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Unfreezing Kosovo

Reconsidering Boundaries in the Balkans

Courtesy Reuters

When Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence in February 2008, proponents of the move assumed that Serbia’s acquiescence to Kosovo’s final status was not absolutely necessary. The United States and many countries in Europe hoped Kosovo would gain quick recognition. These supportive governments thought that Kosovo would then have access to capital and investment, and that the northern, ethnically Serbian parts of the province would want to take part in the post-independence economic boom. Sadly, things have not gone according to plan.

Although the United States and many European countries did recognize the new state, some EU members -- such as Spain -- did not, due to fears of setting a harmful precedent that could weaken the doctrine of territorial integrity. Most other world powers have also declined to recognize an independent Kosovo, including Brazil, China, and India. Although some U.S. policymakers predicted that the Islamic world would embrace

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