Time magazine estimates the number of the participants of the today's "Kosovo is Serbia" rally in Belgrade to be around 500,000 (some others as 150,000-200,000), probably the greatest Serbian rally ever, surpassing anti-Miloševič democratic rallies in 2000. The number of people who are upset and who were able to gather on a single place is more than 1/4 of those who are supposed to be happier because of the "new country" that some people try to create.
It is unfortunate but not too surprising that a few hundreds of more passionate participants chose a more radical path and tried to burn the U.S. embassy. Well, 15% of the territory is equivalent to tens of thousands of such buildings so whether one such particular building is damaged is probably not one of the most relevant things right now. And those who would suggest that they didn't expect that there would be such attacks in reaction to the recognition of the secession seem to lack the sense of political reality and empathy which makes them rather inappropriate people for international politics.
Also, a charred body (probably a Serbian patriot) was found in the U.S. embassy which is even more sad but if you study the regional history, you will find out that a similar-size change of borders in the Balkans usually costs about 30,000 of lives in average so you should better neglect the body, too.
The only exception was the peaceful 1908 annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary. However, six years later, Danilo Ilić et al. were still so angry at Austria-Hungary that they killed a guy named Franz Ferdinand and his wife - who happened to be the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne - and a world war began, killing 40 million. ;-/
The happy colors above quantify the degree of global consensus about the attempted independence of Kosovo. Red is against, orange is mostly against, light blue is for in the near future, dark blue is for right now, the yellowish color is neutrality, and the gray color means silence.
I was thinking what is the main reason why so many Western countries so hastily support something so irresponsible, dangerous, and - in my opinion - unfair. My conclusion is that it is the media's fault. It seems that the Western media have been feeding their audiences with extremely oversimplified, biased, black-and-white, anti-Serbian, pro-Albanian stories from the Balkans. While one might hope that the audiences are not stupid to buy similar nonsense, the reality is different. Most of the audiences of course buy this crap. And many of them pay for it.
Most people don't listen to John Bolton who is against unilateral solutions, against terrible signals to the democracy-building Serbs, against support of Islamic extremism in Europe etc. I think he knows what he should know.
The contemporary media are obsessed with the underdogs. That's why various Smolins, loop quantum gravities, Garrett Lisis and loads of similar crap thrive in the media. That's why feminism and inverse racism has effectively become a part of the establishment. And sorry to say but that's also why Barack Obama is the leading presidential contender. Nothing against him, he is OK, but he could have only become the leading candidate because it is so cool to have such an underdog in the no-longer-quite-White House. ;-)
That's also why the ultrapoor Albanians are often almost painted as heroic warriors for freedom (and against the Serbian oppression?) even though they are just another nation that protects its own interests and uses both acceptable as unacceptable methods to do so. A nation that has killed many Serbs and burned their churches and that is falsifying the local history.
The current Kosovo prime minister Thaci is a criminal who was responsible for 10-15 percent for smuggling of arms, stolen cars, oil, cigarettes, and for prostitution, with numerous links to the Albanian mafia (more on his links). Is's somewhat hard for me to treat them as saints who are automatically given the moral right to divide and conquer countries.
With these indications, it is not too hard to believe that drug mafia is the entity that funded the Kosovo independence (bribes for the politicians who recognized it).
If all things are equal, I prefer top dogs over underdogs, based on some substantial criteria. However, in this postmodern era, underdogs according to substantial criteria automatically become top dogs according to the media criteria.
So are the Albanians white and are the Serbians black?
The actual situation couldn't be more different. The Balkans is a piece of land where the co-existence of various nations has always been difficult, territorial disputes and wars have taken place for centuries, and tough acts have occurred on all sides. More importantly, the Serbian nation is certainly not a bad nation that deserves to be screwed in this gigantic way that remotely resembles the Munich treaty.
Kosovo is Serbia's cradle. They know it from their songs and legends. Orthodox Serbia has been defending the Christian Europe against the Turks for quite some time. Perhaps the most famous battle against the Ottoman Empire was the 1389 battle of Kosovo. The Serbian army lost the battle and most of the 30,000-strong army and its leaders died. But it has become a legend.
That's why Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, a former dissident and Nobel prize winner, just sent greetings from his home in Vermont, calling on Serbs to "stand by your graves."
After the battle and similar battles, they partially evacuated Kosovo (moving to Vojvodina) and the Albanians started to spread over there. In the land that used to be purely Serbian for 500+ years, the population of the Albanian people started to increase. In the 19th century, it was already comparable to the Serbian population and in the 20th century, the Albanians surpassed the Serbians.
This process was amplified by Mussolini who supported a "Greater Albania" in order to hurt the Serbian state and was doing his best for these people to move to the Serbian territory. While Croatia happily lived under the Nazi protection, Serbia was revolting. So far, you can see that the Serbs have been on the "good side" in all major conflicts. They are no saints and all nations in the Balkans have a lot of temperament. But you won't find any rational reason for the focused anti-Serbian stereotypes that resemble Anti-Semitism lite.
Sadly enough, Josip Tito who was 50% Slovenian, 50% Croat wanted to subtly weaken the Serbs within Yugoslavia, too. That's why he created autonomous regions in Serbia but not in the remaining states of Yugoslavia - the seeds of future destruction - and why he allowed people to emigrate from the catastrophically hyperpoor neighboring communist country of Albania.
At the end, the Serbs became a minority on their own territory. A decade ago, I was disgusted by Miloševič's methods to achieve his goals and I was more or less grateful to the U.S.-led NATO for calming the situation down, adding Yugoslavia to the list of countries where the U.S. presence has been very useful.
If I had known that a few years later, so many resolutions, promises, and international conventions would be broken and a group of Western nations would openly join the separatists and try to cut 15% of the territory from Serbia, I would have had a different opinion and it is plausible that I would have considered the attempts to transfer the Albanians out of the province to be the best solution among the bad ones that existed in such a difficult situation.
A day ago or so, police has erected metal barricades and barbed wire to guarantee that the Serbs can't enter their territory, unlike 2 million people who shouldn't really be there at all if the law and decency were followed in the last 200 years. It's a new iron curtain but no one seems to care: we are building freedom, aren't we? The media will surely explain their audiences that it is a good iron curtain. They will also explain them that while unification is generally very good, in the case of the Balkans, the Balkanization is much better.
The Kosovo country, if it is born, will also be the least independent country in the world for many years because it will have to be controlled by NATO and the EU forces for quite some time. The media will explain it differently. If necessary, the Serbs will be presented as even worse devils than before, to make it clear that freedom has been brought to the region.
And while it is good to sacrifice thousands of lives in a Muslim country with a goal that recently became somewhat unclear, it is equally good to take 15% of a Christian country and give it to a poor Muslim nation for free to create its second Muslim-dominated country inside the eurozone. People will buy anything because most people are just way too dumb.
The current Serbian political representation has done the best to introduce democracy, freedom, and market economy to their country and they have dealt with their ethnic groups fairly, too. They probably hoped that they would simply be treated as full-fledged members of the democratic community of nations which is where they clearly belong today, many years after the authoritative legacy of Miloševič was terminated. Instead, they are being treated as villains whose country should be ruptured into pieces.
Nevertheless, they are - much like 70% of the Serbian population - brave enough to say that they still want to belong to the European Union sometime in the future. The president urges calm all the time. I am kind of impressed. After the 1938 Munich Betrayal - when Stalin (not to be confused with Putin) was the only big guy who opposed the change of borders - the Western powers have arguably lost more influence over the Czech minds than what they lost now over the Serbian minds. Ten years later, the Czech nation happily adopted Stalin's social system because of related experiences.
Some people seem to be very excited about the process of fragmentation of the Balkans - a process that is referred to as the Balkanization - and the tool kit that this partial success gives to radical groups in dozens of other problematic regions in the world. Well, some Americans think that Budapest is the capital of France which is not a country, unlike Europe.
But is it really necessary for them to try to influence things that they obviously cannot understand? Shouldn't the citizens of those Western countries that want to recognize the Kosovo Republic admit that they have problems to remember the location of the countries that exist today and the situation only becomes worse when new countries are created?
Can't they understand that a new country doesn't really solve anything? That Kosovo is a piece of land but certainly not one nation but a place where several different nations with co-existence difficulties live? Can't they get rid of their childish "Hooray, a new country is born: we are witnessing history!"?
Abraham Lincoln liked to ask: