Bush In Kosovo: Precedent For U.S. Southwest?


On his trip to Albania last week, obsequious crowds greeted President George W. Bush with praise and adoration.

Why?

Answer: In what must have been an atmosphere of relief from his low approval rating at home, Bush gave his endorsement to the long-held dream of the Kosovo Liberation Army?the severance of the Albanian-majority province of Kosovo from Serbia.

The President`s words on the matter were plain. But their consequences are significant and ominous, especially when juxtaposed with his recent support of the bipartisan immigration reformbill that has stalled in the Senate.  

By saying this, President Bush has openly placed himself in the camp of ethnic separatism both at home and abroad

Since the thirteenth century, ethnic Serbians inhabited and administered the province of Kosovo. They consider it to be the cradle of their culture and history.  But between 1876 and 1912, Muslim Albanians, favored by the Ottoman Empire, slowly migrated into Kosovo and displaced the resident Serb population.

Sound familiar?

During the 1980s, when Serbia was part of the Communist-ruled federation of Yugoslavia, Albanians in Kosovo, now the majority, rioted and protested, demanding autonomy. Serbs living in the province were harassed and physically attacked.

After the collapse of Yugoslavia, the Albanian majority took up arms in Kosovo to sever the province from Serbia once and for all. Their aim: eventual unification with Albania, Kosovo`s independent neighbor. 

The Serbs fought back. But, for reasons that deserve more scrutiny than they have received, the U.S. and NATO intervened on the side of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Ever since, Kosovo has been under United Nations administration.

In 2001, armed Albanians began another similar uprising in neighboring Macedonia, but without success.

The simple fact that President Bush chose Albania as a platform for his defense of the independence of Kosovo, and his reception by thousands of sycophantic Albanians exposes the harsh reality of what an “independent” Kosovo really means.

Like the National Council of La Raza and other Chicano groups in the Southwestern United States, the Albanian nationalists whom Bush supports have taken full advantage of their perceived status as victims of injustice to achieve their own ends. 

The question remains: if George W. Bush is in favor of such irredentism in the Balkans, how does he feel about it here?  

He gave his answer when he openly supported Senator McCain and Senator Kennedy`s Amnesty/Immigration Surge bill. It would open the floodgates to immigration in the Southwest and give citizenship to millions of Mexican nationalists who, like the Albanians in Kosovo, have no love for their adopted country and who seek the eventual cultural and political severance of large swaths of territory.

It would be prudent to take heed of Russia`s warning: President Bush`s endorsement of independence for Kosovo would set a dangerous precedent for other breakaway regions.  

But why should anyone be surprised by his support of this behavior overseas—when he is all too willing to support it at home?

Michael Kleen (email him) is a concerned citizen from central Illinois who is a writer on local history, fiction, and the publisher of a small art and culture digital magazine, Black Oak Presents