Sunday, 17 February 2008

Independence for Kosovo?

Today Kosovo declares its independence from Serbia. It has of course already been independent from Serbia in practice since 1999, but it remains to be seen whether it will remain independent in the long term, and what other effects this will have.

I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I believe in self-determination for all peoples, including the people of Kosovo, so I wish them luck.

On the other hand, it seems that various other countries will be spending money propping up Kosovo for many years into the future, and this is not good, for at least three reasons.

  1. What have the Kosovans ever done to deserve this generosity? I wish them luck, but I don't feel that I owe them money.
  2. Interference in the affairs of other countries may or not be justified in principle, but in practice it often seems to turn out unhappily.
  3. As Kosovo becomes accustomed to being propped up by other countries, it may become permanently incapable of looking after itself.

The world could do with some kind of international law and some kind of international organization(s) to enforce it. It's neither satisfactory in principle nor successful in practice for powerful countries to send their armies all over the world trying to enforce whatever they happen to think is right at the time.

Various people have already pointed out that, if Kosovo's independence holds, this will encourage separatist movements in other countries. Indeed, I suppose it will, and I wish the best of luck to all such movements that have majority support within their regions.

I'm amused to see that, also today, residents of Berwick-upon-Tweed, the northernmost town in England, have voted in an unofficial poll to leave England and become part of Scotland.

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