World
Pyotr Iskenderov
October 31, 2012
© Photo: Public domain

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clintons global African-Balkan tour, which started on the 29th October, cannot be found anything but remarkable. First of all, it is the last major action of the head of the U.S. State Department before the presidential elections in the country. Clinton has already made it clear that she is unlikely to remain at her post, regardless of the outcome of the vote. And now she's in a hurry to record the achievements of U.S. foreign policy in North Africa, and especially in the Balkans.

 No less important is the fact that on a trip to South-East Europe, she was accompanied by the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton. And when you consider that a few days earlier, the Balkans had already been visited by the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, one can say that the three Western powers sent the Balkan countries a joint message of some kind.

If we ignore the position of the internal problems in Algeria, Bosnia – Herzegovina and Croatia, that Clinton is scheduled to visit, we should recognize that the message is addressed, primarily, to Serbia. In the interpretation of the meaning of the message Hague expressed it thus: «the map of the Balkans is complete». This can be read as: Kosovo is taken away from Serbia forever, the partition from Serbian and Albanian regions, also, is not subject to review.

Hillary Clinton and Catherine Ashton regarded as of paramount importance a recently held meeting in Brussels, of the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ivica Dacic and the Head of the Government of Kosovo Hashim Thaci. According to the U.S. State Department, both demanded that Belgrade and Pristina «respect the previously reached agreement» and take new steps towards rapprochement. According to the Kosovo Albanian-language media, this convergence will be clothed in a draft agreement already prepared by the U.S. administration. This document should be signed by the senior leaders of Serbia and Kosovo. It is assumed that certain rights of the Kosovo Serbs will be guaranteed, but no special administrative status for the northern (Serb) regions of Kosovo will be attached. In addition, the document must fix an abandonment of any kind of support from the Serbian authorities to the Kosovo Serbs under the Serbian Constitution. Washington and Brussels expect this act of surrender by the Serbs to be signed by the President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, which will allow the West to consider the Kosovo «dossier» closed by the United States and its NATO allies.

The appearance of this plan was a surprise even for a part of the Kosovo-Albanian political elite. In any case, the chairman of the Assembly of Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi, was kept in the dark. According to the newspaper «Zeri ', Hashim Thaci deliberately' ignored 'the speaker of the parliament and did not inform him about the meeting with Ivica Dacic, being afraid to provoke a scandal because of his actions, in bypassing parliament. According to the eminent Pristina scientist Avni Zogyani , for the early conclusion of an agreement with Belgrade, it is better Hashim Thaci deals with Kosovo President Atifete Yahyaga and not Krasniqi because she, unlike the Speaker, «has no political position» and is therefore not able to create any problems for this project. According to «Zeri», through their own channels the EU leadership brought to Thaci`s attention that he refrain from public discussion of talks with Belgrade, as «Brussels and the United States have already set the agenda for the discussions». The Kosovo premier, however, hinted to the British foreign minister, that he did not expect Belgrade to recognize Kosovo's independence «in the coming months». In addition, further developments may affect the balance of power inside the EU.

The reasons for the growing solidarity in the Washington – Brussels – London triangle, seems to be associated with a growing schism within the EU of the Anglo-Saxon and Franco-German camps. Primarily the catalyst for the split is a dispute about the way out of the financial and economic crisis. Speaking in geopolitical terms, it is a struggle in the concept of the «strong» and «weak» in Europe… 

Germany, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries and to a lesser extent France agree with the first concept. They insist on compliance in the established rules of the game in the EU that can make the organization even more centralized.

 The United Kingdom has traditionally led the opposing camp, seeking to prevent the strengthening of powers in continental Europe. The United States is in full agreement with this. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has repeatedly made it clear, that the financial crisis in the EU is not advantageous to Washington, but the United States wants to resolve the crisis not by strengthening Europe but to find solutions through debt issues by the more prosperous countries led by Germany. London has taken the same position. In the words of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, «Britain is much more likely than any other country, to readily anticipate the intentions of the U.S. and put them at the head of its European policy».

The appearance of this camp is due to the failure of the Brussels bureaucracy at the October EU summit, which was unable to adopt any of the ready-made solutions for the financial and economic bloc. And this failure, in turn, was caused by the reluctance of Angela Merkel to make concessions to the leadership of the EU by German taxpayers. Especially in consideration of the upcoming elections next year in Germany. However, the problems have not gone away, and a decision has only been delayed by several weeks. Experts from outside of Europe do not have high hopes for an improvement in the situation, expecting only the preservation of the status quo. Tim Leung, one of the heads of the IG Investment company in Hong Kong observed that for the Asian markets to feel good a «lack of bad news from Europe,” would be enough.

Permit us to project, at least three important trends for the whole of Europe.

Firstly, the continued efforts of Washington and London to strengthen their alliance, forcing other EU member states to the Anglo-Saxon view of the world. The growth of eurosceptic sentiment may expand this block at the expense of Central and Eastern Europe, many of which are oriented more to Washington than to Brussels.

Secondly, political bargaining within the conglomerate EU / NATO will become of more and more importance, providing an «exchange of concessions». This simple idea was openly formulated by Gerhard Schroeder, who stressed at the time that «participation in the Kosovo operation (the bombing of Yugoslavia, by NATO members in 1999), as well as later in November 2001, agreement to the operation in Afghanistan, provided us with the freedom to say «no» to the war in Iraq».

Third and finally, there is the increased threat of separate actions by individual Atlantic powers in certain crisis situations. Thus, in 2011, the Franco-German rivalry prompted then French President Nicolas Sarkozy to intervene in Libya, in alliance with Britain and the United States. Similar military-political combinations, made up of some European NATO members under the auspices of Washington, can arise in connection with the plans of the West against Syria and or Iran.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
EU Autumn Marathon

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clintons global African-Balkan tour, which started on the 29th October, cannot be found anything but remarkable. First of all, it is the last major action of the head of the U.S. State Department before the presidential elections in the country. Clinton has already made it clear that she is unlikely to remain at her post, regardless of the outcome of the vote. And now she's in a hurry to record the achievements of U.S. foreign policy in North Africa, and especially in the Balkans.

 No less important is the fact that on a trip to South-East Europe, she was accompanied by the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton. And when you consider that a few days earlier, the Balkans had already been visited by the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, one can say that the three Western powers sent the Balkan countries a joint message of some kind.

If we ignore the position of the internal problems in Algeria, Bosnia – Herzegovina and Croatia, that Clinton is scheduled to visit, we should recognize that the message is addressed, primarily, to Serbia. In the interpretation of the meaning of the message Hague expressed it thus: «the map of the Balkans is complete». This can be read as: Kosovo is taken away from Serbia forever, the partition from Serbian and Albanian regions, also, is not subject to review.

Hillary Clinton and Catherine Ashton regarded as of paramount importance a recently held meeting in Brussels, of the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ivica Dacic and the Head of the Government of Kosovo Hashim Thaci. According to the U.S. State Department, both demanded that Belgrade and Pristina «respect the previously reached agreement» and take new steps towards rapprochement. According to the Kosovo Albanian-language media, this convergence will be clothed in a draft agreement already prepared by the U.S. administration. This document should be signed by the senior leaders of Serbia and Kosovo. It is assumed that certain rights of the Kosovo Serbs will be guaranteed, but no special administrative status for the northern (Serb) regions of Kosovo will be attached. In addition, the document must fix an abandonment of any kind of support from the Serbian authorities to the Kosovo Serbs under the Serbian Constitution. Washington and Brussels expect this act of surrender by the Serbs to be signed by the President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, which will allow the West to consider the Kosovo «dossier» closed by the United States and its NATO allies.

The appearance of this plan was a surprise even for a part of the Kosovo-Albanian political elite. In any case, the chairman of the Assembly of Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi, was kept in the dark. According to the newspaper «Zeri ', Hashim Thaci deliberately' ignored 'the speaker of the parliament and did not inform him about the meeting with Ivica Dacic, being afraid to provoke a scandal because of his actions, in bypassing parliament. According to the eminent Pristina scientist Avni Zogyani , for the early conclusion of an agreement with Belgrade, it is better Hashim Thaci deals with Kosovo President Atifete Yahyaga and not Krasniqi because she, unlike the Speaker, «has no political position» and is therefore not able to create any problems for this project. According to «Zeri», through their own channels the EU leadership brought to Thaci`s attention that he refrain from public discussion of talks with Belgrade, as «Brussels and the United States have already set the agenda for the discussions». The Kosovo premier, however, hinted to the British foreign minister, that he did not expect Belgrade to recognize Kosovo's independence «in the coming months». In addition, further developments may affect the balance of power inside the EU.

The reasons for the growing solidarity in the Washington – Brussels – London triangle, seems to be associated with a growing schism within the EU of the Anglo-Saxon and Franco-German camps. Primarily the catalyst for the split is a dispute about the way out of the financial and economic crisis. Speaking in geopolitical terms, it is a struggle in the concept of the «strong» and «weak» in Europe… 

Germany, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries and to a lesser extent France agree with the first concept. They insist on compliance in the established rules of the game in the EU that can make the organization even more centralized.

 The United Kingdom has traditionally led the opposing camp, seeking to prevent the strengthening of powers in continental Europe. The United States is in full agreement with this. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has repeatedly made it clear, that the financial crisis in the EU is not advantageous to Washington, but the United States wants to resolve the crisis not by strengthening Europe but to find solutions through debt issues by the more prosperous countries led by Germany. London has taken the same position. In the words of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, «Britain is much more likely than any other country, to readily anticipate the intentions of the U.S. and put them at the head of its European policy».

The appearance of this camp is due to the failure of the Brussels bureaucracy at the October EU summit, which was unable to adopt any of the ready-made solutions for the financial and economic bloc. And this failure, in turn, was caused by the reluctance of Angela Merkel to make concessions to the leadership of the EU by German taxpayers. Especially in consideration of the upcoming elections next year in Germany. However, the problems have not gone away, and a decision has only been delayed by several weeks. Experts from outside of Europe do not have high hopes for an improvement in the situation, expecting only the preservation of the status quo. Tim Leung, one of the heads of the IG Investment company in Hong Kong observed that for the Asian markets to feel good a «lack of bad news from Europe,” would be enough.

Permit us to project, at least three important trends for the whole of Europe.

Firstly, the continued efforts of Washington and London to strengthen their alliance, forcing other EU member states to the Anglo-Saxon view of the world. The growth of eurosceptic sentiment may expand this block at the expense of Central and Eastern Europe, many of which are oriented more to Washington than to Brussels.

Secondly, political bargaining within the conglomerate EU / NATO will become of more and more importance, providing an «exchange of concessions». This simple idea was openly formulated by Gerhard Schroeder, who stressed at the time that «participation in the Kosovo operation (the bombing of Yugoslavia, by NATO members in 1999), as well as later in November 2001, agreement to the operation in Afghanistan, provided us with the freedom to say «no» to the war in Iraq».

Third and finally, there is the increased threat of separate actions by individual Atlantic powers in certain crisis situations. Thus, in 2011, the Franco-German rivalry prompted then French President Nicolas Sarkozy to intervene in Libya, in alliance with Britain and the United States. Similar military-political combinations, made up of some European NATO members under the auspices of Washington, can arise in connection with the plans of the West against Syria and or Iran.