Today, President Bush said that the United States will soon “establish full diplomatic relations with the new nation of Kosovo.” There is, however, no ‘nation of Kosovo.’ The new so-called independent and sovereign country of Kosovo is a postmodern fantasy. Like Belgium (and the future European superstate) Kosovo is a state without a nation.
Look at the flag most Kosovars were waving when they declared their independence. It was not the flag of the new state (a blue flag with white stars and a yellow map of Kosovo), but the Albanian national flag: the black double-headed eagle on a field of red. The Albanians, who constitute 90% of Kosovo’s population, have been pushing for the independence of Kosovo from Serbia since Yugoslavia began to unravel in the late 1980s. The Albanians, or Skipetars as they call themselves, are one of the oldest peoples inhabiting the Western parts of the Balkans. They trace their descent from the Illyrians who lived in the area before Roman times – long before Slavic tribes arrived in the Balkans.
The Albanians are a genuine nation. Their national symbol derives from a seal of their national hero George Kastrioti, alias “Skanderbeg.” He led an independent Albania from 1443 until his death in 1468. After having served in the Turkish Ottoman army, Skanderbeg rebelled in 1443. He choose a Roman/Byzantine eagle as his standard, abjured his Muslim faith and liberated the Roman-Catholic Albanians, thereby halting the advance of Islam into Christian Europe. Ten years after his death, in 1478, Albania was conquered by the Turks who ruled it until 1912 and imposed Islam. Over 400 years of Ottoman rule resulted in a nation that has a 70% Muslim majority, though it proudly displays the Roman eagle and has Skanderbeg, a Muslim apostate and a defender of Christianity, as its national hero. Such are the ironies of history.
The province of Kosovo lies to the northeast of Albania. It, too, was originally inhabited by Illyrians but by 850 it had become the heartland of the Slavic Serbs. In the 14th century it fell to the Ottomans. The Turkish occupation imposed Islam and brought in Muslim Albanians. When the province was reunited with Serbia in 1912, the Muslim Albanians had already begun to replace the Christian (Orthodox) Serbs as the predominant people in the province. Today, owing to their demographic growth, 90% of Kosovo is Muslim and Albanian.
Contrary to what George Bush thinks, the Kosovo Albanians do not regard themselves as constituting a Kosovar “nation.” Their nation is Albania, their national hero is Skanderbeg, their flag is the black double-headed eagle. What they long for is unification with their Albanian compatriots in their motherland Albania. The Kosovo Albanians aim for a greater Albania, not for a new “nation of Kosovo” that has never existed in history.
In the 1990s, however, America’s Clinton administration and the European Union (EU) intervened in the Kosovo civil war. The Western leaders aimed for the establishment of a multicultural (Christian and Muslim), multi-ethnic (Albanian and Serb) artificial state of Kosovo – a “Kosovar nation” not based on a genuine nation, but on the idealist, postmodern utopias of Western liberalism. They wanted to create another Belgium, a state without national loyalty, without an identity, without a sense of nationhood. The postmodernists reckon that if people have no identity they will stop fighting each other, because there is no flag worth dying for. In order to achieve this chimera, the American and EU armies allied themselves in the Kosovo civil war with the Kosovo Liberation Army, an Albanian Muslim militia trained by al-Qa’eda.
It is no wonder that Belgium, this multinational artificial bogus state that serves as the EU’s model in its attempts to transform the whole of Europe into a multicultural, multinational superstate, was one of the very first to recognize the independence of Kosovo. So did the governing elites of France and Germany, the cheerleaders of the EU project, and the liberal elites that rule Britain and America and that do not believe in national identities either.
The Kosovo Albanians wave their double-headed eagle, a flag which is omnipresent in Kosovo. The official flag of Kosovo, however, adopted to please the West is a non-identity flag modeled on the EU flag to symbolizes the non-existing Kosovar “nation.” The Kosovo Albanians are grateful to Washington and Brussels because the US and the EU have thrown Serbia out of Kosovo, but their aim remains unification with Albania. They are Albanian nationalists, not Kosovar nationalists. Unlike Mr Bush they know that the Albanian nation exists but the Kosovar nation does not.
As Daniel Hannan points out at his blog Kosovo has not at all become “proud, independent, sovereign and free.” It has become “an EU satrapy. Its subordination is reinforced by its symbols. Its flag is a variant on the EU emblem: stars on a blue background. And, at its independence ceremony, the EU anthem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, was played.” In today’s Guardian John Laughland, too, refers to the “postmodern” nature of the new state. Kosovo’s sovereignty is a “fiction,” he writes: “In order to symbolise its status as the newest Euro-Atlantic colony, Kosovo has chosen a flag modelled on that of Bosnia-Herzegovina – the same EU gold, the same arrangement of stars on a blue background. For Bosnia, too, is governed by a foreign high representative, who has the power to sack elected politicians and annul laws, all in the name of preparing the country for EU integration.”
(Bosnia, like Belgium and the future European superstate, is an artificial construct, a state without a nation. It was created by NATO troops in 1992 as another American-European experiment in multi-nationalism.)
Some seem to think that Kosovo’s independence will become a precedent for other stateless nations, such as Catalonia, the Basque provinces, Brittany, Scotland, Flanders, who aim for statehood. The difference, however, is that, unlike Kosovo, these are genuine nations, and when they are serious about attaining sovereignty, like Flanders, they tend to reject the multinational EU project as well. The American and Europeans troop in Kosovo will soon be perceived as oppressors if they keep resisting the aim of the Kosovo Albanians for unification with Albania. Then America and Europe, having antagonized Serbia and Russia over Kosovo, will feel the consequences of having stirred the Kosovar hornets’ nest in the Balkans.
America, however, should fear other consequences, too. The Kosovo Albanians claimed Kosovo for two reasons: (a) because long, very long ago, before the province was Serbian, it used to be theirs and (b) because today they have become a majority in the province. America granted them their wish and forced Serbia out.
What if tomorrow Hispanics in California (or Texas) push for the independence of Southern California (or Southern Texas), arguing (a) that a long time ago, before these provinces became Anglo-American, they were Mexican and (b) that Hispanics have now become a majority there? Applying the Kosovo logic of Bill Clinton and George Bush, Washington should then be forced out of Southern California by an international army of European, Russian and Chinese troops who would establish an independent “nation” there. All this would be done in violation of the international rule that international borders can only be changed with the agreement of all parties. This is how Washington is treating Serbia today. If one day Washington were to be treated in a similar fashion it would only be getting its due.
The West’s Fatal Mistake: We Are All Serbs Now, 18 February 2008
Kosovo: The EU’s Bastard Child, 18 February 2008
Kosovar Endgame, 11 February 2008
Kosovo’s Independence Will Stir Up Trouble. Who Will Benefit? 12 December 2007