Monday, February 18, 2008


After a guerilla war, ethnic clensing, a US bombing campaign and NATO occupation, the Serbian province of Kosovo has finally declared independence. The declaration has been denounced as illegal by Serbia and Russia, and has caused some minor violence in Serbian parts of Kosovo and in Serbia itself, but at this stage seems like it will go off relatively peacefully, and without triggering the wars other Balkan seccessions have. Of course, things could still go wrong, but I live in hope.

In the long-term, this will set a precedent for unilateral seccession, which could be problematic. OTOH, international law recognises a right to self-determination. Nation-states are cautious about this right, as it represents a final challenge to their power, but at the end of the day, if a large bunch of people no longer wish to be part of your country, it seems to me to be wrong to try and keep them against their will. Provided they respect human rights and do not oppress any internal minorities within their new state (things Kosovo has promised to do - but the proof will be in the pudding), then who cares what they call themselves?