Kosovo Independence: Making a Bad Situation Worse

Kosovo Independence: Making a Bad Situation Worse

It was easy on Feb. 17, as an American, to celebrate the victory of the underdog. Many Americans, the ones who follow international affairs at all, watched celebrating Kosovo Albanians on the streets of Pristina and New York City with excitement and yes, even some pride. As Kosovars waved gigantic American flags on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina and stopped traffic in Times Square wearing "Thank You America" jackets, it was natural to smile and think that maybe the United States had done something right for a change.

It was also easy on Thursday to watch the burning of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade and think that the Serbs are what they have been accused of being: war-criminal-hiding nationalists who deserve to lose their territory. And, when Serbs marched in Washington and Chicago over the weekend to protest U.S. recognition of Kosovo, it was easy to ignore them.

But the situation isn't so simple. Yes, Kosovo's unilateral declaration sets a bad international precedent for other separatist movements, but there is also a less theoretical and potentially more dangerous implication of Kosovo's declaration.

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