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Commentary: Kosovo army needs Trump’s support

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The Balkans’ historical propensity to embroil Europe in a wider conflict symbolizes the significance behind Kosovo and Serbia’s ongoing row of words.

Kosovo is a majority ethnic Albanian state that declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after a violent struggle in the late 1990s, preceded by the collapse of Yugoslavia that ended after a NATO intervention. Serbia has not recognized its independence.

Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia simmered again this past January when, according to the New York Times, a train headed from Belgrade to Kosovo with the slogan “Kosovo is Serbian” embedded on it was halted at the border.

Escalation of the crisis was prompted after a Russian donation of arms to Serbian Armed Forces. Russia has historically considered Serbia to be a part of its sphere of influence, given that they are both Slavic orthodox states. In a response to the Russian donation of arms, Kosovo’s parliament is now considering transforming its security services into a militarized army.

If President Trump signals an American approval for a Kosovo military, and offers American material support, it will send a clear message to Russia.

The President’s past statements have raised concern over whether he would commit to responding to potential Russian aggression toward NATO members. When then President-elect Trump was interviewed by the Times of London and Bild newspapers, he said “NATO had problems” and went as far as calling the alliance “obsolete.” Comments such as those not only undermine unity within the alliance, but also embolden Vladimir Putin.

Though Kosovo is not one of the 28 members of the alliance, NATO forces stopped Serbia’s ethnic cleansing campaign of Kosovar Albanians during the Kosovo War in 1999, and have had a hand in establishing order in the state following the conclusion of the war. In other words, Kosovo exists because of NATO. Therefore, there is precedent in American protection of Kosovo’s external sovereignty.

What does President Trump have to gain if he stands up for Kosovo? First, he would show a renewed American commitment to NATO. Moreover, providing material support for the formation of a Kosovo military sends a clear message to Moscow that the Trump administration is not a pushover. It also serves as a direct response to the Russian donation of arms to the Serbian Armed Forces.

Given that the Bush and Obama administrations both failed to respond to Russia’s invasions of Georgia and Crimea respectively, a response to Russia’s aggressions via Serbia allows for America to act as a counterweight to Russian provocations. Additionally, it offers the President an opportunity to reinforce American influence in the Balkans, and counter Russian influence in the region.

Domestically, Trump’s solidarity with Kosovo will help contrast accusation that he is Putin’s puppet, and perhaps call off any Congressional investigation into the Trump administration’s ties with Russia. Brushing off inquiries into his ties with Russia allows for him to concentrate on implementing his Presidential agenda.

A Reaganesque show of strength against the Russians shall serve as a defining moment in President Trump’s administration. Conforming to American foreign policy norms signals to the American public that, while unconventional in his actions, Trump is ready to act more presidential.

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7 Comments

7 Responses to “Commentary: Kosovo army needs Trump’s support”

  1. Mar on April 5th, 2017 10:29 pm

    Great read! Well done Stiv

    [Reply]

  2. Steve on April 6th, 2017 3:13 pm

    Stiv, I’m writing this with great respect.
    Can you elaborate what is 5000 strong Kosovo army going to do against 250.000 regular Serbian troops?. Military technology in Serbia is light years ahead of Kosovo. My point is that if Serbia wants to take over Kosovo, no Kosovo army is going to stop it. What in reality you are achieving is arming and supplying muslim state in heart of Europe. This Clinton experiment went wrong….unless you are trying to destabilize Europe, then it makes total sense. How about this scenerio; create chaos in Syria, flood Turkey with refugees, create chaos in Turkey, create mass refugee crisis, flood Europe with refugees, fund and protect muslim USA puppet states (Albania,Macedonia,Bosnia and Kosovo) through various NGO organizations.
    On the side note, Serbia has been USA ally through both great wars.

    [Reply]

    Stiv Mucollari Reply:

    There is no doubt that the Serbian military might is vastly stronger then Kosovo. Kosovo doesn’t even have an army, just a small security force. What I’m arguing is that Trump and the United States as a whole should provide material support to help Kosovo transform its security force into an army. The creation of a Kosovo army does not mean Kosovo will match Serbia in military force, but allow for Kosovo to have a force that protects its external sovereignty if a conflict were to arise. Secondly, I would be careful to call Albania and Kosovo Muslim puppet states. Albania in particularly has a large orthodox minority, and relations between different religious groups in Albania are peaceful. Albania is not a Sunni state like Saudi Arabia. Additionally, both Albania and Kosovo lived under a period of intense Communist rule that weakened Albanian religious identity. Serbia has not been a traditional American ally. Just because they fought on the same side, doesn’t mean there historical friends. In fact, American President Woodrow Wilson stepped in and protected Albanian sovereignty from Serbian desires to partition it. Serbia has always been in Russia’s sphere of influence. The highly Serbian nationalist campaigns during the Yugoslav war were backed Russia. In fact, Russian troops and American troops almost came into a confrontation at Pristina airport in 1999. I hope that clears up a little bit of your questions. I apologize if there was any spelling or grammer errors, I wrote this on the train. I always appreciate a constructive argument. Have a good day

    [Reply]

  3. Steve on April 8th, 2017 8:35 am

    Thank you for reply Stiv. I cannot agree with you on military, since we both agree that Kosovo couldn’t defend borders with 5000 troops. Only reason that they would be allowed to organize armed forces would be to provoke serbian troops and to legitimize Kosovo institutions.

    Albania is partially orthodox that is true. I visited ardenice monestery in Lushne and marveled at old monestery in Fier(appolonia). Albanians are just now becoming aware of their relegion and difrences it brings.

    I know that situation is somewhat different in Kosovo,Macedonia and south Serbia where you could see 2 to 3 mosques per village. This is exactly where recruiting for ISIS happens…Kosovo is ranked first per capita on foreign fighters list in Syria….Bosnia is close second.

    Tito did great thing for Albanian people, he let all people prosecuted by Enver to cross freely into Montenegro,Macedonia and Kosovo.
    Since nobody had any passport or a way to get to west Europe…Yugoslavia was a dream.

    Whatever you think about Serbia-USA relationship now…before 1999 bombing was great…don’t really want to get to details but you brought up president Wilson.

    To the People of the United States:

    On Sunday, 28th of this present month, will occur the fourth anniversary of the day when the gallant people of Serbia, rather than submit to the studied and ignoble exactions of a prearranged foe, were called upon by the war declaration of Austria-Hungary to defend their territory and their homes against an enemy bent on their destruction. Nobly did they respond. So valiantly and courageously did they oppose the forces of a country ten times greater in population and resources that it was only after they had thrice driven the Austrians back and Germany and Bulgaria had come to the aid of Austria that they were compelled to retreat into Albania. While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken. Though overwhelmed by superior forces, their love of freedom remains unabated. Brutal force has left unaffected their firm determination to sacrifice everything for liberty and independence.

    It is fitting that the people of the United States, dedicated to the self-evident truth that is the right of the people of all nations, small as well as great, to live their own lives and choose their own Government, and remembering that the principles for which Serbia has so nobly fought and suffered are those for which the United States is fighting, should on the occasion of this anniversary manifest in an appropriate manner their war sympathy with this oppressed people who have so heroically resisted the aims of the Germanic nations to master the world. At the same time, we should not forget the kindred people of the Great Slavic race–the Poles, the Czechs and Jugo-Slavs, who, now dominated and oppressed by alien races yearn for independence and national unity.

    This can be done in a manner no more appropriate than in our churches.

    I, therefore, appeal to the people of the United States of all faiths and creeds to assemble in their several places of worship on Sunday July 28, for the purpose of giving expression to their sympathy with this subjugated people and their oppressed and dominated kindred on other lands, and to invoke the blessings of Almighty God upon them and upon the cause to which they are pledged.

    Woodrow Wilson, President
    The White House, July 1918

    [Reply]

    Stiv Mucollari Reply:

    Within the context of Eastern Europe during the Cold War, your argument about Yugoslavia being a dream is reasonable. But Tito and the Yugoslav regime then is no Serbia of the 1990s and Today. Tito was able to hold multi-ethnic state by his sheer will. Ethnic identity will always tear apart the Balkans. And this is were Turkey comes in. Just as Serbia has a powerful backer in Russia, Albania post the collapse of Enver’s regime had one in Turkey. However, following Albania joining NATO, the Albanian-Turkish “alliance” if you’d call it that broke down. Albania is now closer to Western interest then that of Turkey. I think the recent row of words between Edi Rama and Egrdroen shows that. Also, I do agree with you that the ISIS recruitment as being concerning. But not more concerning then the thousands of French, Belgians, and Germans youth being recruited by ISIS.

    Laslty, though we may differ on the issues, I agree with you on this one 100%. Albania is a gorgeous place.

    (Again, excuse my spelling/grammer mistakes. This comment was posted via phone)

    [Reply]

  4. Steve on April 8th, 2017 10:02 am

    I forgot to mention. Albania is one of the most gorgeous places on earth. Logora and view from it, is truly amazing. Albanian people are one of the most welcoming people on earth.

    Serbs did invade Albania in 1913 together with Greeks….it’s intersting to know that very few Serbian books mention this….but retreated back fast. Problem with Albania – Serbia issue is that Albania at the end of the day, will always serve Turkish interst. If Skenderbeg was alive he wouldn’t belive his eyes.

    [Reply]

  5. Steve on April 11th, 2017 4:37 am

    Stiv, thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    I think you are overestimating Russian support towards Serbia. This new military deal is actually good only for Russia. Serbia is getting 20 year old planes that need to be refitted…do you think this is going to free?. Tito’s Yugoslavia was hard socialism…but not eastern block communism.
    Nobody in Yugoslavia at the time wanted Russians or their influence. In Yugoslavia they bought wepons from east and imported culture from the west. Only thing connecting Russians and Serbs is relegion, but then we could say same for Greeks and Serbs. To further put this relationship under microscope, you would of noticed that Russians proclaimed Croatia country 10 days before USA did….is this supposed to be great ally?.

    As for Rama-Erdogan issue. You are right…not so good, since Rama is letting gulen schools to work without any problems… I could be wrong but I think Ilir Meta’s daughter goes to one.
    Personally I think Rama days are over. We will see what happens next.

    [Reply]

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Commentary: Kosovo army needs Trump’s support