Lots of news this morning. I can't wait to dive into Buchanan, but three little tidbits jumped out at me and they are all related in my pre-coffee brain.
Our new best friend, Niclolas Sarkozy, is in China and sold beaucoup Airbuses and a few nuclear power plants to the tune of €20 billion. (He did not take the Dalai Lama with him.) Not surprisingly, he also opposed any Taiwanese independence. Meanwhile back in Europe, the US, France and most of the EU are behind independence for the land dump called Kosovo.
Truth be told, I do not care about either Taiwan or Kosovo. They are not my problem nor are they US or EU problems until our collective rulers and masters make them a problem, and they do and will. I do have a question.
If enclaves of minorities in one part of the world desire independence and freedom are they entitled to them because of a universal human right? Is the right and entitlement as valid in Kosovo, Taiwan and say New Mexico? It can't be related to trade can it?
________________France opposes Taiwan referendum: Sarkozy
Mon Nov 26, 2007 5:40am ES
BEIJING (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy told his Chinese counterpart on Monday that France opposes Taiwan's contentious plan to hold a referendum on U.N. membership next year, a comment apparently intended to placate China.the rest here
A diplomatically isolated but increasingly assertive Taiwan plans to go ahead with the referendum on whether to seek to rejoin the world body despite repeated warnings from the United States and China.
"It is important to promote dialogue, cooperation and stability in the region," Sarkozy said in a speech in the presence of Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing.
"France therefore firmly opposes the proposal to hold a referendum on joining the United Nations under the name of Taiwan. It is not a useful initiative. It is therefore regrettable and I hope it will not be pursued".
Sarkozy earlier made similar remarks to Hu at the opening of bilateral talks.
He also said that he had taken note of Hu's offer in a speech last month to the Communist Party Congress to enter into negotiations with Taiwan to reach a peace agreement.
China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since their split in 1949 when Mao Zedong's Communists won the Chinese civil war and drove Chiang Kai-shek's defeated Nationalists to the island...
______and then on the other hand________
Kosovo: A Chapter Closes
By Tim Judah in London BIRN
26 11 2007
Serbia’s reliance on Russia to keep Kosovo appears to have backfired by prompting EU countries to line up behind the independence option in order to show their unity.
Since the Kosovo problem began back in 1912, 1981, 1989 or 1998, (take your pick…) no one would – or should – be foolish enough to predict that we are now entering the Kosovo endgame. However it is clear that one chapter in this tortuous story is closing and, over the next few months, a new one opening.
Beginning Monday in the Austrian spa of Baden, Serbian and Kosovo Albanian leaders are meeting for one last time under the aegis of the Troika of mediators from the US, Russia and the EU.
No one expects any significant results. The Kosovo Albanians have stuck firm to their demand for independence and Serbia has insisted that it will concede no more than autonomy.
Even Wolfgang Ischinger, the EU’s representative on the Troika, has admitted that the chances of a breakthrough are virtually nil. "Naturally, an agreement on the status would be ideal,” he says, “but, unfortunately, this is something we cannot expect."
So what next? According to diplomatic sources an international conference could be held on Kosovo some time early in the New Year. However, nothing is yet fixed, nor even what the conference should do, if indeed it happens.
A few ideas are now doing the diplomatic rounds. One is that pressure should be put on the Kosovo Albanians to delay declaring independence until well into the New Year. This should be relatively easy to achieve, but the reason for this is not yet clear to the public in Kosovo who would need an explanation.
Hashim Thaci, whose party came out top in Kosovo’s November 17 poll, has said that Kosovo would declare independence immediately after December 10, the date the Troika must hand in their report on their mission to Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General. In private however he has been telling diplomats that he is willing to hold on until spring.
While news of this delay has begun filtering out in the press, the reason for it has been less clear, and with good reason. What the diplomats hope to achieve by securing a delay on Kosovo’s independence is the re-election of Boris Tadic as president of Serbia.
The logic of this is simple. There are, thus far at any rate, only two serious candidates for the presidency, Tadic and Tomislav Nikolic, the acting leader of the Serbian Radical Party, whose founder, Vojislav Seselj is on trial before the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Western diplomats fear that if Nikolic wins the presidency in February, then there would be a serious risk of “losing Serbia”, but that if Tadic secures a second term, there is a far higher chance of Serbia, after a period of anger at losing Kosovo, staying the path when it comes to Euro-Atlantic integration.
If Tadic can indeed win, then he should be in a strong position to finally assert some serious influence in government, (which he has not done in the last year,) bearing in mind the low poll ratings of Vojislav Kostunica, the prime minister who, after having been seen to lose Montenegro will now be seen to have lost Kosovo.
One way this may be done is to argue, despite recent friendly words from Russia for Tadic, that it was above all Kostunica’s belief that Moscow could save Kosovo for Serbia which has backfired spectacularly. Indeed Kostunica’s party is formally allied to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.
Even until a few weeks ago it appeared that the EU was going to be badly split over the Kosovo issue. Now it appears that only Cyprus remains a “bitter ender” in opposing Kosovo’s recognition by EU states.
In a new paper by the European Council on Foreign Relations, Cyprus and Greece were given the unenviable title of the Russian “Trojan Horses” within the EU. But now, even Greece is signalling quietly that while it will not recognise Kosovo immediately, it will, given a decent interval of time.
Indeed, when Serbia comes to analyse “who lost Kosovo”, a debate which may come sooner rather than later, it may be seen to have proved a huge strategic error to try and rely on Russia. What appears to have happened is that the large number of countries which were either ambiguous about Kosovo’s independence or even opposed it, were highly alarmed by the way that Russia appeared willing to use the issue as a battering ram with which to divide the EU as part of its campaign to keep it weak.
Quite simply, a lumbering Russian bear, roaring: “I am back…” egged on by Serbia, terrified the flock of undecided EU sheep, including most prominently Germany, into rushing into the pen labelled “EU Unity”.
Last March Martti Ahtisaari the former Finnish president presented his plan for supervised independence for Kosovo to the UN. There Russia ensured that it failed to get Security Council backing.
Now, as it becomes clear that Russian policy is heading for failure over Kosovo, Ahtisaari is saying, with only the slightest hint of irony in his voice, that “the Russian attitude has reinforced the unity of the EU. I don’t think that was the original intent.”
One only needs to look at the map to consider why this was so. Kosovo, like the rest of the Western Balkans, is now an enclave deep inside EU and NATO territory. Russia’s attempt to set the agenda here in the face of what most EU leaders wanted has proved most unwelcome and counter-productive.
If an international conference is indeed called in the New Year, one scenario is that it could lay down the conditions for the recognition of the new state. Prime amongst them is likely to be the implementation of those parts of the Ahtisaari plan that can be realised without Serbian cooperation. They are also likely to include a demand for an invitation for the EU to send a Police and Justice mission and a so-called International Civilian Office, which would wield considerable power, to replace the current ailing UN mission.
In this way, the chapter that began with the Kosovo riots of March 2004 and then featured the diplomacy of Ahtisaari and the Troika, will close and a new one, full of fresh problems, will begin. It will almost certainly feature a new frozen conflict in Europe, which will include Belgrade’s blockade of the young state and the reality of a breakaway Serb-controlled region in the north of Kosovo itself.
Tim Judah, a leading Balkan commentator, is the author of The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia; and Kosovo: War and Revenge. Balkan Insight is BIRN's online publication.