As a matter of principle, I argued long ago that the only honorable thing to do was to support Kosovo’s independence bid. Even though the merciless beating administered to the Serbs (and not to Milosevic) was dishonorable enough. At some point a country, a ruler, a people, a civilian has to pull itself together and advance from a position of coherence, and nothing seemed (to me) a bigger waste of time than leaving a people in limbo whom it was apparently worth violating international law over and Christian good taste besides, at cost, lest we forget.
But if you wanted the prudent thing to do, you’d champion leaving the Kosovo mess as is, on the theory that ignoring something we should never have grown curious about in the first place mitigated a dumb situation. And really, who thinks the Kosovars ‘deserve’ their own state? Can we really explain, anymore, what that means? ‘Certain legal protections’, ‘power-sharing arrangements’, ‘a medley of guarantees’ — these are terms of the art we have an eye for. We look at nation-statehood and get somewhat confused; we seem to lose our perspective over a cliff of implications and the result is queasy backpedaling from that brink combined with plenty of transgressively therapeutic fantasies (Iraq).
Well, whether you wanted nothing to do with Kosovo or championed the only worthwhile result of a big and strange effort, ultimately the ‘power’ over things rested with the Kosovars, who did what no one would let them do ten years ago almost solely because of fairly justified concerns about Macedonia. And the result of this declaration of independence is that nobody wants to upset the apple cart, and we get to welcome another Taiwan into the world.
Really it all goes according to plan. Serbia, shorn of its medieval identity, has nothing to live for but European integration. The secession of Kosovo is really the forcible removal from Serbia of Russia, and even more importantly Russianness, the ill for which Europe has never found the proper cure, and against which even all attempted counterpoisons have sickeningly failed. Viewed from the perchtop of history, we relearn what should have been obvious even at the time — and was, to the depth of instinct, to the monsters themselves: without defeating Russia, Napoleon and Hitler were beside the point.
So you get the Russia out of Serbian soil — a project that must become an obsession seen all the way through to the end, which is the full Europeanization of the Serbs, down into their blood. Once Serbia goes into Europe, the whole paradigm can plausibly change to the Maghreb and Near East. Quite frankly Europe cannot begin to solve its Muslim problem until it solves its European problem, which has now reduced to a Russian Orthodox problem. Greece got slipped in early to the Westside for a variety of reasons, but a world-historical jester would nag Stalin endlessly for permitting this great cultural breach. Ironic that the great killer of Orthodox Faith would permit, on an atheist basis, the loss of the Byzantine heartland to the great Western Christian machine that would so resiliently transcend its internecine hatred and climb up from the Greek stepstool right up to tickle Russia’s whiskers. Serbia is the final piece of this puzzle, the only last necessary one. (Meaning Ukraine and Georgia are not. Expect Morocco in the EU before Ukraine in NATO — rather as it should be.)
And as Serbia becomes properly Europeanized, little Kosovo retains its weird backward condition as the regional gray market node, without which no totalized system of European administrative control is complete. Sitting midway on Europe’s youth/porn/whore/slave Garter Belt, running from Tallinn to Bratislava to Zagreb and then doglegging back through Kosovo and Macedonia to disappear somewhere in a crack house at the mouth of the Danube and then reappear in Dubai, Kosovo is ideally situated as a main hub in the pipeline that feeds Europe’s foul longings. The biggest obstacle to Europeanizing Kosovo is of course the Kosovars themselves, for whom there is little point in finally working free of Serbia only to rejoin it on purportedly equal terms as a Euro-Federal Sub-Administrative Unit. So for some time they will work, and work well, as a conduit to everything the EU is designed to frown at and categorize and task force and ultimately sort down to the syringe but never eradicate and hardly dent.
Meaning finally that Kosovo will help Europe turn a profit — and that the ‘law gradient’ between Serbia, which will soon be overrun and ruled by Western banks, Western credit, and Western capital, and Kosovo, which will remain a wild-west petri dish located just kilometers away, will function as one of the world’s preeminent studies in postmodern geopolitics. What it won’t do is keep chugging away at modern geopolitics — with those incredibly gauche visions of ‘Greater So-and-So’ and ‘National Party of Such-and-Such’. And it won’t trigger a wave of retaliatory or entrepreneurial secessions in questionable parts around the world, because those would benefit no one, least of all the Great Powers, whose problem it would instantly become.
Kosovo: Why Not? — yet another slogan for life after the reduction of politics to housepet.
Crossposted at Postmodern Conservative.