While mainstream media was salivating and consumed over what President Trump allegedly said two years ago, Kosovo and Serbia were “normalizing” economic relations. To the new age biased and completely polarized national media, real reporting has been put aside for National Inquirer type stories that inadvertently fizzle into nothing. We have gone through four years of eye-opening headlines that have been debunked over and over again. Yet the media keeps on hanging on the hope that this would be the one. The one that would proof to be true. The “aha I told you so moment” that would rock the world. So far it has not even moved Jell-O. But innuendo completely refuted by those who were present to include Bolton, who has just written an unflattering pseudo tell-all book about his former boss, still made the headlines. But that was last week.
If you have missed what has really been going on in the world, turn to the Washington Post and Hugh Hewitt. A prolific contributor and columnist who does more than opine, he actually analysis . In a September 9th opinion column entitled Pay attention to Trump’s underreported successes, Hewitt succinctly points to the significance of what is happening in the Middle East, Gulf, and the Baltics. Don’t be fooled by the title. He is not a Trump MAGA brainwashed supporter, but an honest to goodness opinion columnist that delves into the nitty gritty aspect of politics rather than the flavor of the month partisan narrative. A talent lost on both the national and international media level.
While CNN, and MSNBC were creating the latest “scandal” on Trump, something significant was happening in the Baltics. It is significant because it piggy backed on the Israel-UAE agreement of a few weeks ago. An agreement that is settling down the middle east into quasi civilized normalcy through diplomatic relations with Israel and its recognition as a rightful state in the Middle East. Israel is now the conduit to peace in the Middle East. So where do the Baltic States fit in?
The Kosovo-Serbian conflict has been going on for decades. With a population of approximately two million, Kosovo is a small country made up of mostly ethnic Albanians and Muslims. A small portion of ethnic Serbs occupy a corner of the northern territory on the border to Serbia. In 1989, Serbian leader Milosevic placed Kosovo under his Serbian government in Belgrade, and with the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of Yugoslavia; old regional grudges surfaced and war broke out.
Muslims were systematically ethnically cleansed from Bosnia, prompting Kosovo to declare independence and arming itself against the prime protagonist of ethnic cleansing; Serbian leader Milosevic. In 1996, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) morphed from a militia to a force to be reckoned with. That upped the ante for Serbia a staunch pro-Milosevic police state that went viciously after ethnic Albanians and families of known KLA leadership. The international community led by the UN condemned the violence and banned the sale of arms to Serbia, and in 1998 demanded a seize fire. A futile attempt by an ineffectual world body that could not stop the carnage. The then Clinton Administration played a “let’s see” waiting game which cost thousands their lives.
NATO planned intervention, but it was not until 1999, when Serbian Special Forces killed 45 ethnic Albanians in an infamous event still remembered as the Racak Massacre, that NATO finally intervened. NATO pounded Serbia in a 77-day air strike, but by the time the Serbs left Kosovo and the KLA demilitarized, over a million people were displaced. A tragedy made worse by an incompetent UN and equally incompetent EU.
Eventually, with UN blessings, Kosovo received self-government status, but it still lacked international recognition. In 2006, the UN attempted another round of talks to stabilize relations between the two states, but when Kosovo declared Independence in 2008, Serbia refused to recognize its status.
Since 2015, the EU has been trying to get these two countries together to “talk”. The Brussels Agreement was supposed to normalize relations and integrate Serb minorities into northern Kosovo. That came crashing down in January 2018, when an ethnic Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic, was murdered by a drive-by shooting. Then Kosovo raised customs duties to 100% on Serbian goods after Belgrade decided to block Kosovo’s entry into Interpol. And so it went; until last week.
While Israel and UAE were signing their peace agreement, the White House was also reaching out to Kosovo and Serbia through the common thread of recognition and affirmation of Israel. In a gesture of compliance, Kosovo lifted its 100% tax on Serb imports, and Belgrade announced its pending move of its embassy to Jerusalem. Once in denial of each other’s state status, Kosovo and Israel have reached a mutual recognition of each other’s Statehood. A predominant Baltic Muslim State recognizing Israel as the rightful owner of the Jewish State.
What most socialist Democrats in the world fail to understand is that economic cooperation and investment brings prosperity. Years of war and upheaval have left Kosovo and Serbia economically strapped with high unemployment and few investment opportunities. Corporations do not normally seek political unrest and genocide as prime real estate for business. Both Serbian President Aleksander Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti have agreed to cooperate on economic fronts and open up investment opportunities that attract jobs and global investments. Capitalism anyone? I am sure that like the UAE, they also hope that their new friendship with Israel will give them a leg up on technology and scientific research; something both need desperately.
Hugh Hewitt connected the dots between the UAE-Israel peace agreement and the Baltic thawing of relations as a well thought strategy of economic stability through an Israeli commonality. Israel has now become the conduit for peace. No nation in its right mind is going to miss an opportunity for commerce and economic recovery, especially after the COVID debacle. Bahrain is the next Arab country that is seeking the same privilege from the land of milk and honey. Monaco is in the wings. A momentum of deliberate negotiations has spread across the region. One that bears sustainable fruit and not just a photo op. My personal opinion is that nine months of COVID economic pain is urging countries to seek out new possibilities. Israel is providing those possibilities.
Israel has more patents per capita than any other developed country in the world save the US. It’s technological, scientific, and medical research is second to none. It’s advancement in arms and weaponry brought about by years of compelled defense against terrorist groups has kept it ahead of everyone else in the region. It’s tenacity to stand up to the neighborhood bullies like Iran, gives surrounding Arab nations something to ponder. With the combination of sluggish if not rock bottom oil revenue, Arab nations find themselves seeking economic stability in greener pastures. They have realized that aligning with Israel will give them an advantage in medical research, science, and technology. I am also sure that there is an arms agreement somewhere on the back page.
Israel has always been the key to peace. A fact ignorantly dismissed by the EU and previous US administrations on both side of the aisle. All focused on the Palestinian “issue” rather than an Arab one. Arab nations have little use any more for terrorist groups on their doorsteps, hence the “hands off” approach toward Hamas led Palestinian Authority and its equally visceral neighbor; Hezbollah. Arab nations have been watching Iran funding both and getting closer to nuclear power in a region fraught with suspicion, terrorism, and economic downfalls. They have woken up to the realization that perhaps Israel is the passport to their economic recovery and military strength.
The Trump administration has done something none of the other administrations or world leaders have done before. A business approach to Middle East peace rather than the run-of-the-mill diplomatic one. Achieve agreements and peace through an economic roadmap that sustains self sufficiency economically and strategically.
These agreements have marginalized Iran, Hezbollah, and the Hamas led Palestinian government bent on destruction rather than progression. A coalition of Israeli-Arab nations brings strength and peace to the Middle East and Gulf regions through deterrence and economic strength. But don’t expect to read this in mainstream media. It does not fit their Netflix like mini-series on the destruction of Trump. It’s not the ending they want. So it’s ignored.
Hewitt, H. September 9, 2020. Pay Attention to Trump’s underreported successes. Special to Washington Post. From: Stars and Stripes