America attacked

Serbian mobs over-ran the U.S. embassy in Belgrade and set part of it on fire. See this. This was part of a protest of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia, which the United States is expected to recognize.

Since embassies are considered sovereign soil of the nation they represent, this means that American territory was attacked and invaded.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    Under international law, this is the same as if they started a riot in NYC. But the bigger problem is why we are going to recognize Kosovo. The Balkans are full of little ethnic pockets of Serbs, Croats, Albanians etc. etc. if every little enclave decides to declare independence we are going to have about 10 new countries. In fact, with in Kosovo there is a very substantial Serbian minority should we now recognize their right to independence? After all the only ground Kosovo has is that it is majority Albanian. There never has been a Kosovo as a independent state at any other time in history. Kosovo has not even been traditionally Albanian. That only occurred due to Albanian refugees flocking to Kosovo in the last century. Pat Buchanan (for all his many faults) has hit this problem squarely in his latest column:

    On Sunday, Kosovo declared independence and was recognized by the European Union and President Bush. But this is not the end of the story. It is only the preface to a new history of the Balkans, a region that has known too much history.

    By intervening in a civil war to aid the secession of an ancient province, to create a new nation that has never before existed and, to erect it along ethnic, religious and tribal lines, we have established a dangerous precedent. Muslim and Albanian extremists are already talking of a Greater Albania, consisting of Albania, Kosovo and the Albanian-Muslim sectors of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

    If these Albanian minorities should demand the right to secede and join their kinsmen in Kosovo, on what grounds would we oppose them? The inviolability of borders? What if the Serb majority in the Mitrovica region of northern Kosovo, who reject Albanian rule, secede and call on their kinsmen in Serbia to protect them?

    Would we go to war against Serbia, once again, to maintain the territorial integrity of Kosovo, after we played the lead role in destroying the territorial integrity of Serbia?

    Inside the U.S.-sponsored Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the autonomous Serb Republic of Srpska is already talking secession and unification with Serbia. On what grounds would we deny them?

    The U.S. war on Serbia was unconstitutional, unjust and unwise. Congress never authorized it. Serbia, an ally in two world wars, had never attacked us. We made an enemy of the Serbs, and alienated Russia, to create a second Muslim state in the Balkans.

    By intervening in a civil war where no vital interest was at risk, the United States, which is being denounced as loudly in Belgrade today as we are being cheered in Pristina, has acquired another dependency. And our new allies, the KLA, have been credibly charged with human trafficking, drug dealing, atrocities and terrorism.

    And the clamor for ethnic self-rule has only begun to be heard.

    Rumania has refused to recognize the new Republic of Kosovo, for the best of reasons.
    Bucharest rules a large Hungarian minority in Transylvania, acquired at the same Paris Peace Conference of 1919 where Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were detached from Vienna and united with Serbia.

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two provinces that have broken away from Georgia, are invoking the Kosovo precedent to demand recognition as independent nations. As our NATO expansionists are anxious to bring Georgia into NATO, here is yet another occasion for a potential Washington-Moscow clash.

    Spain, too, opposed the severing of Kosovo from Serbia, as Madrid faces similar demands from Basque and Catalan separatists.

    The Muslim world will enthusiastically endorse the creation of a new Muslim state in Europe at the expense of Orthodox Christian Serbs. But Turkey is also likely to re-raise the issue as to why the EU and United States do not formally recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Like Kosovo, it, too, is an ethnically homogeneous community that declared independence 25 years ago.

    Breakaway Transneistria is seeking independence from Moldova, the nation wedged between Rumania and Ukraine, and President Putin of Russia has threatened to recognize it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in retaliation for the West’s recognition of Kosovo.

    If Putin pauses, it will be because he recognizes that of all the nations of Europe, Russia is high among those most threatened by the serial Balkanization we may have just reignited in the Balkans.

  • Joe

    Under international law, this is the same as if they started a riot in NYC. But the bigger problem is why we are going to recognize Kosovo. The Balkans are full of little ethnic pockets of Serbs, Croats, Albanians etc. etc. if every little enclave decides to declare independence we are going to have about 10 new countries. In fact, with in Kosovo there is a very substantial Serbian minority should we now recognize their right to independence? After all the only ground Kosovo has is that it is majority Albanian. There never has been a Kosovo as a independent state at any other time in history. Kosovo has not even been traditionally Albanian. That only occurred due to Albanian refugees flocking to Kosovo in the last century. Pat Buchanan (for all his many faults) has hit this problem squarely in his latest column:

    On Sunday, Kosovo declared independence and was recognized by the European Union and President Bush. But this is not the end of the story. It is only the preface to a new history of the Balkans, a region that has known too much history.

    By intervening in a civil war to aid the secession of an ancient province, to create a new nation that has never before existed and, to erect it along ethnic, religious and tribal lines, we have established a dangerous precedent. Muslim and Albanian extremists are already talking of a Greater Albania, consisting of Albania, Kosovo and the Albanian-Muslim sectors of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

    If these Albanian minorities should demand the right to secede and join their kinsmen in Kosovo, on what grounds would we oppose them? The inviolability of borders? What if the Serb majority in the Mitrovica region of northern Kosovo, who reject Albanian rule, secede and call on their kinsmen in Serbia to protect them?

    Would we go to war against Serbia, once again, to maintain the territorial integrity of Kosovo, after we played the lead role in destroying the territorial integrity of Serbia?

    Inside the U.S.-sponsored Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the autonomous Serb Republic of Srpska is already talking secession and unification with Serbia. On what grounds would we deny them?

    The U.S. war on Serbia was unconstitutional, unjust and unwise. Congress never authorized it. Serbia, an ally in two world wars, had never attacked us. We made an enemy of the Serbs, and alienated Russia, to create a second Muslim state in the Balkans.

    By intervening in a civil war where no vital interest was at risk, the United States, which is being denounced as loudly in Belgrade today as we are being cheered in Pristina, has acquired another dependency. And our new allies, the KLA, have been credibly charged with human trafficking, drug dealing, atrocities and terrorism.

    And the clamor for ethnic self-rule has only begun to be heard.

    Rumania has refused to recognize the new Republic of Kosovo, for the best of reasons.
    Bucharest rules a large Hungarian minority in Transylvania, acquired at the same Paris Peace Conference of 1919 where Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were detached from Vienna and united with Serbia.

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two provinces that have broken away from Georgia, are invoking the Kosovo precedent to demand recognition as independent nations. As our NATO expansionists are anxious to bring Georgia into NATO, here is yet another occasion for a potential Washington-Moscow clash.

    Spain, too, opposed the severing of Kosovo from Serbia, as Madrid faces similar demands from Basque and Catalan separatists.

    The Muslim world will enthusiastically endorse the creation of a new Muslim state in Europe at the expense of Orthodox Christian Serbs. But Turkey is also likely to re-raise the issue as to why the EU and United States do not formally recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Like Kosovo, it, too, is an ethnically homogeneous community that declared independence 25 years ago.

    Breakaway Transneistria is seeking independence from Moldova, the nation wedged between Rumania and Ukraine, and President Putin of Russia has threatened to recognize it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in retaliation for the West’s recognition of Kosovo.

    If Putin pauses, it will be because he recognizes that of all the nations of Europe, Russia is high among those most threatened by the serial Balkanization we may have just reignited in the Balkans.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I don’t know how we can afford another war. This has to stop.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I don’t know how we can afford another war. This has to stop.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Exactly where were the guards? Aren’t the Marines usually responsible for this?

    And yes, Joe’s got a point. That part of the world is paying dearly for the historic rivalries between Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Turkey. Add to that the tendency of one party to pillage another via taxation, and it’s a political Gordian knot.

    Best to remember Bismarck’s words on this; not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Not that Serbs & Albanians aren’t worth anything, but we certainly don’t have anything to gain by getting in the fight.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Exactly where were the guards? Aren’t the Marines usually responsible for this?

    And yes, Joe’s got a point. That part of the world is paying dearly for the historic rivalries between Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Turkey. Add to that the tendency of one party to pillage another via taxation, and it’s a political Gordian knot.

    Best to remember Bismarck’s words on this; not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Not that Serbs & Albanians aren’t worth anything, but we certainly don’t have anything to gain by getting in the fight.

  • Joe

    From what I heard on the news, the Marines evacuated the ambassador and staff and destroyed all the sensitive files – but what I can’t fathom (as a former member of the military) is how they thought the evacuation was complete when they left the flag behind. That is just not acceptable.

  • Joe

    From what I heard on the news, the Marines evacuated the ambassador and staff and destroyed all the sensitive files – but what I can’t fathom (as a former member of the military) is how they thought the evacuation was complete when they left the flag behind. That is just not acceptable.

  • kerner

    Joe, Pat Buchanan’s article is interesting. But I wonder: what are the proper criteria for deciding on the legitimacy of a declaration of independence?

    Are there any objective criteria, or do countries just make the decision to recognize or reject a secessionist state based on their own self interest?

    In the grand scheme of things, does any country have the “right” to exist? Is it simply a question of power (to secede or be forced to stay)?

    Does any government have a “right” to the territory it controls, or just the power to hold it?

    I am honestly unsure of the answers.

  • kerner

    Joe, Pat Buchanan’s article is interesting. But I wonder: what are the proper criteria for deciding on the legitimacy of a declaration of independence?

    Are there any objective criteria, or do countries just make the decision to recognize or reject a secessionist state based on their own self interest?

    In the grand scheme of things, does any country have the “right” to exist? Is it simply a question of power (to secede or be forced to stay)?

    Does any government have a “right” to the territory it controls, or just the power to hold it?

    I am honestly unsure of the answers.

  • Larry

    Imagine if the Alamo were seized by the UN and returned, along with 1/4 of Texas, to Mexico by Russian and Chinese UN troops because the population of that part of Texas was mostly Mexican anyway and the Texas authorities had been cracking down on violent Mexican attacks on police stations in the area and a brilliant Mexican propaganda campaign convinced Europeans and Asians that it was some sort of genocide against the Mexicans there…

    This is exactly the same situation as Kosovo. Do you wonder how most “American” Texans would react to such a thing? Probably with a lot more violence than the Serbs have shown so far would be my guess. In my opinion the Serbs have been acting with great restraint

  • Larry

    Imagine if the Alamo were seized by the UN and returned, along with 1/4 of Texas, to Mexico by Russian and Chinese UN troops because the population of that part of Texas was mostly Mexican anyway and the Texas authorities had been cracking down on violent Mexican attacks on police stations in the area and a brilliant Mexican propaganda campaign convinced Europeans and Asians that it was some sort of genocide against the Mexicans there…

    This is exactly the same situation as Kosovo. Do you wonder how most “American” Texans would react to such a thing? Probably with a lot more violence than the Serbs have shown so far would be my guess. In my opinion the Serbs have been acting with great restraint

  • kerner

    Larry,

    Well, yeah. But Imagine that northeastern Mexico had had a lot of American immigration and had declared itself the independent republic of Texas because the American settlers didn’t want to live under Mexican law. Oh wait, you don’t have to imagine. That’s what actually happened.

    Or imagine that the Southern portion of the United States, which had only joined the United States with the understanding that they were sovereign states and would remain so, decided that their culture was different from the rest of the United States and that they would secede. Oh yeah, that’s what actually happened as well.

    I remain in the dark as to whether there are any objective standards for when secession is right or wrong. Do we simply support secession when secession is in our interest, and do we simply oppose secession when opposition is in our interest?

    Where is the right or wrong in this? I begin to think that governments control territory simply because they can. And when they lose territory, it is because they are too weak to hold it anymore. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. So, where do right and wrong enter the picture?

  • kerner

    Larry,

    Well, yeah. But Imagine that northeastern Mexico had had a lot of American immigration and had declared itself the independent republic of Texas because the American settlers didn’t want to live under Mexican law. Oh wait, you don’t have to imagine. That’s what actually happened.

    Or imagine that the Southern portion of the United States, which had only joined the United States with the understanding that they were sovereign states and would remain so, decided that their culture was different from the rest of the United States and that they would secede. Oh yeah, that’s what actually happened as well.

    I remain in the dark as to whether there are any objective standards for when secession is right or wrong. Do we simply support secession when secession is in our interest, and do we simply oppose secession when opposition is in our interest?

    Where is the right or wrong in this? I begin to think that governments control territory simply because they can. And when they lose territory, it is because they are too weak to hold it anymore. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. So, where do right and wrong enter the picture?

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    I had a great dinner served by the Serbian Orthodox in Lansing, Illinois once. And it’s the only place I’ve ever been able to buy pure frankincense off the shelf.

    That covers a multitude of sins.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    I had a great dinner served by the Serbian Orthodox in Lansing, Illinois once. And it’s the only place I’ve ever been able to buy pure frankincense off the shelf.

    That covers a multitude of sins.

  • Joe

    Kerner – the use of an objective standard is the problem in this case. Right now the US is recognizing Kosovo only because it is almost purely ethnically Albanian. Whether a country is recognized has almost always been based on subjective self-interest (and forgive me) it should be. That is what international politics always is – protect the homeland and our allies. What I can’t understand is how anyone in our State Dept. thinks this is in our best interest. This reasoning is very dangerous because it is objective. How do you now say no to anyone else.

    Are we now going to reverse policy in Iraq and recognize Kurdistan? And if not why? It meets the new standard.

  • Joe

    Kerner – the use of an objective standard is the problem in this case. Right now the US is recognizing Kosovo only because it is almost purely ethnically Albanian. Whether a country is recognized has almost always been based on subjective self-interest (and forgive me) it should be. That is what international politics always is – protect the homeland and our allies. What I can’t understand is how anyone in our State Dept. thinks this is in our best interest. This reasoning is very dangerous because it is objective. How do you now say no to anyone else.

    Are we now going to reverse policy in Iraq and recognize Kurdistan? And if not why? It meets the new standard.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Joe (@9), you ask, “How do [we] now say no to anyone else”? But doesn’t your question assume that the U.S. is consistent in its dealings with other states? And isn’t that easily disproved? Consider Taiwan — if it were in rebellion from Mongolia, do you really think we’d fail to recognize its independence? There is no consistency in our actions as best as I can tell, only self interest.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Joe (@9), you ask, “How do [we] now say no to anyone else”? But doesn’t your question assume that the U.S. is consistent in its dealings with other states? And isn’t that easily disproved? Consider Taiwan — if it were in rebellion from Mongolia, do you really think we’d fail to recognize its independence? There is no consistency in our actions as best as I can tell, only self interest.

  • kerner

    I think that the United States wants very much to have it both ways. We want to do good. But we also want to do well (for ourselves). So, whenever our foreign policy is self serving (which it almost always is) we try to find some objectively “good” motivation for it. Because, as Americans, we are always the “good guys”, or we want to think we are.

    To the rest of the world this often makes us seem like a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites. But, I am kind of glad that we at least TRY to be the good guys. I mean, if you don’t at least try to do good, you probably won’t. It may irritate a lot of people when we fall short of our ideals (which, I am forced to admit, happens a lot), but I think the fact that we feel the need to have ideals at all is one of our better qualities.

  • kerner

    I think that the United States wants very much to have it both ways. We want to do good. But we also want to do well (for ourselves). So, whenever our foreign policy is self serving (which it almost always is) we try to find some objectively “good” motivation for it. Because, as Americans, we are always the “good guys”, or we want to think we are.

    To the rest of the world this often makes us seem like a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites. But, I am kind of glad that we at least TRY to be the good guys. I mean, if you don’t at least try to do good, you probably won’t. It may irritate a lot of people when we fall short of our ideals (which, I am forced to admit, happens a lot), but I think the fact that we feel the need to have ideals at all is one of our better qualities.

  • Joe

    tODD – My point was about the reason we said yes to Kosovo. It is a purely objective standard without qualification. I don’t want an objective standard in the decision to recognize a country. The recognition or non-recognition of a country greatly impacts that country. It bears on the level of access to our markets that will be allowed, whether they can be a party to treaties we sign, etc. We used to say no we can’t recognize your country because to do so would de-stabilize the region (see Kurdistan) or because the country your breaking away from is an ally that doesn’t want you to be independent (see the Basques) or because we don’t like you for X reason. And we have generally had just as subjective reasons for saying yes. Now, we have used this purely objective standard – Kosovo is almost completely ethnically Albanian. It sets a bad precedent.

    I am not looking for the US’s foreign policy to be totally consistent with regard to the recognition of new countries. In the words of Emerson, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a small mind.”

  • Joe

    tODD – My point was about the reason we said yes to Kosovo. It is a purely objective standard without qualification. I don’t want an objective standard in the decision to recognize a country. The recognition or non-recognition of a country greatly impacts that country. It bears on the level of access to our markets that will be allowed, whether they can be a party to treaties we sign, etc. We used to say no we can’t recognize your country because to do so would de-stabilize the region (see Kurdistan) or because the country your breaking away from is an ally that doesn’t want you to be independent (see the Basques) or because we don’t like you for X reason. And we have generally had just as subjective reasons for saying yes. Now, we have used this purely objective standard – Kosovo is almost completely ethnically Albanian. It sets a bad precedent.

    I am not looking for the US’s foreign policy to be totally consistent with regard to the recognition of new countries. In the words of Emerson, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a small mind.”

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Joe (@12), you said, “We used to say no we can’t recognize your country because to do so would de-stabilize the region (see Kurdistan) or because the country your breaking away from is an ally that doesn’t want you to be independent (see the Basques) or because we don’t like you for X reason.”

    Did we actually say anything like that? Can you point to something? I might believe those were the underlying reasons, but it would seem rather undiplomatic to be so blunt.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Joe (@12), you said, “We used to say no we can’t recognize your country because to do so would de-stabilize the region (see Kurdistan) or because the country your breaking away from is an ally that doesn’t want you to be independent (see the Basques) or because we don’t like you for X reason.”

    Did we actually say anything like that? Can you point to something? I might believe those were the underlying reasons, but it would seem rather undiplomatic to be so blunt.


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