Serbs attacked United Nations police Friday in the fifth consecutive day of protests against Kosovo’s declaration of independence. The U.S. and the European Union demanded that the Serbian government protect foreign diplomats after a crowd, angry at Washington’s decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence, set fire to the American embassy compound in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. (AP in Yahoo! News)
What the commentators said
“Kosovo deserves its independence,” said the New York Post in an editorial (free registration), which is why it won “quick recognition” from the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany. But “European powers had better be prepared to put their muscle where their mouths are if Kosovo is to avoid another spate of ethnic strife,” because the Serbian minority in Kosovo isn’t about to peacefully accept ethnic Albanian rule.
The real problem for “euphoric” Kosovars is “strident opposition from Moscow,” said Charlie Szrom in The Daily Standard. Serbia and Russia share “a long historical affinity,” and “Serbia lets Russia project power and accrue profit in Southeastern Europe.” Countering Moscow’s interests is too big a job for Europe alone. The U.S. will have to stand resolutely with the E.U. to counter “Moscow's less-than-noble motives in opposing a free Kosovo.”
Russia will block Kosovo from taking its place in the United Nations, said the Economist, but “the deed is done.” But this isn’t the “final” chapter Kosovar Albanians seem to think it is. The tiny part of the former Yugoslavia will merely move from being a U.N. protectorate to a European one, “because a stable Balkans is in everyone's interest.”