Monday, February 11, 2008

Creative Thinking

A number of leading American foreign policy conservatives continue to be worried about the unintended consequences of Kosovo independence in the absence of a mutually-agreed settlement. International law expert Ruth Wedgwood had this proposal to make in this weekend's Wall Street Journal:

"The president and the Secretary of State should consider a more practical option. America and its allies, acting through the Security Council, can provide a permanent international guarantee of Kosovo's political autonomy within the formal territory of Serbia. Combined with the Ahtisaari conditions, even Belgrade and Moscow are likely to accept such a guarantee.

"This will give Kosovo as much, or more, than it would achieve through nominal independence. Autonomy can include the right to enter into certain types of international agreements. It can include the right to have international observer missions. Autonomy can entail more real power than is available to a neutered state ..."

Moreover, this model could be the way forward on other frozen conflicts, and dare I say it, even provide a possible way forward between the PRC mainland and Taiwan (under a one state, two authorities model?) Certainly this approach might be the one to break the impasse on Nagorno-Karabakh, the frozen conflict conveniently ignored because no one in the U.S. wants to get in the middle of a fired-up Armenian-American community and Azeri oil interests.

And this column again demonstrates why we should always reject claims that there is "no need" for debate and discussion on any issue.

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