February 21, 2008

More Kosovos to come

The Kosovo precedent

Calling it a 'special case' won't stop others from trying to follow its independence example.Is this a precedent, as some fear and others hope? Of course. Russian-backed leaders in South Ossetia and Trans-Dniester are muttering about following the example of the American-backed Kosovars. Basque and Catalan separatists are taking note, and the Spanish government has reacted against the declaration of independence with startling sharpness. Kosovo is the top story on the website of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, which has 69 members, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar.

"Kosovo is a special case," says its declaration of independence, going on to insist (hear the advisor's whisper again) that it is not a precedent. But the 68 other members of UNPO are special cases too. Kosovo's declaration of dependent independence is the least-worst way forward, but don't let us pretend that it's not a precedent. Both statements are true: Kosovo is unique, and there will be more Kosovos.

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