Monday, August 13, 2007

Kosovo and the Trans-Atlantic Relationship

Events sometimes move faster than publishing schedules, but in this case the developments on Kosovo that I blogged about yesterday confirm some arguments that I and my colleagues have been making.

In today's Atlantic Community I asked the question (prior to Ambassador Ischinger's announcement) whether differences of opinion on Kosovo might end the trans-Atlantic honeymoon.

Meanwhile, Paul Saunders "takes excepption" to the Daalder/Kagan piece in today's Washington Post.

He asks:
What they want is for "the United States and its democratic partners in Europe and Asia," and especially "the world's great democratic nations," to decide. But which governments are these? Do they really think that India and Brazil, two great democracies by almost any standard, will energetically back an interventionist American foreign policy, not to mention the active and regular U.S. use of force that Daalder and Kagan advocate? What will be the consequences for America's perceived international legitimacy if they don't?

Daalder and Kagan appear to believe that enlisting a few European allies, and perhaps Japan, to support military action will be enough. This clearly did not work in Iraq and seems extremely unlikely to work in the future, especially if Europe is divided, as seems likely. Outside the United States and Europe, even many democracies would not necessarily welcome what some may see as a new form of colonialist intervention in their regional affairs. The Atlantic community and the "international community" are not identical.

He wasn't writing explicitly on Kosovo, but some of the fault lines are there. India and South Africa, for instance, have always been concerned about any U.S. imposed solution. And cherry-picking among our allies in Europe is likely to backfire.

A final interesting point: let's say the Europeans and the Russians reach a common position based on the EU's two principles of independence and a UN resolution, that results in independence for Kosovo--but a Kosovo differently defined than the current province. If a majority of the world's democracies in Europe and around the world endorsed such a compromise--which would require the U.S. to also back down on its own rhetoric--does Washington defer to the consensus of the world's democracies?

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