Two Different Takes on Belgrade Violence
Posted by Ryan on February 23, 2008
By now, most have heard about the sectarian violence which ensued after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Some of that violence, pictured above, was directed at the United States embassy in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. America was of course outraged at the lack of security around our embassy and has protested through appropriate diplomatic channels. Serb response: we’ll get on that, but by the way it’s American’s fault!
But, coverage of this story differed slightly from news organization to news organization. The initial link is from FoxNews and was sourced from the Associated Press. This link is from CNN’s own reporters. The CNN story has a similar focus about Serbian responsibility and American discontent, yet it also has this curious excerpt which the AP’s version does not have:
“The wisdom of recognizing Kosovo independence has been questioned by many observers, who say the United States won’t recognize other unilateral declarations of independence. Some opponents of Kosovo’s independence say recognition is a bad precedent if it’s unilateral and not done in a bilateral, diplomatic setting. They say it will give others the incentive to stage their own breakaway nations.”
I have a problem with CNN’s inference that the US acted rashly in recognizing Kosovo’s independence. Turkey, Croatia, the EU, especially Germany, and Belgium, have recognized Kosovo and have also been victims of violence — we’re not the sole party bearing responsibility for Kosovo’s recognition (even Afghanistan has recognized Kosovo!) and Kosovo has a unique recent history of ethnic cleansing and discrimination by Serbs. So, by CNN’s logic are we to wait for Serbia’s OK before recognizing Kosovo’s independence? Is that the standard to which CNN is referring? If so, I’m sure the world would still be waiting for Britain’s OK to let go of their pesky American colonies.