Argument: Kosovo independence will not inspire other separatist movements

Issue Report: Kosovo independence


  • “Response to ‘The Case Against Kosovo Independence’ by Raju G.C. Thomas”. Mr. Cheeseburger 9000. January 8, 2008 – “I think one of the most important things to point out about the ‘wildfire’ category of arguments is the mistaken impression that the world consists of hundreds and thousands of separatist territories itching to see when Kosovo declares independence so that they can follow. Strangely, the territories that many cite in the ‘wildfire’ category of arguments have already unilaterally seceded: Abkhazia, Transnistria, South Ossetia, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. These territories that most everyone in the ‘wildfire’ category of arguments cite to were not directly inspired by Kosovo’s attempt to secede from Serbia.
For example, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus formally declared independence in 1983 — many years before Kosovo’s attempt to break from Serbia. In Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria, the precedent was the breakup of the USSR, not Kosovo’s attempt to secede from Serbia.”
  • “Rejecting false parallels: Why Kosovo is not South Ossetia (or Abkhazia or Transnistria or northern Cyprus…)”. Greater Surbition. Retrieved 2.02.08 – “Nor is it true that the world is covered by dozens or hundreds of potentially separatist territories, all eagerly watching to see what happens with Kosovo before deciding whether themselves to follow its example. We know this is not true, because several of the territories that are usually cited – South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transnistria and northern Cyprus, in particular – have already unilaterally seceded from their parent countries. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus formally declared independence in 1983, years before Kosovo attempted to secede from Serbia. Anyone with any knowledge of the chronology of historical events in greater south-eastern Europe knows perfectly well that the acts of secession in question were not in any way inspired by events in Kosovo. In the cases of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria, the obvious precedent, in the eyes of the secessionist leaderships, was the secession of the constituent republics of the USSR, to which was coupled their own reluctance to be left in an independent Georgia or Moldova.
Secessionist leaderships, in other words, choose the precedents that suit them. Those South Ossetians, Abkhazians and Transnistrians seeking precedents can cite the recognised secession of Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Montenegro, etc. If Kosovo is recognised, they will be able to cite Kosovo as well. But nobody should confuse rhetoric and propaganda with genuine motivation. And it is particularly comical to hear the Russian leadership voice its ‘fears’ of Kosovo setting a precedent, when it was the Russians whose military intervention enabled South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria to break away from Georgia and Moldova in the first place. That the Russians continued to support the secessionists in question while crushing Chechnya’s bid for independence should be enough for us to dispense with the illusion that their arguments over Kosovo have anything to do with principles over consistency and precedent-setting. They could, if they wish, respond to our recognition of Kosovo’s independence by recognising formally the independence of their Transnistrian and South Caucasian clients – as Turkey has recognised northern Cyprus – but nothing forces them to do this, certainly not their infinitely malleable ‘principles’.”