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Serbia's Surprising Turn Westward

Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008

Only eight months after losing Kosovo, their cultural and historical heartland, Serbs seem strangely passive these days. At this time last year, as negotiations over Kosovo's final status reached an impasse, Serbs felt bitter and humiliated by the pariah-status they were dealt by the international community. So their initial reaction to Kosovo's declaration of independence -- and its quick recognition by Western capitals -- this past February was predictable: amidst a crowd of 100,000 peaceful protesters (more than 1% of the population), a few hundred "extremists" attacked and ignited several embassies of Kosovo-friendly governments, including that of Kosovo's strongest ally, the United States.

But instead of closing ranks and leaning to the right, as often happens among humiliated populations, the Serbian public did just the opposite, handing President Boris Tadic a strong pro-EU coalition in May of this year -- just three months after losing Kosovo. ...

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