Greater Selfishness is Lurking Behind US’ Seeming Impartiality

The sudden escalation of the situation in the Balkans in the past few days has drawn great concern from the international community. From May 26, when the Kosovo authorities forced the inauguration of the Albanian mayor, triggering protests and demonstrations from the Serbs, to May 29 when violent clashes broke out between NATO “peacekeeping” troops and Serb protesters, which injured dozens of people, and then to the commander of NATO’s “peacekeeping” troops in Kosovo’s latest warning that the situation there is very dangerous and that any incident could lead to an escalation of the situation, it makes people wonder whether conflicts in Kosovo, known as the “powder keg” of the Balkans, will resume. There are also concerns over a repeat of something similar to the 1999 Kosovo War.

In 1999, NATO brazenly launched a 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia, which not only resulted in a large number of casualties and property losses, but also left behind a hidden danger in this land. The bloody conflict this time is one of the consequences of this bane. Under the manipulation of the US and NATO, it was arranged for Kosovo, an autonomous province belonging to the former Yugoslav Republic of Serbia, to be administered by the United Nations as a transition. A few years later, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence and was immediately recognized by some Western countries. In other words, it was the US and NATO that forcibly divided Serbia through bombing and despicable political tactics. This is the root of that bane.

It should be said that the ins and outs of the escalation of tensions this time are clear. Serbs in four Serb-inhabited cities in northern Kosovo boycotted the “local election” in April because the Kosovo authorities forced them to change their license plates and refused to fulfill the requirements of the 2013 Brussels Agreement to establish a Serb self-governing body. In response to the election results, which had a turnout rate of less than 5 percent and only 1,500 voters, the Kosovo authorities insisted executing the result and even used special police to escort the “elected” candidates into the city hall, which triggered conflicts. Tensions between the two parties reached a peak.

Due to complex historical issues, reality, and ethnic and religious factors, the Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo have been in constant conflict over the years. The reason why the conflict between the two sides has reached the critical point of crisis outbreak recently is related to the imbalance in the political and security situation in Europe since the Ukraine crisis began. The reason why Pristina’s provisional self-governing institution took another unilateral action this time is obviously to fish in troubled waters and take advantage of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Of course, the institution calculated wrongly and did not realize that its actions caused troubles for the US and NATO, and stirred Washington’s focus on using Ukraine to weaken Russia.

Washington is well aware that now is not the time for the situation in Kosovo to escalate, otherwise they will not be able to continue their “Ukraine narrative.” Therefore, the US and NATO are taking action to quickly suppress the situation, with the US even imposing sanctions on the Kosovo authorities. It should be noted that this is not because the US and NATO have become fair and impartial, but rather a result of larger self-interest and malice. They do not want and cannot afford to risk another crisis on the Balkan Peninsula at this time. On Washington’s chessboard, the provisional self-governing institution in Pristina is just a small chess piece, and they are not willing to invest too much effort and resources. The double standards of the US and NATO have not changed, but instead become more apparent.

Before the escalation of this crisis, Western countries still adopted a “double standard” and initially saw the election results, which were comprehensively boycotted by ethnic Serbs and had a voter turnout of less than 5 percent, as “consistent with Kosovo’s constitutional and legal requirements.” It was only after the situation worsened that they changed their stance. Therefore, it is not surprising that when the US made its statement this time, netizens felt something strange and sensed a kind of fake mercy akin to crocodile tears.

Currently, all parties are engaging in intense diplomatic efforts, hoping to restore stability to the Balkan Peninsula through dialogue and negotiations. However, it must be said that beyond utilitarian considerations, the US and the West need to seriously reflect on their long-standing biased position and interventionist tradition in the Kosovo issue, genuinely respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the relevant countries, and do things that are truly beneficial to regional peace.

The US and NATO violated Serbia’s sovereignty and supported Kosovo’s independence first, and then indulged Kosovo’s violation of international agreements and practiced political double standards. The bad precedent set by the US and NATO in Kosovo is a “toxic substance” in international politics that will persist for a long time. With such a precedent, it is necessary for the relevant regions and countries to remain vigilant when the US and NATO extend their reach even further. The US and NATO have no right to accuse others until they make sufficient remedies and corrections, because they themselves are in an unjust position.

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