Cozy with Kosovo

Written by Susan Mannella on .

Frida Ghitis is correct when she observes that the majority Muslim Albanians of Kosovo love America and past American presidents like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush ("Where Muslims Love America," June 6 Forum). What she does not make clear is the main reason for this: namely, the United States supported Kosovo Albanian aspirations for secession from an internationally recognized state of Serbia.

It has been the Balkan misfortune to be the cauldron of international rivalries for centuries. For reasons of power, prestige and influence Romans, Byzantines, Ottoman Turks, Russians and now Americans have interfered in local rivalries. In turn, the response of locals has always been to look for powerful outside patrons to support them in their often-violent quarrels.

These alliances have shifted through the years. During the World Wars and the Cold War, the Serbs were staunch allies of the United States while the Albanians sided with both Imperial and Nazi Germany and then, Stalin and Mao.

The U.S./NATO war against Serbia in favor of the Kosovo Albanians was never authorized by the United Nations or by the U.S. Congress. Less than a third of the world has recognized Kosovo's secession and the case is pending before the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands.

Why wouldn't the Kosovo Albanians be grateful for this support? Having such a powerful ally support you in the face of international law is comforting. Serbs are left wondering, "Why us?" And Americans should be wary of the fickle nature of Balkan alliances.


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