Let’s remember that the NATO/EU fostering of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in 2008 was an endorsement of secession from a fellow democratic country, not Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia. And to compound that astonishing insensitivity, the Western powers blatantly bypassed the UN Security Council to impose their will. Why, then, the squeamishness about considering a new Balkan strategy that involves a modest territorial adjustment in Kosovo and a decision to abandon the clearly failed nation‐building project in Bosnia?
Such moves are criticized because there are restless ethnic minorities elsewhere in the region, including in Serbia and Macedonia, and so there are worries worry about the precedent that would be set. But that is a less‐than‐compelling argument. First, these critics didn’t worry about setting a precedent when the West amputated Kosovo from Serbia. Second, many countries in the world have unhappy ethnic or religious minorities, and it is clearly impossible to accommodate the wishes of all of them. The key issue is whether the minority in question is both numerous enough and geographically concentrated enough to pose a serious, ongoing threat to the unity of the state. In most instances, that is not the case. (The Albanian minority in northwestern Macedonia may be a partial exception.)