🇺🇸 Coercive Diplomacy Unveiled: Kosovo's Struggle for Sovereignty Amidst Political Manoeuvring
Challenges to Kosovo's Sovereignty, Political Landscape, and External Pressures.
The implementation of "Coercive Diplomacy" by the United States is prominently visible in the unfolding events in Kosovo. To fully grasp the significance of these recent developments, it is essential to delve into the historical context.
In this journal, written by Robert J. Art, professor of international relations and research associate at Harvard University and MIT, a review is presented for the book "United States and Coercive Diplomacy" by Patrick M. Cronin, assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development. The journal examines the concept of "coercive diplomacy," which involves using the threat or limited use of military force to change the behaviour of a target state or group. It focuses on the application of coercive diplomacy by U.S. leaders in eight different cases since the end of the Cold War, aiming to understand its objectives, operation, and effectiveness.
The journal includes contributions from various scholars and practitioners who analyze specific instances of coercive diplomacy, such as engagements with North Korea, Serbia, the Taliban, warlords, terrorists, and regional superpowers. The authors evaluate the outcomes of these cases, highlighting the mixed results of coercive diplomacy and exploring why it has succeeded in some instances but failed more often.
Robert Art's conclusion underscores the uneven performance of coercive diplomacy, raising important considerations for scholars and policymakers. The analysis provides insights into the complexities and challenges associated with employing military force as a diplomatic tool, shedding light on the factors that influence its effectiveness.
Overall, this journal enhances the understanding of coercive diplomacy as a foreign policy approach and provides valuable insights into its successes, failures, and implications for future strategic decision-making.
But, let's delve deeper into the case of Kosovo, which is a notable example in the context of coercive diplomacy.
Kosovo's Electoral Revolt: Overcoming Corruption and Reshaping Political Landscape
In the October 2019 parliamentary elections in Kosovo, the Vetëvendosje party, led by Albin Kurti, emerged as the leading victor with 26.27% of the votes. The second-place party was the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), led by Vjosa Osmani at the time, garnering the support of 24.25% of the electorate. The third-place party was the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), led by Kadri Veseli, a former chairman of the clandestine intelligence agency SHIK. The PDK has long been associated with organized crime and corruption, hindering the country's progress and favouring agreements aligned with Kremlin-backed Serbia.
Albin Kurti formed a coalition government with LDK, Vjosa Osmani was elected as the President of the country and Avdullah Hoti was the Deputy Prime Minister. Led by Albin Kurti, the new government marked a shift in national and foreign policies, prioritizing the interests of Kosovo and its allies over those of external powers.
However, this stance was met with disapproval from traditional allies who had previously utilized Kosovo for their own geopolitical interests. The United States, under the pro-Kremlin presidency of Donald Trump, with Richard Grenell, suspected of having ties to Serbia, as the head of intelligence, expressed their discontent with Kurti's administration.
Avdullah Hoti, associated with previous administrations embroiled in corruption and organized crime, was easily coerced by the US's coercive diplomacy tactics to help the latter oust Kurti from power. It is alleged that the US coerced LDK to withdraw from the coalition, resulting in the overthrow of the democratically elected government led by Albin Kurti. Chairwoman Vjosa Osmani, who had limited influence in maintaining the coalition, distanced herself from LDK and formed her own party following the collapse of the Kurti government.
In the extraordinary elections of 2021, the people of Kosovo, frustrated and united against those challenging the interests of the Republic, voted out nearly all the corrupt political parties. Albin Kurti of the Vetëvendosje party secured an impressive 47.85% of the vote in a joint list with Vjosa Osmani, enjoying an additional 21.58% compared to the previous elections. The PDK, responsible for two decades of devastation and political violence, suffered a decline in support, receiving only 17.81% of the electorate's trust. Avdullah Hoti, the former Deputy Prime Minister, and his party also experienced a loss in electoral support, with a mere 13.08% of the vote. Meanwhile, warlord Ramush Haradinaj, who relied on a coalition in 2019, secured a paltry 7% of the electorate's support in the 2021 elections.
Albin Kurti's Resurgence: A Defiant Stand Against External Pressure and a Quest for a New Kosovo
Less than a year after being pushed out as Kosovo's prime minister due to US pressure, Albin Kurti was poised for a triumphant return in the nationwide election on February 14, 2021. His previous coalition government had collapsed in March 2020 after LDK withdrew its support, following public undermining by the Trump administration for resisting a quick peace deal with Serbia. The previous Kosovan government led by Avdullah Hoti had signed a ceremonial agreement for closer relations with Belgrade at a White House event overseen by Trump, though it was largely seen as lacking substance and underwhelming.
In the 2021 parliamentary elections, Kurti's Movement for Self-Determination (LVV) was projected to secure a landslide victory, thanks to their platform focusing on cracking down on corruption and challenging the long-standing political class associated with corruption and cronyism.
Challenges and Determination: Kosovo's Struggle for Sovereignty Amidst Shifting Alliances
The surge in public support for Kurti can also be attributed to the lingering frustration over his previous removal from power. The events of 2020, including the pressure exerted on Kurti by the Trump administration, fueled resentment among the young people of Kosovo, motivating them to actively participate in the 2021 elections.
Kurti, a prominent opposition figure for many years, gained prominence when his party emerged victorious in the general election of October 2019. His partnership with Vjosa Osmani, the country's acting president at the time and a prominent female politician in Kosovo, further solidified his support. Osmani had risen through the ranks of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and had been known for her independent stance within the party.
After Kurti's government fell in 2019, Osmani was expelled from the LDK and proceeded to establish an electoral coalition with LVV. As a result, she led a list of independent candidates.
The alliance between Kurti and Osmani resonated strongly with young Kosovars and even swayed undecided or disgruntled voters. Together, they conveyed a powerful visual message and effectively represented a contrast to the long-standing leaders in the Balkans who have been accused of corruption and cronyism.
With Kurti as Prime Minister and Osmani as President, following their electoral victory, Kosovo showcased a different leadership style. In contrast to the entrenched politicians who had held power for decades, the new administration pledged to combat corruption and challenge the prevailing political class that had hindered Kosovo's progress since the end of Serb rule in 1999.
Challenging Sovereignty: Kosovo's Stand Against External Alignment and the Battle for National Integrity
However, the current situation in Kosovo has taken a curious turn. The United States, which previously employed covert tactics in its diplomacy, is now openly aligning itself with the leadership of Kremlin-backed Serbia. This new alignment has sparked shock among many Kosovars who see it as a direct challenge to their country's sovereignty.
One contentious issue revolves around the demand from Serbia for the creation of an Association of Serb municipalities within the Republic of Kosovo. This proposal essentially seeks to establish autonomous enclaves within Kosovo, which the new leadership of Kosovo vehemently opposes. They are determined to stand firm against such requests, as they view it as a threat to their nation's integrity. This resistance comes despite the United States diplomats spreading deliberate misinformation and accusing the government of Kosovo of fueling tensions in the northern territory.
The US, EU, Russia and Chinese support for Serbia, encouraged the latter to deploy its armed militias who pose as protestors in the region and engaged in violence, shooting at NATO peacekeeping troops who were subsequently injured. These incidents have further complicated the situation, and the United States' actions and statements have left many questioning their true motivations in challenging the Republic of Kosovo and attempting to subjugate it to Serbia's interests.
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The people of Kosovo, under the current unswayed leadership, remain resolute in their determination to maintain their independence and protect their nation's interests. The road ahead may be challenging, but the new government is steadfast in its commitment to resist external pressures and safeguard the Republic of Kosovo's sovereignty.
Sources: United States Institue for Peace; Kosovan PM and President Office websites; Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights; The Guardian; Radio Free Europe; Deutsche Welle - DW; EURACTIV; BBC World News; Al Jazeera; CNN, VX Pictures, Twitter Accounts of the US Embassy in Prishtina and the US Sec of State Antony Blinken.