A Magic Trick Called Kosovo, and the World’s Only Nation of Conscience: the Czechs

by 1389 on February 1, 2013

in Cyprus, Czech Republic, European Union, Julia Gorin (colleague), Kosovo, Kurdistan, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovak Republic, U.S. State Department, United Nations

Waving Czech flag

By Julia Gorin

Wasn’t I just saying….

I mean, really, what other place gets to already have discussions about UN membership before it’s even a country? Before actual UN members have even recognized its countryness?

That’s easy. It starts with a K.

UN seat for Kosovo to be discussed, ambassador says (Beta, Večernje novosti, Jan. 24)

German Ambassador to Serbia Heinz Wilhelm has stated that Kosovo’s UN membership is one of the issues that should be discussed in Brussels.

He said that Berlin wanted Belgrade and Priština to raise their relations to the level of ambassadors.

When asked if Serbia would be requested to accept to have ambassadors in Belgrade and Priština and to discuss a UN seat for Kosovo in order to get a date for the beginning of the EU accession negotiations, Wilhelm said that it was difficult to say at the moment and that it depended on agreements in among 27 EU member states.

“The issue (of UN membership) is very important to us but I cannot say at the moment if it is going to be crucial for the granting of the date. We will first wait for a decision of the European Commission (EC) and (EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) Catherine Ashton on the progress in dialogue. Member states will study the report and make a final decision…”

When asked if new conditions for Serbia would appear in March, he said that it was important for Serbia to stop preventing Kosovo from becoming a member in European and international institutions….Wilhelm reiterated that Germany recognized Kosovo as an independent country and added that Berlin would therefore like to see Serbian and Kosovo ambassadors in Belgrade and Priština.

“But Serbia does not recognize Kosovo. An agreement on exchange of liaison officers that will work in EU missions in Belgrade and Priština is also acceptable for us…”

When asked if the Resolution and Platform on Kosovo would be another roadblock on the EU pathway, the ambassador said that the most important thing was that it was written in the documents that Serbia would do its best to make progress in the dialogue.

When asked if it was acceptable to Germany that the platform requested a wide autonomy for the Serb community, Wilhelm noted that the Ahtisaari plan offered a pretty wide autonomy to Serb municipalities and that a solution should be sought within the framework.

“The proposal from the platform exceeds the Ahtisaari plan. We cannot accept a solution that leads to creation of special entities, regions within Kosovo, and it is what is requested in the platform,” the German diplomat stressed.

He could not confirm that progress made in the solving of the Kosovo issue was enough for heads of EU state and government to give Serbia a date for the start of the EU accession talks in March.

Wilhelm said Germany wanted Serbia to become an EU member as soon as possible but that it did not accept any country that would bring its problems in the Union. [Even if “its” problems were brought to it by Europe, apparently.]

Wilhelm added that…he was optimistic because many things had been done, including the launching of a political dialogue, agreement on the integrated crossings management, exchange of liaison officers and customs duty collection.

Well, there’s at least one UN member — albeit a recognizer — that isn’t having any of this. Indeed, if it weren’t for the Czechs, we’d have no idea that all this trouble is being gone to on behalf of a terrorist state. In fact, all this sweating and deference is because Kosovo is a terrorist state.

Favorite to win Czech elections calls Kosovo “terrorist” (B92, DANAS, Jan. 24)

Czech President-Elect Miloš Zeman
Czech President-Elect Miloš Zeman

PRAGUE — The favorite to win the Czech presidential elections runoff, Miloš Zeman, has voiced strong criticism of Kosovo.

Speaking for the ČTK news agency he said that if elected, he would “not allow a Czech ambassador to be sent to Priština”.

“I would withdraw even the charge d’affaires that is there now, let alone send an ambassador. I consider Kosovo a terrorist regime financed by narco-mafias,” Belgrade-based daily Danas is quoting Zeman as saying.

According to opinion polls, Zeman is more likely to win in the second round of the elections, scheduled for late January. His opponent is Karel Schwarzenberg.

It was the opposition of the outgoing president, Vaclav Klaus, that prevented the appointment of an ambassador in Priština, although the Czech Republic is among the 22 of EU’s 27 nations that have recognized Kosovo. […]

Something it did not do easily:

Prague: We owe it to Serbia (B92, Beta, Feb. 22, 2008)

The Czech government says it is “in no hurry to recognize Kosovo”, reports say.

Now the Czech authorities admit they feel they are “historically indebted to the Serbs”, who stood by the Czechs when Hitler, with the blessing of the Western powers, tore their country apart in 1938.

Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told today’s Hospodarske Noviny daily… “Whenever we went through hard times, such as in 1968, Yugoslavs, and more specifically Serbs, treated us in the proper manner. This is why voices are so strong here against the recognition of Kosovo,” he said… “The secession of Kosovo is in the Czech Republic compared to the Munich Agreement,” Schwarzenberg said.

He spent the day yesterday explaining to the Committee that the government had decided to recognize Kosovo so as “not to lose influence within the EU to help Serbs and Albanians”. But the Committee, as he said, “gave him a hard time” over this.

“I am in no hurry on this matter, but we cannot exclude ourselves from the European trends,” Schwarzenberg said, and added he expected a “negative reaction from Belgrade.”

“In their place, I would do the same,” the minister said.

Schwarzenberg added he will investigate a fake telegram allegedly sent by his ministry to the Priština authorities. The document claims that Prague will demand that Serbia “be punished over the Kosovo Serbs’ demonstrations” in the north of the province.

Historical parallels show EUs Kosovo policy is insane (Czech Business Weekly, Jan. 7, 2008, By Jiri Hanak)

The new year begins under the sign of the infamy that the U.S. and the European Union are committing against Serbia….When, in October 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain defended the Munich Agreement with Hitler as offering peace in our time, Winston Churchill said, “The nation had to choose between shame and war. We have chosen shame. We shall get the war as well.” To paraphrase [analogize], Washington and the EU have chosen between a restless Balkans and dishonesty. They have chosen dishonesty and will have troubles with more than the Balkans.

But let us leave Serbia aside, injured and demeaned as it is. In its current state of mind, it is imaginable that Serbia will turn its back on the EU and the West and will seek a safe harbor in Moscow. The idea that Serbia may permit Russia to establish a base on its territory is not as fantastic as it may seem. Desperate states do desperate things.

When discussing Kosovo’s independence, we cannot apply a nation’s right to self-determination. The Albanian nation already has its state. The Kosovo Albanians are thus merely a minority in Serbia, as the Czech Germans were in pre-war Czechoslovakia. But there are further points. If the Euro-Atlantic alliance grants independence to the Albanians in Kosovo, will it be able to consistently deny it to Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia, where they form a high percentage minority? And what about Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina?…I am almost certain that an independent Kosovo and an independent Republika Srpska in Bosnia would fuse with their mother states in the foreseeable future, resulting in an entirely new map of the region.

…If the Albanian minority in Serbia can become independent, why not the Hungarian minority in Slovakia? And in Romania? And what about Chechnya? And the Turks in Cyprus? And what about the 40-million strong Kurdish nation, with its own language and culture?

…Only thanks to the magic wand of the U.S. State Department, then headed by Madeleine Albright, did the terrorists and narco-barons change into respectable freedom fighters. I cannot judge how much a role was played by the charm of KLA political leader Hashim Thai (also known as the Snake). What is certain is the fact that we will be witnesses to a unique event with the declaration of an independent Kosovo, the narco-mafia will gain its own state.

…In the case of Slovakia or Romania, the approval will be either hypocritical or suicidal. For the Czech Republic, it will be a living example of forgetting ones own history. I am sorry that, as a convinced backer of the EU, I have to say that in the case of Kosovo, the EU has apparently gone insane.

The Contrarian of Prague (WSJ, March 8, 2008, By Brian M. Carney)

Vaclav Klaus
Vaclav Klaus

…This week, while in New York to address a gathering of fellow “non-alarmists” at a [global warming] conference in Times Square, [Vaclav Klaus] took some time to sit down with members of the Journal’s editorial board to offer his dissenting views on Russia, Kosovo, America and of course, climate change.

… He has been one of the few politicians in the European Union to publicly express doubts about the wisdom of recognizing Kosovo’s recently declared independence from Serbia.

He fears…a domino effect….When it comes to hosting American missile-defense facilities, Mr. Klaus’s position is contrary to the dominant view in Europe. Opposition to the radar facilities is, in his view, nothing more than old-fashioned anti-Americanism.

…For his part, “I want to have close ties with [the U.S.],” which is why he supports the bases.

Perhaps the most surprising and counterintuitive position he took during our meeting concerned Russia. The former Soviet satellites in Central Europe are often thought of as reliable skeptics of Russian intentions. But Mr. Klaus expresses a more sanguine view, even arguing that Western fears about Russia and Vladimir Putin are misplaced.

…So, does he not think that, through its supply of arms to Syria and Iran, and its obstructionism over Iran at the U.N. Security Council, Russia is once again picking a fight with the U.S. — or at least in danger of doing so? [”Picking a fight”? With someone who’s been punching you repeatedly?]

His response is at turns heated and pleading: “No one is thinking about that in Russia. Why do you think that’s the way [they think]? Simply, Russia was totally lost and pushed to the floor and simply wants to be a normal country again. Don’t interpret all the attempts to be accepted as a normal country as an aggressive position vis-à-vis the United States. This is not that way. I’m afraid that this is the mantra in the American newspapers but please, please, think about it twice because this is a tragic mistake.”

What about the danger that Russia could use its role in supplying oil and gas to the rest of Europe as a weapon against EU economies? [Never mind that this is a made-in-America danger.] Again, the response is passionate: “I don’t see it. This is for me . . . cheap, cheap headlining to say that, really. I live in a country where we are totally dependent — we used to be totally dependent on Russian oil and gas. In my life, and I will be 67 this June, it has never happened for one minute that there has been cutting of deliveries of oil and gas. Please don’t — don’t — exaggerate that point. It’s such cheap writing. Don’t do it.”

It’s a strange moment. Here is a man who built his political career on his reputation for leading post-communist Czechoslovakia out of its socialist past, and who by his own account was banished into a kind of internal exile for championing liberalization ahead of the Warsaw Pact invasion of his country in 1968. Now he is urging his listeners to give Moscow the benefit of the doubt.

[How easy to blow the mind of a Wall St. Journal editorial board member! Imagine something not fitting into a neat box, requiring some actual thinking outside it — after first paying attention, which would necessitate first giving a damn to discover what your much ballyhooed war really was, and what it created.]

That seemed to end the matter, so we tried to return to global warming. But he interrupts to add a final thought on Russia: “Russia is more free now than in any time in its 2,000 years of history. So to speak about dictatorship is misusing the terminology, devaluing the terms that we use. This is something we should not say.”

This is not to say everything is sunshine in Russia. “They are much less free than the Americans and the Czechs would accept…Let’s be clear about this. Is that clear?

“For me it is unacceptable to have such a relatively closed political system. Personally unacceptable, and being in Russia I would fight against it. But that’s a different story than speaking of a dictatorship or not putting it in a proper historical perspective.”

He goes on. “To say ‘dictatorship’ or to speak about Putin as the ‘KGB man,’ I would be [embarrassed] to use such a term. That is maybe for some boulevard journalist, but this is definitely much more complicated. Putin is a much more complicated and structured personality than just the ‘KGB man.’ And I’m sure you know it.”

But here his account took an inexplicable turn. Mr. Klaus, by his own description “no expert” on Russia, points to “a growing decentralization in the country. The role of the individual regions and those governors, they create a different style of thinking and I see an evolution in Russia.”

These are the same governors that, formerly directly elected, are now appointed by Mr. Putin himself, which hardly seems a recipe either for decentralization or independence from Moscow. Even so, Mr. Klaus argues that “to be blind . . . to the real changes that have been going on there probably would be a mistake.”

Dienstbier: Kosovo never legal, independent (Tanjug, April 20, 2008)

If I were in Serbian politicians’ shoes, I would never recognize Kosovo’s independence, [the late] Jiri Dienstbier says.

Dienstibier, a former UN human rights rapporteur for former Yugoslavia and former Czech foreign minister…said that Serbia’s southern province has been in a “legal chaos” since some countries recognized the ethnic Albanians’ unilaterally declared independence.

“This chaos has been created through the arbitrary political and interest-based interpretation of the norms of international law, which is unprecedented in the history of legal systems,” Dienstbier said.

He added that many countries in the world have not taken this illegal path because they have a “sense of shame”, while some have their own problems similar to Serbia’s.

Such countries fortunately make up the majority, Dienstbier said, and added that the number of states that have recognized Kosovo’s independence is lower than 25 percent of the world’s countries.

“The pressure exerted on the ‘disobedient’ ones is huge, both by America, and the EU’s ‘elite members’. It’s hard to say how many will succumb to that pressure. [We’re up to 98 now.] It is clear and certain, after all that’s been said and done, that Kosovo will never, but really never, be a legal and legitimate independent country.” [He underestimated the power of might makes right.]

“Kosovo cannot become a UN member, and with this, it cannot join most international organizations. Besides, the economic impotence of such a state must be kept in mind, and the fact that the international community has not managed to turn the Kosovo extremists into European democrats in the past ten years,” the former Czech diplomat said. [If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.]

“It’s ridiculous that they are convincing us the Kosovo issue is unique, that it cannot serve as precedent. They should explain this to the Kurds, the Basques and many others, so if those people ‘understand and accept’ it, there will be no precedent.”

“Nationalists are very happy because of Kosovo. In the words of Czech President Vaclav Klaus, by recognizing Kosovo, we are opening Pandora’s Box,” Dienstbier concluded.

This President Vaclav is certainly a far cry from the previous President Vaclav — Havel, that is. He who supported the “humanitarian bombing” and promoted Kosovo independence and in 2010 was awarded the Golden Medal of Ibrahim Rugova by Kosovo’s then ‘president’ Sejdiu. As Phyllis Schlafly wrote in Nov. 1999 in The Truth Leaks Out About Kosovo:

The only people happy about the Yugoslavia debacle are the globalists who want America to be perpetually engaged in foreign conflicts. In a speech to the Canadian Parliament, Czech leader Vaclav Havel praised the Yugoslav war as “an important precedent for the future,” saying that “state sovereignty must inevitably dissolve” and nation-states will be transformed into “civil administrative units.”

Czech President: “How Ashamed I Am Of Czech Kosovo Recognition” (Beta, May 24, 2008)

…”I was very upset by the words of Ambassador Vereš, who said that Serbs did not take personally Kosovo recognitions by countries such as Finland, Holland or Germany, but that the Czech government’s move hurt them,” Klaus wrote in an article for Mlada Fronta Dnes daily, which he entitled, “How ashamed I was”.

The Czech president reminded that he personally cannot be at peace with the recognition, and that for this reason he decided to receive Vereš, which the diplomats describe as a highly unusual move, according to the state protocol.

He added that Vereš reminded him of several key moments in the common history of the two nations.

One is the fact that the first Czechoslovakian president, Tomaš Garrigue Masaryk, could only travel in Europe during the First World War because Serbia issued him with a passport, and that the German Gestapo persecuted Masaryk’s followers in occupied Yugoslavia during the Second World War.

“The ambassador’s father studied in Prague after the war, to be sent home by our authorities after 1948, because he would not renounce Tito in favor of Stalin,” Klaus continued.

He reminded the readers of the Czech Republic’s most influential newspaper that as the Warsaw Pact troops entered Czechoslovakia in 1968, Yugoslavia was the only country to declare its own mobilization.

Meanwhile, the Czech foreign minister expressed regret over the Serbian ambassador’s departure, but added his government had no choice but to recognize the secession.

“I respect the president’s opinion. I, too, am sorry that the Serbian ambassador is leaving, but our government could make no other decision but to recognize Kosovo,” Karel Schwarzenger told Mlada Fronta Dnes.

The Czech government’s decision to recognize the unilateral independence, which Serbia rejects as illegal, has caused a storm in the local political scene, which continues unabated for the third day. […]

Albanian Trademark: Biting the Hand that Feeds Them:

The very day that Czech Republic recognized Kosovo, Albanians had no qualms about attacking its citizens:

Report: Kosovo Albanians stone Czech bus (May 22, 2008)

A bus from the Czech Republic carrying humanitarian aid to the Kosovo Serbs has been stoned near Decani, Czech radio reports.

An informal Czech group called the Petition Board Against Recognizing Kosovo’s Independence organized a visit by a group of 20 students to visit Kosovo and bring aid to the Serbs living in Kosovo.

Czech radio confirmed that on their way to the High Decani monastery, Albanian youths threw stones at the bus bearing Czech license plates. It was also confirmed that no-one was injured during the incident.

“The fact that the Czech government recognized Kosovo’s independence, of which I am deeply ashamed, has meant nothing to those ‘peace loving’ and ‘democratic’ Albanians”, said Jaroslav Foldina, regional leader of the Czech Social Democrats, in a statement given to the online edition of daily Pravo.

Foldina was one of the passengers on the bus. “We’re talking a lot with people in Kosovo, and everyone kept asking about it (yesterday’s recognition of Kosovo by the Czech government). I kept repeating the same answer: Serbia was not betrayed by the Czech people, but by the Czech government…” […]

As Melana put it on Serb Blog at the time:

If Czechs were expecting any better a “thank you” from Kosovo Albanians for recognition other than getting pelted with rocks, then Czechs forgot who they were dealing with — a people who financially bled Yugoslavia dry for the last sixty years, violently drove the native Serbs out of their homes and then said “thanks” to Serbia by ripping off Kosovo!

Czech: request to cancel the recognition of Kosmet independence (June 14, 2008)

Vice President of the Czech Parliament House of Commons Wojtech Filip has stated that he has prepared a proposal for MPs to vote on the cancellation of Governmentʼs decision to recognize the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosmet. While stressing that the decision of the Government in Prague is contrary to the international law, Filip underlined that this act should be put out of power in a legal manner, and that the current authorities should be disabled from making moves without the consensus of the majority of citizens, MPs and politicians. This official said that President of the Czech Republic Waclaw Klaus had resolutely opposed the recognition of Kosmet independence, adding that Governmentʼs decision has [no weight] as long as the head of the state appoints an ambassador in Pristina. The legal cancellation of governmentʼs decision would represent a positive precedent not only in Czech, but in the whole Europe, as it would send a message that the recognition of Kosmet independence means a huge jeopardy for the international legal system in the whole world, emphasized Wojtech Filip.

Jim Jatras wrote a wonderful op-ed responding to Czech’s recognition of Kosovo:

Masters and servant
The Czech Republic could do the world a favor by acting independent

(The Prague Post, June 25, 2008)

For a country nearly 20 years removed from Soviet domination, the Czech Republic doesn’t always act like a sovereign and independent state — at least when it comes to its relationship with my country, Big Brother across the Atlantic. Indeed, at times it seems that Czechs have only exchanged one set of overseers for another.

Case in point: Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s March 30 statement, “If we did not have to recognize Kosovo, I would never do it.” A few weeks later, Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg announced Prague’s recognition and upgrading of the Czech Republic’s liaison office in Pristina to an embassy. Echoing Topolánek, Schwarzenberg noted, “Our government had no other choice.”

Both before and after recognition, there was little doubt where Czech public opinion and much of the Czech political establishment stood on the Kosovo question. The action was resisted by both the Christian Democrats, whose ministers in the government voted against it, the opposition Social Democrats and, of course, the Communists. President Václav Klaus told the departing Serbian ambassador he was ashamed of what had been done.

Perhaps most outspoken was former foreign affairs minister and UN special rapporteur for human rights Jiří Dienstbier, who noted the bitter irony of the Cabinet voting on Kosovo in Teplice, in the territory ceded to Germany under the 1938 Munich Agreement…

Prague had received the edict from on high, and that was that.

Such craven capitulation to the United States, and to the more lickspittle of our European satellites, would be troubling enough if it were limited to Kosovo. But it isn’t. How many Czechs favor deployment in their country of the radar base that Washington claims will defend Europe against Iranian missiles?…But, as with Kosovo, what the Czech people think isn’t important.

On almost every question of national significance, the views of many Czech politicians diverge sharply from what the people want. Can it be that, after decades of Soviet, and before that German, overlordship, Czechs have so meekly surrendered their sovereignty to a new master? What accounts for the spectacle of Czech officials falling over themselves in their rush to obey commands from Washington even more abjectly than their predecessors heeded those from Moscow?

As an American, I can’t help but wonder how this works. After Parliament and the people have voiced their opinion, does someone in the Czech government just dial up the U.S. Embassy in Prague for instructions? Or do they call Washington directly? Are threats involved, or do we have our European allies so well-trained that threats are unnecessary?

Perhaps Czech leaders have developed such cozy personal ties with their friends in Washington that they identify more closely with them than with their own countrymen…

The standard explanation for such behavior is that the Czech Republic is a little country that can’t afford to defy its “partners” in NATO and the European Union. But the EU doesn’t have a unified position on Kosovo. Slovakia had the courage to refuse. Even tiny Cyprus managed to say no. And nothing in the North Atlantic Treaty can force any country to accept components of the missile system. But the Czech government would apparently rather place its own people under retargeted Russian nuclear weapons than allow citizens to decide the radar question by referendum.

Prague’s current subservience is as baffling to me as it is disturbing. I served most of my professional life in the apparat of the U.S. government, at both the State Department and in Congress. My early career was dedicated to restoring the freedom and independence of countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Later, I worked to extend the reach of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America. Perhaps it was misplaced idealism, but it never occurred to me at the time that the main result, and perhaps intent, of such efforts was not freedom in the ordinary meaning of the word, but creation of a unipolar global order.

These concerns may sound odd coming from an American, especially from a conservative Republican. After all, my country supposedly receives the benefits of this “allied solidarity.” The freedom and unity of the Czech Republic is not my concern, but that of the Czech people. Why should I care if the Czech lands are reduced to our very own Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren?

Here’s why: Our European and other friends have become enablers of our post-Cold War hegemonic binge. When someone has had too much to drink, real friends take his car keys away, not offer to join him on a joy ride. If my country had friends who would stand up to us and just say no when a narrow clique in Washington hatches schemes for destructive escapades, our global adventurism would be restrained. We would have less occasion to find ourselves stuck with limitless and costly commitments in distant parts of the world that do not concern us, embroiled in other peoples’ quarrels in which we have no business. We Americans would benefit most of all.

A Czech Republic that had rediscovered its dignity, independence and solidarity between people and government would be a true friend of America. Let Czech citizens vote on the radar deployment — and for what my opinion is worth, reject it. Withdraw your soldiers from harm’s way in Mesopotamia and the Hindu Kush. Revoke your recognition of Kosovo through a democratic vote in parliament.
Czechs, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains! And in doing so, you will be doing my country a big favor as well.

The Prague Post published the following on the same day:

Kosovo autonomy dispute rages
Serbians view Czech recognition as a ‘betrayal’ of history
(June 25, 2008)

One month after the Cabinet sauntered off to the north Bohemian town of Teplice to formally recognize the independence of Kosovo in an “extraordinary meeting,” the decision continues to fulminate among local pundits.

Emotional tirades interwove with constructive criticism in a June 18 panel discussion that pitted Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg against some of the country’s top experts on Czech foreign policy in the Balkans.

“For the Serbians, the Czech recognition of Kosovo was perceived differently than the recognition of other countries. They recall that their country was willing to mobilize [against Germany] during the Munich Agreement, that they protested against the [Soviet] invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, that they supported the Charter 77 [anti-communist] movement,” he said. “From this less intellectual perspective, they view the Czech decision to recognize Kosovo as a betrayal.”

…Although the Czech government may not have realized this, the fact that the Cabinet’s decision was made on the territory of the former Sudetenland is an irony that did not go unnoticed by Serbian intellectuals, said Dienstbier.

“An area belonging to another country was annexed because a different language was spoken there. This is symbolic of what happened in Kosovo,” he added.

Indeed, could history repeat itself any more literally? Could god be any clearer or more obvious? On the eve of the new millennium, U.S.-led NATO — having hijacked Reunified Germany’s foreign policy — repeated Hitler’s bombing of Belgrade to comply with the New World Order, in which borders are mutable and the path of least resistance is taken with those who are violent. Thereby ensuring that the 21st century will be a re-run of the 20th, repeating well studied history. That’s without mentioning that John McCain’s Feb. 7, 2008 statement calling on the U.S. and EU to recognize Kosovo’s independence was prepared for a security conference in Munich itself.

And still the world persisted, the Czech government along for the ride against the will of its people. Indeed, Kosovo is the converging point of Axis and Ally:

Czech R. opens embassy in Kosovo
Czech Liaison Office in Prishtina converted into the Czech Embassy yesterday.
(New Kosova [sic] Report, July 17, 2008)

…[Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomaz] Pojar who was on a one-day visit to Kosovo, said that Czech Republic as the next leader of the European Union his country will support Kosovo in many fields…Tomas Pojar promised that he will encourage investments of different Czech companies in Kosovo, to help the economic development of the country…A decision to establish diplomatic relations with Kosovo was taken yesterday by the Government of Lithuania as well, announced Lithuanian government. “This allows for participation in projects of development of Kosovo and will influence stability in western Balkans,” chief of Lithuanian diplomacy, Petras Vaitiekunas, is quoted saying.

The Czechs, meanwhile, never quieted down:

Kosovo recognition clouds friendship, Czech Pres (Nov. 3, 2008)

Czech President Vaclav Klaus says that the traditional friendship between the Czech and Serbia people has been tainted because the Czech government has recognized Kosovo as an independent state. Despite recognition, Klaus said that his country will do utmost during its EU presidency to speed up Serbia’s membership into EU….

That same summer of 2008, Nebojsa Malic also pointed out An Inconvenient Comparison (June 6, 2008):

…What was to be a purely NATO occupation became a UN mission (UNMIK) and Serbia’s territorial integrity was explicitly guaranteed by the UN resolution 1244. The nine ensuing years showed precisely what NATO – and the Empire [Washington] behind it – thought of the UN, treaties, and the law in general, as it stood idly by while the terrorist KLA rampaged through the province, not content with merely killing or expelling Serbs (and other non-Albanians, it needs to be said), but also destroying every trace of their history, culture and faith.

Successive UN viceroys worked diligently not on enforcing 1244, but on subverting it, and “nation-building” an independent, Albanian state of Kosovo. It all led up to the declaration of “independence” by the Albanian provisional government this February, and lightning-quick recognition by foreign powers that supported them.

The Shame of Prague

…Though Klaus has refrained from using such a strong comparison [i.e. Dienstbier’s re appeasing Hitler], he nonetheless said that, “no similar decision on a country’s borders has been made since World War Two.”

The ghost of Neville Chamberlain is often invoked by Imperial warmongers to justify attacking one country or another. Empire’s enemy du jour is always likened to Hitler, and anyone who even suggests talks over bombs is branded an “appeaser.” But when the Czechs – who, after all, should know the fruits of appeasement all too well, given that they were its first and foremost victims – point out that the Empire is enabling the Kosovo Albanians to behave like Hitler, no one pays attention. In the postmodern world, it’s not the behavior itself that is objectionable, but rather who does the behaving, and the Empire – by its own definition – can do no wrong, anywhere, ever.

There are many victims of what happened in Kosovo: Serbs, Roma, Turks, Jews and other communities that were forcibly uprooted by the terrorist KLA, before or during NATO’s occupation; those Albanians who wanted to live in peace with their neighbors, but ended up under a brutal, criminal KLA regime; international law as well, specifically the UNSCR 1244 and the Helsinki Final Act.

A similar fate was intended for a documentary produced by the Czech Television, Uloupene Kosovo (“Kosovo, stolen”), scheduled to air this spring but delayed by the government-owned network. After the recognition, the film’s airing was cancelled altogether. In earlier times, this sort of censorship would have killed the film. In this day and age, however, it soon made its way onto Google Video and YouTube.

It is a breath of fresh air in the stale swamp of lies told and repeated about Kosovo 1999…none of it is staged for effect: the people are real, their suffering is real, and the archive footage used is all too real. And at the end, as the camera pans over the burned and pillaged houses along a road, the following epilogue appears on the screen:

“The separation of Kosovo and Metohia from Serbia, was first recognized, in addition to the USA, by Germany, Italy, France and Great Britain, countries that signed the 1938 Munich Agreement.”

When an American soldier in Iraq used the Muslim holy book of Koran for target practice, he was disciplined, and the Emperor offered a personal apology to Iraqis…But when Kosovo Albanians destroyed, dynamited and defaced over two hundred Serbian churches, the Empire rewarded them with a state of their own, carved out of Serbian territory against all law, custom and logic accepted by civilized people. And the Serbs were told to “deal with it.”

This goes beyond the talk of double standards. There are no standards here at all. This is about a philosophy that one country can do whatever, whenever, to whomever it pleases; that it is above any law, even its own, because it is bigger, richer, better – and ultimately, simply more powerful than anyone else.

That is precisely what the Nazis used to think, and whether Americans like that comparison or not is, quite frankly, irrelevant.

The documentary that Nebojsa speaks ofalready seen by most readers of this blog — is one I’ve never properly plugged, despite trying to get to it since 2008, when I started compiling this pro-Czech blog. (Run your cursor over the title and see that the assigned number for this post is #1661, whereas I’m currently on #2970.) It was indeed canceled by Czech state television, since airing a “pro-Serb” film, the producers said, would only be fair if also airing one that defends Albanians. Never mind that 100% of media, art, academia, politics, plus a war and military occupation do that already.

In the midst of 2008’s declaration and recognitions, the book came out by Carla Del Ponte — who waited precisely until Kosovo’s declaration — to reveal the KLA’s murder-for-organs operation. While everyone else in 2008 was laughing off her revelations as “Serbian myth,” the Czechs called for a serious investigation (which the Council of Europe subsequently undertook):

Czech urges investigation of top separatists (Serbianna.com, Oct. 1, 2008)

Leader of the opposition Czech Social Democratic Party and former PM Jirzi Paroubek asked Czech Foreign Minister Karel Swartzenberg to initiate an investigation of Kosovo separatist officials, and in particular the so-called prime minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, because of suspicion that all of them have been involved in trade in human organs of imprisoned Kosovo Serb civilians.

“I am deeply disturbed by this information,” said Paroubek and asked Swartzenberg to urge the UN to initiate an investigation regarding claims that Tachi had earned four million Deutsche marks from the sale of organs of Serb and Roma prisoners in Western countries. […]

The same day appeared a piece by British historian and journalist John Laughland, of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris:

From Munich to Kosovo (Russian Information Agency Novosti, Oct. 1, 2008)

[On] the 70th anniversary year of Munich, the Western powers have indeed precisely repeated it.

In February 2008, in the face of the threat of the use of force by Albanian separatists in Serbia, the United States and the European Union recognised the independence of Kosovo. They thereby unilaterally destroyed the territorial integrity of Serbia, just as the integrity of Czechoslovakia was destroyed 70 years ago.

[T]he “independence” of Kosovo resembles the bogus “independence” of Slovakia under the puppet regime of Monsignor Tiso, which Hitler encouraged Tiso to proclaim in March 1939 and which he used as a pretext for the simultaneous German occupation of the Czech lands.

As the events of the 1930s and 1940s recede in time, indeed, the shadows they cast over the present seem to grow ever longer…The memory of Munich is therefore very important.

The failure of this [appeasement] policy became spectacularly obvious when Hitler occupied all of the Czech lands in March 1939 and then attacked Poland on 1st September 1939. As a result, Munich stands as a symbol for shameful capitulation towards aggression.

Faced with the threat of the use of force by Hitler, the Western powers agreed to destroy the very state they had themselves created at Versailles only twenty years previously. Czechoslovakia’s immediate neighbours behaved no better: Poland, which later succeeded in presenting itself as the supreme victim of World War II, annexed the territory around Teschen, while Hungary occupied parts of Southern and Eastern Slovakia.

Munich is therefore frequently invoked, especially by American neo-conservatives, in justification of contemporary wars which, they say, are also responses to aggression. Whether it is with respect to the Yugoslavia of Slobodan Milosevic in 1999, the Iraq of Saddam Hussein in 2003, or almost any country or situation in the world, the mantra is that the mistakes of 1938 must never be repeated.

How strange, therefore, that in the 70th anniversary year of Munich, the Western powers have indeed precisely repeated it.

In February 2008, in the face of the threat of the use of force by Albanian separatists in Serbia, the United States and the European Union recognised the independence of Kosovo.

They had in fact strongly encouraged the original proclamation of independence, and indeed the use of force itself to the extent that they attacked Yugoslavia in 1999 in support of the [violent] Albanian cause.

They thereby unilaterally destroyed the territorial integrity of Serbia, just as the integrity of Czechoslovakia was destroyed 70 years ago.

Both recognitions destroyed the governments of the countries affected. In 1938, Munich led to the immediate collapse of the patriotic government of President Edvard Benes; in 2008, the recognition of Kosovo immediately destroyed the government of Vojislav Kostunica, the very man the West hailed as a great democrat in 2000 when he toppled Slobodan Milosevic from power.

In Prague in 1938, a collaborationist government took power under Emil Hacha, who promised to try to protect Czechoslovakia’s position in the New European Order which was then emerging. (Many of his ministers were convicted as war criminals in 1946.)

In 2008, the new Belgrade government under the leadership of the Democratic Party President, Boris Tadic, has similarly confirmed that Serbia’s “principal strategic goal” is to become a member of the European Union – the same organisation which now illegally administers Kosovo. (The EU administration is illegal because United Nations Security Council 1244…reaffirmed that Kosovo is part of Serbia and that it is administered by the UN; its existence emphasises that the so-called “independence” of Kosovo is, in reality, a kind of annexation.)

The parallel even extends to the last-ditch attempts made respectively by Prague and Belgrade to hold on to their territories. President Benes negotiated with Konrad Henlein, the Sudeten German leader, and promised both substantial autonomy for the German-inhabited parts of the country and a cabinet post for Henlein himself.

The government of Vojislav Kostunica was prepared to give so much autonomy to Kosovo that the province would have been freer in Serbia than it now is as a US-EU protectorate. [Not to mention as a mafia-run joint.]

In both 1938 and 2008, more importantly, the domestic negotiations then under way were deliberately wrecked by outside intervention.

Hitler’s occupation of the Czech lands in March 1939, on the basis that the “artificial state” of Czechoslovakia had collapsed and that Germany needed to preserve peace and stability, then invoked exactly the same logic as the Western interventions in the former Yugoslavia today.

[There is also the modern incarnation of the aspect Laughland brought up earlier here: “The failure of this [appeasement] policy became spectacularly obvious when Hitler occupied all of the Czech lands in March 1939 and then attacked Poland on 1st September 1939.” That parallel would be that, just as Hitler didn’t stop with the Sudetenland, Albanians haven’t stopped with Kosovo, but have moved on to Macedonia, southern Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece.]

It is obvious that the EU and the US, unlike Nazi Germany, do not secretly harbour any plans for wholesale genocide. The evil they have perpetrated is therefore not in the same league as Hitler’s. But it is evil nonetheless, in particular because it represents a unilateral abrogation, backed by military force, of international laws (general principles of law as well as UN Security Council resolutions) to which these powers have themselves signed up.

It is here that the similarity with Munich is strongest. As for the consequences of the Kosovo recognition, it appears, also like Munich, to have started a dangerous ball rolling in the Caucasus. [Remember that the summer of 2008 saw the Georgia/Ossetia/Russia war.] It must be our fervent hope that the parallels stop now.

In the end, it took three years for Prague to conform and finalize recognition, giving its recognition in 2011. Something that Czechs did not take quietly:

Czechs protest against Kosovo independence (Vesti, Feb. 17, 2011)

And a snippet demonstrating Czech exceptionalism even from the likes of reluctant collaborators like Schwarzenberg:

Czech Foreign Minister defends Israeli strikes (DebkaFile, Dec. 30, 2008)

The Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, who takes over the European Union’s presidency on Jan. 1, defended Israel’s right to strike Hamas.

“Let us realize one thing,” he said. “Hamas increased steeply the number of rockets fired at Israel since the cease-fire ended on December 19. That is not acceptable any more. Israel has the right to defend itself,” he said after France condemned Israel’s operation against Hamas and called on both to stop fighting immediately.

The Czech foreign minister indirectly blamed the Palestinian group for the growing civilian death toll, saying it put its bases and gun warehouses in densely populated areas.

It’s of course no coincidence that a defender of Jews is also a defender of Serbs. On which point we arrive at the supreme irony of one Czech Jew, the late Czech diplomat Joseph Korbel, who nonetheless managed to produce Serb-killers Madeleine Albright (daughter) and Condoleezza Rice (pupil), betraying all that is Czech, Serbian, and Jewish (Korbel converted his family to Catholicism). One has no doubt that he will give each of them an earful just as soon as they depart from a world that would have been better off without them.

Closing now with a quote and two Czech-Albanian vignettes:

In the Bosnians’ and world Muslim view, however, God’s hand is working on their behalf. Their diplomatic backing and their multi-million-dollar public relations campaign in America and Europe have left the Serbs as isolated as the Czechs at the time of Munich.

Sir Alfred Sherman, 1994

BBC Monitoring International Reports – November 8, 2005

Text of report in English by Czech news agency CTK

A Czech soldier and an Albanian man suffered minor injuries in an exchange of fire with a group of Albanians in Kosovo today, the Czech Defence Ministry told CTK.

The Czech soldier was airlifted to the local military hospital.

A group of Czech soldiers, who are part of the Czech contingent within the Kfor mission, clashed with the armed men at a patrolling mission in northern Kosovo. The six Albanians were illegally cutting wood and after an appeal that they should stop with it, they put up resistance.

The men were injured in the subsequent shoot-out, started by the Albanians after a warning shot was fired by the Czech soldiers.

The wood smugglers were later detained and passed to the Kosovo police corps, the Czech Defence Ministry said. The case is being settled by the military police in cooperation with the local administration of the United Nations and the police.

Czech News Agency – September 26, 2006

…[O]ne of the four men who were arrested in Norway on suspicion of terrorism last week was in contact with Princ Dobrosi, a controversial Kosovo Albanian formerly based in Prague who has unsettled accounts with the Czech Republic. In the 1990s, Princ Dobrosi operated as a drug mafia boss on European level, focusing on Scandinavia.

He managed his “empire” from Prague, where he was arrested in 1999 and extradited to Norway. The Norwegian police wanted him since 1996 when he escaped from a local prison after bribing a ward who smuggled him out in a van with dirty linen. Fugitive Dobrosi underwent a plastic surgery in Croatia. The Norwegian court sentenced Dobrosi to 14 years in prison in 1993 for heroin trafficking and the previous escape from prison. “Dobrosi had contacts with one of the people who have been detained in Norway in connection with allegedly planned attacks on Jewish targets,” Gunnar Hultgreen, reporter of the Norwegian daily Dagbladet, has told [the Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes], citing his sources from the police and intelligence. The Oslo detainee concerned is Arfan Qadeer Bhatti, a Pakistani with a Norwegian passport who headed the four-member group suspected of planning attacks on the Israeli and U.S. embassies in Oslo. Bhatti visited Dobrosi, who had been released from Norwegian prison for his good behaviour in 2005, in Pristina, Kosovo, this summer…Jiri Komorous, head of the Czech anti-drug squad, confirmed on Monday that Dobrosi spent several weeks in Prague, where his wife and two children still live, last year already…
Copyright 2006 CTK Czech News Agency Source: Financial Times Information Limited

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