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Why the US and Russia care about Kosovo

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“Can they do that?” So I thought when I heard of Kosovo’s secession from Serbia. After all, in America, secession triggered a massive civil war. But when there were congratulations and quick recognition from the President, it all seemed good enough. So I figured this was how it works and I just didn’t understand.

Then the Russians got all exercised, even threatening invasion. Huh?

There had to be more to the story. Why were the US and Russia so aggressively pro and con? I found an answer in a post of Thomas Scahill in Counterpunch.

Turned out both nations have much at stake that isn’t in the headlines.

And hello, déjà-vu. Here’s the story:

In Kosovo, there is . . .

clipped from
a massive US military base, Camp Bondsteel, which conveniently is located in an area of tremendous geopolitical interest to Washington.
In November 2005, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described Bondsteel as a “smaller version of Guantanamo.” Oh, and Bondsteel was constructed by former Halliburton subsidiary KBR.
The Serbian government is largely oriented toward Europe, not the US. The country’s prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, is not enthusiastic about a US military base on Serbian soil. He charged that, in recognizing Kosovo, Washington was”ready to unscrupulously and violently jeopardize international order for the sake of its own military interests.” To the would-be independent Kosovo government, however, Bondsteel is no problem.
  blog it

According to Robert Hayden, Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh: “We have in Serbia a situation in which the U.S. has forced an action –the proclamation of independence by the Kosovo Albanians — that is in clear violation of the most fundamental principles of international law after World War II. Borders cannot be changed by force and without consent — that principle was actually the main stated reason for the 1991 U.S. attack on Iraq.”

So here’s the dope: Washington has fallen all over itself to recognize Kosovo’s illegal secession, and Russia has threatened military intervention, partly because the secession keeps a US military base on Russia’s doorstep (and, guess what, it’s just over the hill from an Asia-to-Europe oil pipeline). To Russia, it must be what Americans would feel if Russians established a military command center a hundred miles on the other side of, say, El Paso.

And once again, Washington’s worldwide military aspirations are the back-story of global conflict.

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Written by Monte

February 25, 2008 at 11:59 am