand. West & East Punjab were only one. They shall be only one. Khalistan is not land free of impurities. Every land has impurities. Khalistan is land where people strive to become pure based on ideals of universal truth, love .the center concept of all religions.

  19. Camille says:

    Mewa Singh, I disagree. Unless you're commenting that eventually all postcolonial borders will shift by virtue of history. That's kind of inevitable.

  20. Mewa Singh says:

    Hey Camille,

    I am suggesting borders will shift (China's borders however were/are not a product of colonialism). Shifting borders are not 'inevitable,' but are occur because various national aspirants will seize upon opportunities that will allow it to occur. The timescale……hard to predict.

  21. Camille says:

    Mewa Singh, I disagree. Unless you’re commenting that eventually all postcolonial borders will shift by virtue of history. That’s kind of inevitable.

  22. Mewa Singh says:

    Hey Camille,

    I am suggesting borders will shift (China’s borders however were/are not a product of colonialism). Shifting borders are not ‘inevitable,’ but are occur because various national aspirants will seize upon opportunities that will allow it to occur. The timescale……hard to predict.

  23. Camille says:

    Shifting borders are not ‘inevitable,’ but are occur because various national aspirants will seize upon opportunities that will allow it to occur.

    I would disagree on that point. It's true that borders shift because of historic and human processes, but, from my understanding, this framing of borders is in the context of dissolution and union. This is all predicated by the idea of the nation-state, its primacy, etc., which, in their current incarnations, are relatively "modern." I do think that we will see more and more cries for nation-states being parsed out as time moves on, but I think it's highly likely that we will see new forms and definitions of territoriality and governance in the next 100 years.

  24. Camille says:

    Shifting borders are not inevitable, but are occur because various national aspirants will seize upon opportunities that will allow it to occur.

    I would disagree on that point. It’s true that borders shift because of historic and human processes, but, from my understanding, this framing of borders is in the context of dissolution and union. This is all predicated by the idea of the nation-state, its primacy, etc., which, in their current incarnations, are relatively “modern.” I do think that we will see more and more cries for nation-states being parsed out as time moves on, but I think it’s highly likely that we will see new forms and definitions of territoriality and governance in the next 100 years.

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