Daily Archives: February 19, 2008

Well, Kosovo has been independent for about 24 hours, and so far things are going more or less as the British and Americans anticipated. The assumption was that there would be trouble within Kosovo itself – and violent protests in Serbia. But that Russia would restrict itself to diplomatic protests and would not escalate matters by recognising would-be statelets that want to break away from Georgia, like South Ossetia or Abkhazia. So far, that’s more or less how things are working out.

But unhappiness about the new state-of-affairs is not confined to the Balkans or Russia. As the FT reports this morning, there are several European Union countries that are refusing to recognise Kosovo – foremost among them Spain, which is worried about the implications for Basque separatism. The whole situation is a reminder that “European unity” can quickly shatter, when EU members feel that their basic national interests are at stake. The situation must be particularly awkward for Javier Solana, a Spaniard who is meant to be the very embodiment of EU foreign policy. Read more

Shortly after the FT published its journalists’ “Predictions for 2008″ a colleague approached me and said: “I see you’re predicting instability in Pakistan. That’s sticking your neck out a bit, isn’t it?”

I am writing this column before the Pakistani election results have come in. But, having established a reputation for daring judgments, I am prepared to make a further prediction. Whatever happens in the parliamentary elections, there will be further instability. Read more