President Trump’s deal normalises economic relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
It will also see Kosovo recognise the State of Israel and Serbia move its embassy to Jerusalem.
So much winning.#TheArtOfTheDeal
🇺🇸 🇮🇱 🇷🇸 🇽🇰 https://t.co/NXwt1EuIzx
— Bruges Group 🇬🇧 (@BrugesGroup) September 4, 2020
I am not quite sure whether this classifies as a zrada (defeat/betrayal), but it is surely not a peremoga (victory) – to borrow the terms often used by Ukrainian nationalists, but really applicable to anything.
As with Russian nationalists, the Serb nationalists fall into two camps regarding the mettle of their leader, some passionately hate him and believe he will sell them out any day now (sort of like Serbian version of Putinsliv), some think he’s their guy making the best of a bad situation.
While I attach the more complete text of the deal below, here are some of the main points:
There are a number of enhanced transport links between Serbia and Kosovo, including joining a “mini-Schengen” together with Albania and North Macedonia.
Both parties are to prohibit usage of 5G equipment by “untrusted vendors”. Uncle Sam says hi to Huawei.
Both parties are to diversify energy sources. Uncle Sam says hi to Gazprom.
“Restitution of Holocaust-era heirless and unclaimed Jewish property.” In the immortal words of Ann Coulter: “How many f—ing Jews do these people think there are?” (Answer: Aout 1,500 Jews in Serbia and 100 in Kosovo).
Both parties are to “work with the 69 countries that criminalize homosexuality to push for decriminalization.” OK.
This seems to be the main US foreign policy priority these days after Making Israel Great Again. Speaking of which, Kosovo is to recognize its Israel and vice versa, while Serbia commits to moving its Embassy to Jerusalem by July 1, 2021.
Also both parties are to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Now in fairness, Serbs don’t have any particular reason to be very fond of Hezbollah – or Iran. They took an active role in provisioning arms, funds, training, and fighters to Muslim Bosnians during the Yugoslav Wars of 1992-95.
Even so, recognition/non-recognition of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization does seem to be a solid marker of belonging to the American Empire and the Resistance Axis, respectively.
Kosovo agrees on a one year moratorium on applications to join international organizations, while Serbia agrees to a one year moratorium on international campaigns to revoke existing recognitions of Kosovo independence as well as to refrain from formal or informal requests to countries and international organizations to abstain from recognizing Kosovo.
But ultimately, Serb leaders are obligated to look out for the interests of Serbs, not Arabs. What do they get out of it?
All of the concrete obligations outside the region concern Israel, which agrees to recognize Kosovo for the privilege of Serbia establishing a Chamber of Commerce and moving its Embassy to Jerusalem. That doesn’t exactly sound like a favorable deal. On the other hand, it is probably too early to speak of an outright Serbian defection to the Western camp. For instance, the implicitly anti-Russian and anti-Chinese commitments are too vaguely worded to be enforceable (at least on the assumption that there aren’t any secret protocols).
Speculatively, there may have been a tit for tat in relation to Montenegro, where long-ruling pro-Western mafioso dictator Milo Đukanović unexpectedly narrowly lost an election to pro-Serb forces a week ago – a true peremoga that, in classical fashion, has quickly transitioned into a zrada (as per tradition). Perhaps there was a US promise not to involve itself in any shenanigans to keep Milo and the ruling DPS in power, who had accelerated the fake Montenegro nation-building project up to the point of laying the groundwork to expropriate the Serbian Orthodox Church. Ultimately, losing Montenegro – the historical core of Serbia, an outlet to the sea, and the crucible of Serbian nationalism a century ago – would probably be a harder blow than even Kosovo, which realistically speaking is about as demographically Albanian as Transylvania is Romanian.
I suppose we’ll see, but it is worth stopping to note how, laugh as we might at how American foreign policy priorities are seemingly hijacked by a certain ethnic lobby and sexual minority who constitute just 2% of its population each, the fact of the matter is that this event underlines the abiding strength of American power. Russian pundit Egor Kholmogorov comments that this would be as if Putin were to preside over a meeting of the leaders of the Ukraine and the DNR in the Kremlin, which culminated in the signing of a document committing to not buying American weapons and a joint investigation against Joe Biden, as well as an agreement to have Belarus recognize the DNR on the side. So it’s unclear who should really have the last laugh.