The Road to Independence for Kosovo: A Chronicle of the Ahtisaari Plan

In This Review

The Road to Independence for Kosovo: A Chronicle of the Ahtisaari Plan
By Henry H. Perritt, Jr.
Cambridge University Press, 2009
328 pp. $85.00
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Kosovo's declaration of independence, in 2008, was the last -- or, alas, possibly only the latest -- chapter in the painful and complex demise of Yugoslavia. Perritt comes as close as an outsider can to opening doors into the chambers where the political forces of Belgrade and Pristina tangled and diplomats from Russia, the EU, and the United States struggled to craft the least destabilizing disposition of Kosovo nearly ten years after the NATO-led war broke Serbia's hold over it. His account makes plain that independence (and not just some form of autonomy or partition) was in the cards from the start. But to get there without running over the Russians and, if possible, while reconciling the Serbs and holding the EU constituency together was no mean diplomatic feat. In the end, only the last of these objectives was achieved. Sympathetic as Perritt is to the Kosovars' cause, he notes how much uncertainty persists about future Russian behavior, the prospects of an independent Kosovo, and the ability of the UN Security Council to deal with the next comparable crisis.