what do you think about kosovo? and tibet?

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BMoody
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Postby BMoody » 04-Jul-08 1:03

Worried Man- I wrote that the girl's willingness to fight for Serbia at so young was "scary stuff" because it showed how easily war could begin again. I did not mean to say that the war would be right or wrong. If my country were split apart by a larger power, I would go to war if need be too.

I guess I was just pointing out how much everyone cares there. It is good that they care about their country. It just means there maybe more war... thus it is "scary," but not necissarily wrong.
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Postby Sova » 08-Jul-08 0:48

wer wrote:
Sova wrote:
wer wrote:Sova, I agree with most of your comments here, but I somehow wonder about your choice of words: Serbian occupation? Kosovars?

OK, would you prefer "Serbian aggression" and "ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo?"

Albanians is fine, not so the aggression. Aggresion and occupation are strict terms defined under international law, and both occupation of your own territory and aggression on your own territory is nonsense.

I'm not an international lawyer, so I apologize if I don't know the strict "official" definition. Aggression in the abstract sense is a tendency toward violence, and does not have to be inherently defined by political borders. In that sense, I'll defend my use of words in this instance. Note, I'm not trying to say that the Albanians were not aggressive.

wer wrote:
Sova wrote:Now to further clarify my previous statement, it can not be doubted that the ethnic Serbs had a decisive military advantage in the Kosovo conflict, and as such would be considered the more aggressive group.

I strongly disagree with this! You can't suppose that the stronger side is the more aggresive one.

OK, I misspoke again. Rather, I should have said that the potential for mass loss of life was greater on the Albanian side, and so to try to maintain the status quo, as you put it, it was necessary to intervene, specifically to separate the Serbian military from the Albanians during those times of escalated aggression on both sides.

wer wrote:BTW, there was no UN intervention. The NATO intervened in spite of the disagreement of the UN.

Thanks for the correction.

wer wrote:
Sova wrote:Second, such questions bring up hundreds of years of history, during which the political and ethnic boundaries of Europe and elsewhere have changed hundreds of times, blurring the rights to property. If one argues that Kosovo originally belonged to the Serbs, and should stay that way, barring other ethnicities, e.g. Albanians, then the same question should and would arise elsewhere around the globe. Example: The U.S. should give land back to Mexico and England. Mexico should give it's land back to Spain. France, Spain and England should give land back to the Native American tribes, and where does it end?

The principle of territorial integrity is not based on historical claims, it is based on the status quo. It doesn't matter that Kosovo was once Serbian or Turkish. It does matter it is Serbian right now.

I agree with this to a point, and in this case as well; however, there is a danger in this line of thinking that may lead to a "possession-is-9/10's-of-the-law" type of thinking. Specifically, how long does a country need to possess a territory, for their ownership to be justified by the status quo? A year, 10, 100?

wer wrote:And what about the other nationalities in Kosovo?

Another story altogether, of course, but the topic of debate had centered around these two nationalities.

wer wrote:
Sova wrote:Even if there weren't such historic ties to the area on both sides, there is too much geographical mixing of the two ethnicities to make relocation of one or the other group feasible.

The story of the Czechs and Germans is an evidence you are not right.

In this case, I meant "feasible" in the sense of "morally acceptable," rather than "logistically possible." The relocation of Germans from the Sudetenland also differed from the situation in Kosovo, in the sense that many, perhaps most, of the ethnic Germans had only recently moved (a few years prior to their forced expulsion) to the Sudetenland, and therefore their claim to the land was only as recent conquerors (which goes against the status-quo, possession-is-9/10's-of-the-law mentality). Of course, the blanket removal of Germans from the Sudetenland expelled many German families whose families had lived there for generations, and this I can not justify.

wer wrote:
Sova wrote:And ethnic violence to remove one or the other is not a morally acceptable solution.

Nice idea, but all sides have to respect it, right?

Exactly my point! So when one side or the other doesn't respect this principle, then should the rest of the world stand by and merely watch, or else try to do something to stop it?

Worried Man wrote:[quote="Sova"the political and ethnic boundaries of Europe and elsewhere have changed hundreds of times, blurring the rights to property. If one argues that Kosovo originally belonged to the Serbs, and should stay that way, barring other ethnicities, e.g. Albanians, then the same question should and would arise elsewhere around the globe. Example: The U.S. should give land back to Mexico and England. Mexico should give it's land back to Spain. France, Spain and England should give land back to the Native American tribes, and where does it end?

I think you're right. But, there are not too many Native Americans left, you'll have to agree. And no one blamed European immigrants for that bloodshed. You'll probably say: "Laws have changed since then", but those people were humans, too. [/quote]
Perhaps no one blamed the European immigrants then, but they sure do now. Yes, laws have changed, societies have changed, and so trying to apply today's sense of morality to yesterday's is misguided, at best. Again, this is partially why I don't favor retroactively giving land back to formerly conquered nations after prolonged periods of occupation/integration in another land, aside from the logistics of determining who has the right to what land.
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Postby wer » 08-Jul-08 18:09

Sova wrote:I'm not an international lawyer, so I apologize if I don't know the strict "official" definition. Aggression in the abstract sense is a tendency toward violence, and does not have to be inherently defined by political borders. In that sense, I'll defend my use of words in this instance. Note, I'm not trying to say that the Albanians were not aggressive.

OK, I could respect your vague usage of the word in informal matters, but I can respect no legal claim based on it.

(BTW, aggression is rather the act of violence, isn't? The right word for the tendency, as I feel it, should be aggressivity or aggressivness.)

Sova wrote:
wer wrote:
Sova wrote:Now to further clarify my previous statement, it can not be doubted that the ethnic Serbs had a decisive military advantage in the Kosovo conflict, and as such would be considered the more aggressive group.

I strongly disagree with this! You can't suppose that the stronger side is the more aggresive one.

OK, I misspoke again. Rather, I should have said that the potential for mass loss of life was greater on the Albanian side, and so to try to maintain the status quo, as you put it, it was necessary to intervene, specifically to separate the Serbian military from the Albanians during those times of escalated aggression on both sides.

...

wer wrote:
Sova wrote:And ethnic violence to remove one or the other is not a morally acceptable solution.

Nice idea, but all sides have to respect it, right?

Exactly my point! So when one side or the other doesn't respect this principle, then should the rest of the world stand by and merely watch, or else try to do something to stop it?

I can accept that the separation of the hostile sides could start by pacification of the most strongest side. It's a natural solution from the technical point of view. But I can not accept it as a complete solution. And it is absolutely unacceptable to base a punishment of the one particular side on it.

The immorality of a situation is not an a priori reason for intervention (the Tibet is an excellent example of it). You have to consider the morality of the intervention itself. Even in the moral matters, it is reasonable to think in terms of costs and benefits. And the way, in which the intervention affects the responsibilities of the intervening forces, is not of less importance.

The NATO started the intervention by crushing the Serbian army - that's fine, but in such a case the NATO has to take over the full responsibility for protection of the civilians in Kosovo. And the intervention has to continue by pacification of the other sides. NATO failed in this aspect which calls the whole intervention in question.

Yes, what is done can't be undone, today is to late to meditate on the morality of the intervention, but it is not to late to question the morality of the recent policies. I don't think it is moral to ignore the Serbians and to appease the Albanians.

Sova wrote:
wer wrote:
Sova wrote:Second, such questions bring up hundreds of years of history, during which the political and ethnic boundaries of Europe and elsewhere have changed hundreds of times, blurring the rights to property. If one argues that Kosovo originally belonged to the Serbs, and should stay that way, barring other ethnicities, e.g. Albanians, then the same question should and would arise elsewhere around the globe. Example: The U.S. should give land back to Mexico and England. Mexico should give it's land back to Spain. France, Spain and England should give land back to the Native American tribes, and where does it end?

The principle of territorial integrity is not based on historical claims, it is based on the status quo. It doesn't matter that Kosovo was once Serbian or Turkish. It does matter it is Serbian right now.

I agree with this to a point, and in this case as well; however, there is a danger in this line of thinking that may lead to a "possession-is-9/10's-of-the-law" type of thinking. Specifically, how long does a country need to possess a territory, for their ownership to be justified by the status quo? A year, 10, 100?

...

Worried Man wrote:
Sova"the political and ethnic boundaries of Europe and elsewhere have changed hundreds of times, blurring the rights to property. If one argues that Kosovo originally belonged to the Serbs, and should stay that way, barring other ethnicities, e.g. Albanians, then the same question should and would arise elsewhere around the globe. Example: The U.S. should give land back to Mexico and England. Mexico should give it's land back to Spain. France, Spain and England should give land back to the Native American tribes, and where does it end?

I think you're right. But, there are not too many Native Americans left, you'll have to agree. And no one blamed European immigrants for that bloodshed. You'll probably say: "Laws have changed since then", but those people were humans, too.
Perhaps no one blamed the European immigrants then, but they sure do now. Yes, laws have changed, societies have changed, and so trying to apply today's sense of morality to yesterday's is misguided, at best. Again, this is partially why I don't favor retroactively giving land back to formerly conquered nations after prolonged periods of occupation/integration in another land, aside from the logistics of determining who has the right to what land.


That's why the institute of country's recognition exists, and why the possible disrecognition should be exceptional and duly (I tend to write more than duly) justified.

[quote="Sova wrote:
wer wrote:And what about the other nationalities in Kosovo?

Another story altogether, of course, but the topic of debate had centered around these two nationalities.


Another story, but a related one. The relations of the Serbians and Albanians to the other nations is significant for passing the judgement on motives of both sides.

Sova wrote:
wer wrote:
Sova wrote:Even if there weren't such historic ties to the area on both sides, there is too much geographical mixing of the two ethnicities to make relocation of one or the other group feasible.

The story of the Czechs and Germans is an evidence you are not right.

In this case, I meant "feasible" in the sense of "morally acceptable," rather than "logistically possible." The relocation of Germans from the Sudetenland also differed from the situation in Kosovo, in the sense that many, perhaps most, of the ethnic Germans had only recently moved (a few years prior to their forced expulsion) to the Sudetenland, and therefore their claim to the land was only as recent conquerors (which goes against the status-quo, possession-is-9/10's-of-the-law mentality).

There was practically no imigration from the Reich to the annexed areas of Czechoslovakia, the Germans were settled there mostly since the end of the Thirty Years' War.
On the other hand, most of the Albanians in Kosovo are new imigrants (conquerors by your words). They settled there under Duce and Führer.

Thus the possible post-war expulsion of the Albanians from Kosovo was more justified than the expulsion of the Germans from Czechoslovakia.

I guess you are not surprised I consider both justified.

The problem is the Allies were inconsistent in this matter. The Central European measures were not applied to the case of Kosovo to appease Tito who was not in favor of the Serbs.
Today it is hardly acceptable to use such an extreme measure.

Of course, the blanket removal of Germans from the Sudetenland expelled many German families whose families had lived there for generations, and this I can not justify.

It was not fair, but justified. (By the way, there was no general expulsion of Germans, mixed families and the Germans whose loyalty to Czechoslovakia was attested, were exluded from it.)
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Postby Sova » 09-Jul-08 20:50

wer wrote:OK, I could respect your vague usage of the word in informal matters, but I can respect no legal claim based on it.

I'm not interested in legal claims in this respect--legality is a sticky subject when dealing with international issues--I'm interested only with the moral claim.

wer wrote:(BTW, aggression is rather the act of violence, isn't? The right word for the tendency, as I feel it, should be aggressivity or aggressivness.)

Aggression can mean either an act or the tendency or behavior, whereas aggressiveness refers only to the tendency or behavioral characteristic.

wer wrote:I can accept that the separation of the hostile sides could start by pacification of the most strongest side. It's a natural solution from the technical point of view. But I can not accept it as a complete solution. And it is absolutely unacceptable to base a punishment of the one particular side on it.

The immorality of a situation is not an a priori reason for intervention (the Tibet is an excellent example of it). You have to consider the morality of the intervention itself. Even in the moral matters, it is reasonable to think in terms of costs and benefits. And the way, in which the intervention affects the responsibilities of the intervening forces, is not of less importance.

The NATO started the intervention by crushing the Serbian army - that's fine, but in such a case the NATO has to take over the full responsibility for protection of the civilians in Kosovo. And the intervention has to continue by pacification of the other sides. NATO failed in this aspect which calls the whole intervention in question.

Yes, what is done can't be undone, today is to late to meditate on the morality of the intervention, but it is not to late to question the morality of the recent policies. I don't think it is moral to ignore the Serbians and to appease the Albanians.

I agree with this completely!

wer wrote:That's why the institute of country's recognition exists, and why the possible disrecognition should be exceptional and duly (I tend to write more than duly) justified.

Although even recognition of a country is a sticky subject, because often one nation with recognize a new country, whereas another will not. Is this a case where the majority rules, i.e. the majority of countries either recognizing or refusing to recognize a new nation establishes moral and/or legal right to land? I'm not sure if the issue is clear--it's definitely not black-and-white.

wer wrote:
Sova wrote:
wer wrote:And what about the other nationalities in Kosovo?

Another story altogether, of course, but the topic of debate had centered around these two nationalities.


Another story, but a related one. The relations of the Serbians and Albanians to the other nations is significant for passing the judgement on motives of both sides.

I agree.

wer wrote:There was practically no imigration from the Reich to the annexed areas of Czechoslovakia, the Germans were settled there mostly since the end of the Thirty Years' War.

Hmm... I knew that there was a long-term German presence there, but was not aware that there was so little immigration after pre-WWI annexation. I know a German family who settled near Ostrava after annexation of the Sudetenland and later expelled. I was under the impression that German settling there was significant in those years. My mistake.

wer wrote:On the other hand, most of the Albanians in Kosovo are new imigrants (conquerors by your words). They settled there under Duce and Führer.

New perhaps relatively speaking, since according to Wikipedia, "By the mid-19th century, the Albanians had become an absolute majority in Kosovo." And no, by "conquerors" I was referring specifically to the redrawing of political, not ethnic boundaries. The question might be ambiguous of whether inherent moral right to land should be derived from ethnic or political boundaries, present or past.

wer wrote:The problem is the Allies were inconsistent in this matter.

True. In my opinion, the U.S.'s and other's recognition of Kosovo can be traced in large part to a desire to reconcile with Muslims worldwide, so as not to appear to be anti-Islamic in world politics. Of course, Americans often side with the underdog, so this is of course a contributor here as well.

wer wrote:
Of course, the blanket removal of Germans from the Sudetenland expelled many German families whose families had lived there for generations, and this I can not justify.

It was not fair, but justified. (By the way, there was no general expulsion of Germans, mixed families and the Germans whose loyalty to Czechoslovakia was attested, were exluded from it.)

By the way, how exactly was loyalty to Czechoslovakia attested? Surely there could not have been formal hearings for the 2.5 million Germans expelled after WWII.
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Postby wer » 18-Jul-08 0:05

Sova wrote:
wer wrote:That's why the institute of country's recognition exists, and why the possible disrecognition should be exceptional and duly (I tend to write more than duly) justified.

Although even recognition of a country is a sticky subject, because often one nation with recognize a new country, whereas another will not. Is this a case where the majority rules, i.e. the majority of countries either recognizing or refusing to recognize a new nation establishes moral and/or legal right to land? I'm not sure if the issue is clear--it's definitely not black-and-white.

International law is consensual, the majority doesn’t matter. Only the mutual recognition of all concerned sovereign sides does matter.

The United States recognized Mexico and Mexico recognized the United States. This makes any war of conquest between Mexico and the United States illegal under international law. The recognition by other states doesn’t matter here.

The United States recognized Serbia and Kosovo as its integral part, but now the United States recognizes also Kosovo as an independent state. This is not problem of Serbia, it’s problem of the United States. Recognition is a form of deal and you can not cancel one deal by making a contradictory deal with somebody else. Of course, all deals could be canceled, but you need some legal reason for an unilateral canceling of the deal. In the case of Kosovo, I miss the base for disrecognition of Serbia. (In this paragraph you can replace the United States with the Czech Republic, if you want. :wink:)

wer wrote:There was practically no imigration from the Reich to the annexed areas of Czechoslovakia, the Germans were settled there mostly since the end of the Thirty Years' War.

Hmm... I knew that there was a long-term German presence there, but was not aware that there was so little immigration after pre-WWI annexation. I know a German family who settled near Ostrava after annexation of the Sudetenland and later expelled. I was under the impression that German settling there was significant in those years. My mistake.

Pre-WWII annexation.

wer wrote:On the other hand, most of the Albanians in Kosovo are new imigrants (conquerors by your words). They settled there under Duce and Führer.

New perhaps relatively speaking, since according to Wikipedia, "By the mid-19th century, the Albanians had become an absolute majority in Kosovo." And no, by "conquerors" I was referring specifically to the redrawing of political, not ethnic boundaries. The question might be ambiguous of whether inherent moral right to land should be derived from ethnic or political boundaries, present or past.

Yes, my mistake. I don’t mean the absolute majority, just the biggest influx of Albanians attributable to one single event (as long as the WWII could be considered to be one event :wink:).

In my opinion, the U.S.'s and other's recognition of Kosovo can be traced in large part to a desire to reconcile with Muslims worldwide, so as not to appear to be anti-Islamic in world politics. Of course, Americans often side with the underdog, so this is of course a contributor here as well.

I think it could be traced to the British and American switching sides in WWII Yugoslavia. Since this single event the Serbians were always the “bad guys” for the West.

Sova wrote:By the way, how exactly was loyalty to Czechoslovakia attested? Surely there could not have been formal hearings for the 2.5 million Germans expelled after WWII.

That was the main reason for the expulsion, to prevent the trials with the millions of Germans.

Hmm, the loyalty? I wish I could hold my tongue (fingers) :twisted: :wink:. Not for some sheepishness to speak about it openly, just for the complexity of the problem. It can not be fully described in few words. And as a physicist you surely know that every complex problem has its real and imaginary part, right :twisted:? There was chaos afterwars.

The basic criterium was paradoxically the nationality! It is strange, isn’t? But consider it was quite easy to switch the nationality for the Central Europeans and that it was formally declared during the WWII.

By the 1945 standards, there was not clear distinction between nationality and state citizenship, but still it was not the same. Thus the citizenship was the other important criterium. All the Germans (and not only they) faced this hang-choice – either to accept the citizenship of the Third Reich (which was treason, a capital crime, under Czechoslovakian law), or to accept the citizenship of Czechoslovakia (which was treason for the Nazis), or to accept the Protektorat citizenship (which was, especially for the Germans, the shortest way to be marked as anti-Nazis and to get into troubles). An unfair choice, I know. But it was not set this way by Czechoslovakia.

And finally, it was possible to dispute (or confirm) the supposed disloyalty by testimonies of other persons, or on the basis of any evidence of resistance to the Nazis.
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Postby Alexx » 14-Aug-08 1:25

I have been to Kosovo recently, all I can say it is nice booming country, where I felt safe, you would have never guess the nice city around you is Prishtina if there were no soldiers. I only met friendly people willing to help, no tourist scams so far, low prices, good transport system. There is brand new bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica, opened three weeks ago from now, some five days before I were there, for pedestrians only, with a sign "let this bridge is a link between people" or something like that - with no guards, unlike the famous bridge with patrolling French soldiers.

This is what I have seen, no political propaganda. Should you have any questions about how it look like in Kosovo, ask me here, I can write more about my trip.
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Postby Fitore » 20-Jan-10 16:45

Oh come on , you think Kosovo is a fake state ? It's not like that . You gotta learn more about history . Kosovo is Albanian , and Albanian's origin is from Ancient Illyrians,who were the first in Balkan territory.And you still think that Kosovo is Serbia , right ? It's not . If you want to come from Serbia to Kosovo,you need a passport . :)
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Postby Alexx » 21-Jan-10 9:16

I do honestly think europe should be more about swallowing down personal/national pride (in political sense, not cultural and so), get over the past and create multicultural space where no passports, stams, visas and borders what so ever are needed.

There is a lot of nations who used to have problems with each other in past (Slovakia-Hungary, France-England, Germany-everyone, ...) but now there are virtualy no borders and people can live together (most of them) without problems. The same is possible in balcan region, not only Kosovo-Serbia.
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Postby wer » 22-Jan-10 12:38

I think the opposite. Good and stable borders make good friends. Disrespect to the old borders leads to escalation of violence.

Well established borders are not to the detriment of harmony between people — on the contrary, it helps to find a modus vivendi from all conflicts of interest. Border is not an iron curtain which limits the free movement, it’s only a clear divide of responsibility. Just think of the situation between Czechs and Slovaks, we have virtually no border disputes, and no sane Czech or Slovak would ever mind the necessity to use visa or passport on the Czech-Slovak border. Only guilty conscience leads to the chauvinistic Schadenfreude like in the Albanian post above.
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Postby Sova » 27-Jan-10 19:31

Czechs and Slovaks have no border disputes and are "good friends" in no small part because they have no history of violence one toward another, not to mention similar culture/ancestry/ethnicity. So, no offense, but your example seems weak in this context. If you'd cited France and Germany, on the other hand ...

I do agree with the statement about disrespect toward borders escalating violence; however, whether stable borders (I'm not sure what exactly makes a "good" border) foster friendship is open to debate. As a counterexample: borders between democratic western Europe and the Eastern Bloc were stable for over 40 years, but this didn't foster much in the way of friendship--although perhaps one might argue that these boundaries were not "good." :wink:

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