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A crisis that Albin Kurti did not produce
Albin Kurti is being billed for a crisis he would like to solve - rightly or wrongly - by consuming it to its entire extent, but he did not produce it himself. His insistence on melting the frozen conflict of the north of Kosovo seems brave to some and foolish to others.
Brave and foolish he may be, but Kurti is not given credit for another dimension, the wisdom to produce, with both bravery and foolishness, an unlocking result for his country.
The roots of the crisis are deep, but the permission to create Serbian enclaves in the north of Kosovo, despite the country's constitutional principle and strict international monitoring of the qualities of a multi-ethnic republic, has provided a fuse to the conflicting future. The roots lie in what, over the last few years, can be considered an appeasement policy towards an increasingly cynical Belgrade from a double-speaking West regarding the Russian threat and its Balkan variables.
In this sense, the impression that arises when observing the West's bizarre relationship with Serbia is Yugonostalgia. Serbia has contoured the political idiom of a mini-Yugoslavia, whose open non-engagement with the adversary is enough to be treated as an ally. The language of American conservatives, "either with us or against us," has been silenced by the idiom of the new leftist cancel culture, which seeks to push the world and history forward on one condition: not looking back!
The license for this golden mean has reproduced a cynical Serbia led by Aleksandër Vucic, the former minister of Slobodan Milosevic. He is not entirely anti-Western, just as he is not wholly pan-Russian, but what he is undoubtedly is already known: a harvester of the grapes of Western insecurity that, squeezed, produces for Serbia a brandy that warms the breast of permanent Serbian nationalism.
What Albin Kurti does wrong is not stubbornness, but softness, falling in front of the illusion of international support for the introduction of the Republic of Kosovo into the Serbian enclaves in the north, at first using the soft power of the elections, and then by the hard power of the police force. Prime Minister Kurti was wrong when he let his political self be pushed by a YES of the internationals, who have the luxury of analyzing an event after it has happened. That "Yes" for the elections in some municipalities, where about 2-4 percent of the electorate participated, has turned into "No" or its variant (you can do the elections, but not exercise their verdict).
Kurti, maybe sovereign with Kosovo's constitution and international conventions, but he is not legitimate and coherent. The Kosovar Prime Minister has called Secretary Blinken 'naive.' Still, he showed naivety when he accepted the later support to operationalize the frozen institutions of the north through a pair of elections, which have ballot boxes, but do not produce solutions.
Not calculating the Serbian readiness to produce violence and the antidote to any solution that comes from Pristina and not from Belgrade does not suit a politician who has passed from the violence of Serbia's prisons to the catacombs of the politics of the newest Republic in the world.
Even though the international officials use dual language, which blames the perpetrator of violence and the sufferers at the same time, even though Kurti has taken advantage of that incomplete path of what can be called international goodwill, he must understand that, for the sake of Kosovo, it is better to wait with the Americans over the Ibri bridge, than to cross the bridge without them and enter a territory, which since 1389 exudes insecurity and anti-Albanian anxiety.
Kosovo owes to the Americans not only when they are correct but also when they are wrong.
After knowing this, the rush here in Tirana to treat Albin Kurti as anti-American is a political and national disgrace. It is not an attitude nor a realistic geopolitical reading, but revenge by other means for a prime minister, who has harnassed the integrity of a head of state that in Tirana has been lost for in the confusion of bets with the delusion of grandeur.
Projecting a sovereignist Kurti and experiencing this as the betrayal of Euro-Atlanticism, from almost the same seed that comes from the old branch of those who swore about the Warsaw Treaty and isolation in all the languages of the Communist East, is a curse we must endure.
The independence of Pristina, both from Tirana and even more extraordinary powers, proves that Kosova is looking towards the West.
Because, dear friends and enemies, ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing more Western than the courage to say "No" and the right to understand that submission to the threat of violence is its legitimation.