From the International Herald Tribune –
A senior NATO official in Brussels, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because that person is not authorized to speak about the issue to journalists, said military might could not be used to prevent every attempt by Serbs to impose partition on Kosovo.
“There is a slippery slope between what is a political issue and what is a security issue,” the official said.
……NATO officials say that Serbia’s attempt to force partition of the territory presents a difficult challenge since the alliance has a mandate to maintain order, but is not supposed to become entangled in political questions.
“Our mandate is to ensure a safe and secure environment and to assure the freedom of movement throughout all of Kosovo,” said James Appathurai, a NATO spokesman. “But NATO is not a police force or the lead political body in Kosovo, so let’s not ask of NATO what it cannot do.”
NATO officials say privately they are increasingly concerned that the United Nations, which will soon hand over administration of the territory to a European Union police and judicial mission, does not have adequate resources to deal with the partition threat.
Full article HERE
In three weeks time Bush will meet with Putin at NATO’s meeting in Romania. All the signs are that a new era of cooperation between the USA and Russia will be declared, with things like disputes over missile defence resolved, and a withdrawing of the American push into the earlier Soviet satellites, with NATO backing away from Ukraine and Georgia. Condoleeza Rice was in Moscow yesterday.
From the IHT
President Vladimir Putin disclosed Monday that he had received “a very serious document” from President George W. Bush that proposed an agenda for reaching agreements on a broad range of issues that have troubled the two countries, including missile defense, arms control, nonproliferation and counterterrorism.
Even so, Putin and his protégé, Dmitri Medvedev, the president-elect, both warned that significant differences remained. Yet the tone of opening talks here with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates was far more cordial than when the two cabinet members journeyed to Moscow in October for negotiations on missile defense.
“Six months have passed and we believe that in some of these issues we can probably dot the i’s and reach final agreement,” Putin said.
A Russian official said afterward that the two sides had made progress toward a bilateral framework for further limiting their nuclear arms, and that Moscow and Washington had a shared assessment on the Iranian threat, which is central to Bush administration arguments for building missile-defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.
It seems that the next area of tension will be between the unrealistic EU/European position on matters international, and the more practical American/NATO one which wishes to develop the new relationship of cooperation with Russia over Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. There is already concern within NATO that France and Germany are not pulling their weight in Afghanistan. It gives Putin exactly the opportunity he is looking for to detach the Americans from the Europeans and move Russia into a powerful diplomatic position.
The Americans are hardly likely to allow Kosovo to get in the way of this thaw in US/Russian relations. The overly idealistic and unmilitary EU is going to be left high and dry in Kosovo. Their international standing on Middle Eastern and World affairs will be reduced accordingly, and the world will soon have a new axis of power bypassing the EU.