Serbia and Kosovo have come together to normalize their economic positions. This is indeed historic. Ambassador Rick Grenell is indeed correct in noting that this may become one of the most important foreign policy achievements of the Trump administration. Really? Why are Serbia and Kosovo – two non-major countries in Europe so important?
Let’s take a look back. In the early-mid 90’s, the number one foreign policy issue of the Clinton administration was the vicious Civil War going on in what was formerly Yugoslavia. With the fall of the Iron Curtain in the late 80’s, there were multiple countries in the Eastern bloc of Europe that shed their Communist past. One of them was Yugoslavia, but it did not rebuild, it fell apart and descended into a vicious Civil War. It was so bad that aerial bombardments of the area were the hot issue, as reports of atrocities were reported in the region. The hatred between the Croatians and the Serbians boiled over into all-out war.
This was not a new phenomenon. It goes back well into the mid 19th century, and even before that. Nationalism in the mid 1800’s was extremely strong in the Balkans then, and it spread throughout Europe and beyond. The beginning of World War I, according to many historians was actually the political assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, an event that took place in the Balkans. What happens in the Balkans indeed does spread to the rest of the world. The fact that now the two sides are able to have any level of economic agreement as a platform to future recognition and peace agreement is indeed historic. Economic normalization as a first step is indeed an excellent major step in the path of moving the world into a more peaceful and safe future.