By Michael Djordjevic
With the fall of communism and emergence of America as the only world superpower, the hope for peace, freedom and progress was high. Nonetheless, in the twilight of the old order lurked a new global danger: fundamentalist Islam. This new challenge to world peace and stability is rooted in a cosmology older and stronger than ideologies of fascism or communism or ideas of the New World Order.
The Balkans have historically been the key battlefield between Islam and European civilization since the battle at Kosovo, where the Ottoman Turks clashed with the Serbs in 1389, to the present. At its apex, the Islamic tide reached and was stopped at the gates of Vienna (1683). It was finally pushed out in the Balkan War of 1912, when the combined armies of Greece, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria were stopped at the Gates of Istanbul (Constantinople) by the intervention of the great European powers of that period.
Although not admitted in the capitals of the West, the real and the first clash with this revived expansionist force took place in the Balkans in the 1990s. In reality we have fought on the side of our enemies.
As in Bosnia before, now in Kosovo, the West has again failed to deal with the basic and overarching Balkan problem — the Serbian Question. Simply, this issue originated from the fact that with the fall of Yugoslavia, nearly overnight one-third of the Serbs found themselves in a new sovereign state hastily recognized by the EU and then the United States. Due to years of experience of genocide and ethnic cleansing during WW II by the Croats, Bosnian and Albanian Muslims, the large Serbian minorities in these two countries demanded self-determination. This was denied as the West took the stand that "borders are inviolable." Yet now the Albanians in Kosovo are encouraged to violate the Serbian borders via self-determination, while the Bosnian Serbs in the entity of Republika Srpska are still denied the same right.
Kosovo, a province in Serbia, is about 15 percent of her territory. Within only two generations (1929-1980) from 15 percent of Kosovo population, Albanians reached 80 percent; the Serbs declined from 60 percent to 18 percent in the same period. This is a clear-cut example of what open borders, a high birthrate and wrong politics can produce.
After Serbia was bombed to submission in a "humanitarian" war in 1999, Kosovo was given to the United Nations for administration — with catastrophic results. Quickly, the province was methodically and ethically cleansed. It is now monoethnic. More than 150 Christian churches and old monasteries have been destroyed, while some 200 new mosques and a number of schools for the young were feverishly built by Wahhabi funds. Violent and corrupt, Kosovo has become a den of thieves, arm smugglers and white slavers and the key narcotics transfer point to Europe.
Threatening violence, the Islamists demand independence from Serbia. America and Europe are seriously considering forcing Serbia to cede her land in contravention to all international norms and laws and U.N. Resolution 1244. This would be the second Moslem sovereign state created in the Balkans in one decade by the international community. As correctly asserted, "even as Western societies worry about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the international community's ill-conceived policies for Kosovo...may prove to be directly responsible for production of Europe's own Taliban."
Independence for Kosovo will likely pave the tormenting road to "Greater Albania," thus assuring a permanent instability and turmoil in the Balkans. The idea of a "Greater Albania" is essentially a mono-ethnic nationalistic construct originated in 1878 by the Albanian League. To many Albanians, an independent and monoethnic Kosovo is nothing but a phase of the process leading to fulfillment of these nationalistic aspirations. Of course, changing the now existing borders of four sovereign states in the volatile Balkans is nothing short of creating conditions for permanent instability and new cycles of wars. These conflicts would readily and easily be exploited by outside parties, particularly terrorists and international criminal networks.
So long as we fail to recognize Serbia's legitimate interests and continue to violate the moral norms and international legal system, the Kosovo problem cannot be solved. As Ambassador Jack Matlock correctly concluded in the New York Times in 1999: "Neither partition nor independence nor indefinite foreign occupation will win in the long run without the acquiescence of the Serbian people." As the Serbs have already waited five centuries to regain the cradle of their civilization and identity, they will certainly try to do so again, and in much shorter time.
Michael Djordjevich, an American of Serbian origin, founded and served as the first president of the Serbian Unity Congress.