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Double Standards of Independence

03.12.2007 12:13

Vladimir Platonov

The closer December 10, i.e. the deadline specified for the international mediators to elaborate a solution of the Kosovo problem, the more the international press exaggerates an idea that there is only one solution of the aforesaid problem ? to declare independence of the autonomous region.

Washington and its key allies manipulate controllable mass media to boost the information and propaganda campaign to convince the international community that Kosovo cannot stay under the UN protectorate for an indefinite period of time, and the Region should be granted with a status of independent state as soon as possible. Top-ranking US officials continually claim that Washington will recognize independent Kosovo in any case.

It all goes to show that despite the objections of Russia claiming that the future of Kosovo should base on the obligatory balance of interests of both parties involved in the conflict, as well as despite the doubts of certain European countries including Spain and Germany, the decision already has been taken. The West represented by Washington supported by the EU states dependent on the USA, has already determined its stand and will make vigorous efforts "to force in" the independence of Kosovo both in the UN Security Council and in the governing European institutions.

However, independent observers believe that the European leaders should have a long think prior to taking a thoughtless step to support Washington in its persistent efforts to generate another severe conflict in the heart of Europe.

In fact, many European countries do not support the independence of Kosovo even if they don?t dare to speak about it in public. The reasons are different. Certain countries are guided by their own economic interests and policy of neighbourliness, while others (Spain, Greece or Cyprus) are concerned with "the dominoes effect" in their countries even before such effect shows itself in the Balkans. It is not impossible that the wave that will travel from Pristina may cover entire Europe and become such a destructive force that would provoke a series of large inter-ethnic European conflicts.

However, eventually, whether or not Europe wants to have armed conflicts in its territory and expose its citizens ? it is up to Europe. One thing remains unclear why nobody is in rush when the problem relates to any other national conflict existing in the continent (to be mentioned later) and everybody stands for sustained negotiations taking into consideration the interests of all concerned parties in order to find a mutually acceptable decision based on mandatory compliance with a key principle of the international law, the territorial integrity of states. While in case of Kosovo (yet the conflict situation in Northern Cyprus may be reminded too) the West forgets about this principle and is guided by an absolutely different principle, the right of nations to self-determination. Not to mention, consideration of interests of all concerned parties. The double standards are obvious.

Not so long ago, Berlin witnessed the CE-sponsored wide parliamentary hearings on frozen conflicts. According to experts, the number of such conflicts worldwide including only those that are in the hot phase, is about fifty. Meanwhile the sponsors of the Berlin hearings included only the Transdniestria, Abkhazia, South-Ossetia and Karabakh conflicts in the list "the frozen conflicts". It looks like that neither the Kosovo nor the North-Cyprus situations seem urgent for Europe.

A necessary question arises ? what is the reason of such compulsive aspiration in our European partners to use the wide international format (means - with a full role of Russia) only for discussion of conflicts in the post-Soviet space, reserving the private right in other cases to be the master of people?s fate in the narrow EU format?

As the "post-Soviet" conflicts do not differ conceptually from any other conflicts, actual reasons of such differentiation are revealed only through more careful examination of the matter. It is possible to explain such radical difference in approaches of the West to "the frozen conflicts" only if it is determined who is a beneficiary or to be more precise if the interests of the NATO community and the attitude to NATO of the nations involved in one or another conflict are examined in detail.

For example, there is no need to ask the opinion of the majority of Serbs about the membership in the alliance that blanketed the county with bombs and missiles resulting in severe destruction of property and numerous human casualties. And if Kosovo becomes independent, it is quite possible that the new state will join NATO, to which this state is indebted for its existence and which it should properly repay for the favor.

Look further, Cyprus is not a member of NATO while the military and political potential of Turkey is important for the alliance. The role of Turkey in the alliance was demonstrated well-enough with the current strain of the US-Turkish relations and with the efforts of the White House to relax the situation after the US Congress Resolution on the Armenian Genocide. Keeping the conflict actually frozen, the West in fact privately supports the Turkish side. In so doing, the European solidarity surrenders to the more valuable Atlantic one, taking into account that Cyprus is an EU member-state while Turkey is not.

As for the conflicts of Georgia with Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia, the vector of the current Georgian leadership and even rebellious opposition towards NATO membership is also obvious. In so doing, the West leaves no stone unturned to transfer these conflicts from the ethnical and historical domain to the geopolitical one interpreting them as a part of controversies between "the imperial ambitions" of Russia and democratic West. And respectively, the solutions are suggested to be elaborated not through the talks of the nations involved in the conflicts but through a global backstage bargaining between Russia and West trying to reinforce the Georgian position with the NATO constituent.

Undoubtedly, recognition of Kosovo independence will untie hands of the NATO top brass. The alliance will make it a rule to selectively offer its support to those nations and politicians, who will declare their readiness to provide for membership in NATO. However, in this case, is it worth-while for Brussels to declare in such a loud matter its "versatility, impartiality and adherence to the democratic values"? Indeed, by no means there is a connection between any given attitude of the people to NATO and their strivings for independence or vice-versa for preservation of territorial integrity. The conclusion is clear - in this case the actions of the "democratic" West are obviously far from being democratic that is as simple as ABC.

It is apparent to many people that the deadline of December 10 should not be a date of a final "verdict". During the talks the Serbian party demonstrated practically maximum flexibility accepting the Hon-Kong model, "everything but independence". Therefore the UN Secretary General has a unique opportunity to support the Serbian stand and thus radically increase the role and chances of the international community to provide actual settlement of the Kosovo problem avoiding ostentatiously infringing the interests of any of the parties.