“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Kosovo, Iraq, once in, can you ever get out?

Is getting involved in ethnic and religious conflicts a type of political herpes?

Yesterday, on a thread about Wes Clark, a commenter at the end of his post discussed his service and experience with Clark in Kosovo.

It reminded me of our Kosovo involvement, which began in 1999, and continues for Nato today, and as far out into the future as anyone can see.

Kosovo is no success story. You can read the non-advertised version here.

Our experience in Kosovo may be instructive to what we now face in Iraq. Read the comments from the post and the following DW article.

Ret LTC said:

"...the facts are that almost nothing in that article is credible, and it's quite obvious the author knows nothing about military operations in Kosovo. By his own admission -- his id on Free Republic -- author CP is an "anti-war Republican." And while I strongly suspect he is really only an anti-started-by-a-Democrat-war Republican, his lack of any military background or experience is likewise obvious.

The vast majority of us who actually served as part of the Bosnia/Kosovo team know that General Clark was an outstanding commander, both militarily and in his ability to maintain NATO's political support thru the conclusion of the war. That's why so many of us supported Wes Clark for president in '04, and who will be there for him next time should he decide to run.

Sun Jan 07, 11:20:42 AM EST

I confess to have been one that was skeptical about the wisdom of taking sides in Kosovo. It was a very complicated historical clash between Islam and the Christian West. Typing the sentence is in itself a distortion by over-simplification of the problem.

In retrospect, we replaced the winning side of an ethnic-cleansing operation with an opposition that is now determined to ethnic-cleanse the other side. Since the Albanian and Muslim population has returned to Kosovo, there has been the systematic destruction and attempt to cleanse the Christian Serbs from Kosovo. This is deeply embarrassing and mostly ignored by those that were decrying the successful ethnic-cleansing done by the Serbs against the Muslims.

I believe Kosovo is relevant to the awful contradictions involved when one intervenes in a civil or religious conflict as we are doing in Iraq. External military remedies, imposed by outsiders, who barely understand the context of the conflict, are not going to succeed.

Deutsche Welle in a brief story discusses the continued involvement of the EU and Nato micro-experiment in nation building and social engineering in Kosovo. The EU is going to be involved in little Kosovo for a very long time. The obvious outcome should not be pleasing to anyone except the winning ethnic-cleansing Muslim Albanians.

European Union | 07.01.2007
German FM: Kosovo Biggest Problem Right Now

"No negotiations -- self determination" reads the graffiti in Kosovo's capital, Pristina

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned Sunday that stability in the Balkans depended on how the future status of Kosovo is resolved and said the EU will work to ensure peace in the Serbian province.

Steinmeier told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that Germany, which on Jan. 1 assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union, would contribute financing and personnel for a European civil mission when the time came.

"We will have to deal with Kosovo right at the beginning of the year," Steinmeier said when asked about the biggest problem facing him in 2007. "The upcoming decision about its future status is closely linked to the issue of stability in the Balkans. The EU, which will take over responsibility from the UN, will do everything in its power to prevent any new conflicts with Serbia."

Steinmeier said the EU wanted a "functioning community" in Kosovo "in which all citizens -- Albanians as well as Serbs -- can live in peace and security."

He noted that the EU mission in Kosovo would include police officers as well as justice and administrative officials from across the bloc.

"It will cost money and we will need people," he said. "But you only need to recall the horrors of the Balkans wars in the 1990s to know that stability in the Balkans is of great importance and deserves our complete engagement."

Biggest European civil mission

Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999 when a NATO bombing campaign ended a crackdown by Belgrade on separatist ethnic Albanian rebels.

UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari began difficult negotiations in February 2006 with Serbian and Kosovo authorities to define the future status of the province, described by the Serb constitution as an integral part of the country.

He was due to make recommendations to the UN by the end of the year, but has now said that he will reveal his plans for the future of the majority ethnic-Albanian region after the general elections in Serbia on Jan. 21.

The decision will trigger the deployment of the biggest European civil mission ever assembled.


Is there relevance to the situation in Iraq?


  1. It must be said that the Serb security forces under Milosevic did behave like complete swine in Kosovo prior to the war.

    However, the Kosovo Albanians behaved no better as soon as they got the chance. And, unlike the Serbs, they are barely culturally European and not Christian. The bunch we supported - the KLA Kosovo Liberaion Army - were the biggest bunch of smugglers and thieves in Europe. Tribal more than Islamic in character, they do not bat an eye at smuggling guns, drugs or women (very nasty to say the least). European officers in KFOR were in shock at our "allies" starting about all of two weeks after invading.

    We got conned into the war. The Racak massacre appears to have been sexed up by the Albanians themselves (from a small massacre to a big and gruesome one), and the gullible US representatives who saw it bought it. The BBC made that influential TV documentary "The Valley" (? Can't rightly remember the title, about Serb misdeeds in the Drenica valley), but today after Qana and the Green Helmet Guy we would say it smacks of extensive staging.

    Madeline Albright had her infamous attack of midlife identity crisis and was looking for dragons to slay. Did that factor? Maybe, I don't know, some folks claim it was critical to her position.

    I didn't see Clarks stuff during the war, I did get to see the intractable mess left afterwards. Was Clarks excessive zeal in the matter entirely professional? Who else should shoulder responsibility for the fraudulence of the air campaign?

    Who the hell were the Clintons listening to?

    Doesn't matter why really, but the end result was apparently folks on high pressing for an unjustifiable war for reasons of personal prejudice as opposed to national interest.

    And now we have a mess, one that is not going away. I for one, feel sick that we cover for pseudo-Islamic bandits and mobs while they ethnically cleanse European christians and burn churches.

  2. re: cover for pseudo-Islamic bandits and mobs

    The extent to which this is already happening is truly shocking.

  3. Fellow,
    You know much more than I do about it over there, here, I think it was Albright primarily responsible, with Clark apparently more than eager to become supreme allied commander of (repainted USAF) NATO operations.
    Disappointing how many "conservatives" still are proud of us "Standing for What's Right" without taking into account what's really there now, as if that is right, and manifestly WRONG to supplant traditional ally thugs w/murderous enemy "MUSLIM" thugs.

    Would be interesting to know what Putin really thought about that Fiasco, not too hard to imagine what neigboring Europeans do.

    Late here, hopefully exciting local update tommorrow re:
    Local Chicks on Crack.

  4. The GOOD thing about Clinton/Albright/Clark's Air War is that it did not bankrupt and hamstring us.
    GWB's ability to surround himself with sabotaging losers, latest being Negroponte, IS his legacy in my book.
    The President that could NOT stop sticking his finger in the light socket, then wondering why he was shocked with the result.
    Most incompetent MF in my lifetime.

  5. I can only read and speculate about the higher machinations, but having stood in the weeds in Kosovo with riot shield and gun, watching the smoke rise from burning churches, I got a serious chip on my shoulder on this subject.

    Screw Albright and screw the Albanians. Viva Serbia. Even tho' the Serbs a bunch of drunken louts.

    Doug you are right, while being a clusterf*** in its own right, Kosovo was at least a comparatively small and cheap clusterf***.

  6. Under age prostitution, via trafficked Eastern European
    young woman will more than likely have been handled by Albanians.

    Heroin, grown in Afghansistan, distibuted throughout Europe will have been handled by Albanians.

    Albanians are 70 % Muslim. Kosovo, through illegal immigration from Albania, is 90% Muslim. al-Qaeda invested millions into the Kosovars and extracts a tax on illegal cash activities.

    I am sure whatever we end up with in Iraq will be worse.

  7. Gas like odor across Manhatten, stinkin' across the Hudson, into NJ.

    Perhaps just a nothin', perhaps a foretaste of what could be.

    Israeli nukes threaten Iran, stench billows in NYC.

  8. al-Qaeda invested millions into the Kosovars

    Yes. That is mostly conveniently forgotten, as is mujahideen to Bosnia in the early 90's.

    Look back at that which was publically written circa 1998, when the US government considered the KLA to be a terrorist organization, and strongly linked to al Quaida.

    If the trouble had brewed a mere two years later, that is - after 9/11, we would have been sending aid and advisors to Serbia, staunch allies in the war on terror instead of bombing/invading.


  9. If instead of "gas" the folk are smelling, today, was an aerosol nerve agent.

  10. Lord Acton,

    [A HREF=""]clever text[/A]

    Just replace the "[" with "<" and the "]" with ">". The field "clever text" is what you want to appear as the blue link.

  11. Iran threatens to stop oil flow via Hormuz strait

    A senior Iranian officer warned that if the West continues to threaten Iran's economy over its nuclear program, Teheran will discontinue the flow of oil via the Strait of Hormuz, Israel Radio reported Monday.

    According to the officer, 40% of the world's oil is transferred through the strait, and the world is dependent on Iran for a source of energy and a stable economy.

    Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, added that Iran cannot allow itself to give up the right to develop its nuclear technology program.

  12. I've been saying this regards the Albanians in Serbia since the beginning. The Serbians got the raw deal because they had cultural links to the Russians. The Croatians were the biggest swine in that war, but they're Catholic and allied with Germany, so they get a free ride. Albanians are allied to the Saudis, who got the Americans to bomb the Serbs. All the while, the Albanians ethnically cleansed the Serbs from Kosovo and burned down millennia old Serbian churches.

  13. For those who say no physical American presence is required to secure the US interests, consider.

    Iranian hubris

    Via TigerHawk

    Oh, the EU is mad to think that control over the Iranians is possible apart from the infliction of pain.

  14. Oak Leaf has up what amounts to a recruiting thread, which he calls, ”Someone Has To Guard the Guard”

    My G-d, what has America come to?

  15. re: shouting match

    Looks like the Persian devil has reared its ugly head yet again on primetime.