Geopolitics in the Balkans: The US Is Back

A definitive clarification of relations between Kosovo and Serbia is not possible right now.

For several months, the U.S. has taken a leading role in shaping Western politics in the western Balkans, just as it did 20 or 30 years ago. That is in part because those in Washington are more aware now of the Kremlin’s intensifying attempts to sow unrest and disinformation there. But the colonialist manner in which some U.S. diplomats are pressuring the Kosovan government is not helping their aims, especially because it undermines existing democratic structures there and, with them, the implementation of a Pax Americana.

Instead, the focus of efforts to improve stability should be the insistence that the Serbian government maintain its contractual obligations to the EU. Once again, Serbia is the only candidate country that is not enforcing the new EU sanctions against Russia. Brussels seems too weak to compel Belgrade to act.

It thus remains unclear whether Serbia will agree to a pact with Kosovo that would at least preclude dangerous changes to its border. The Serbian government seems to be buying time for now, based on statements by President Aleksandar Vučić. A definitive clarification of relations between the two countries is not possible right now. More promising for Kosovo is membership in the Council of Europe, which would also be important for protecting minorities there, including Serbians.

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