So after weeks of Western media speculation that the Serbs would "understand political realities", "forego nationalism", in other words, bend over and take it like a man, it seems that they are getting tired of being kicked around while the EU membership carrot is being dangled in front of their faces. Mark Ames at the Exile is pleased at the redecoration of the US embassy in Belgrade:
What's particularly gratifying in watching the Serbs protest and burn is that it shows the Serbs haven't been completely coapted and turned into harmless little Washington bootlickers like the rest of Europe. They have international law on their side, and they have history on their side, but the real question is whether or not they still have their souls. The protests of the past few days, and the burning of the embassy, show that they do.
I think he may be too optimistic. Serbs have often made impressive and protracted shows of defiance which turned out to be ultimately futile. I can't say I'm dismayed at the storming of the US embassy, though. After all, the US and NATO have been bombing embassies with much less reason and what's more, in countries which didn't even belong to them (for example, a Chinese one, in Belgrade). And the shocked, shocked reactions from the West at the Serbs being a tad excited over their historical heartland being snatched away from them (patriotism being very much passe over here in Europe) are rather funny. To me, anything which displeases the colourless bureaucrats and satraps of the EU, or the haughty overlords from Washington, is.
This said, I don't see any alternative but independence for Kosovo. The only way the Serbs can get it back is through enormous bloodshed and a civil war which may last forever. The Albanians own the place now, after the remaining Serbs, Roma, Jews, slavic muslims and just about anybody else left - wholly voluntarily, of course. And it's time they get to rule the place as well - they can't hardly do worse than the UN and EU have been doing so far.
Unfortunately, that would be relevant if Kosovo would actually become independent. Instead, it'll turn into another Balkans EU protectorate.
I wonder what will happen now. I don't think this is a situation that the EU and NATO are actually pleased with - my guess is that they would have preferred to have Kosovo hang in the limbo it's been in for the past ten years forever, but that delaying Kosovar self-determination would have eventually resulted in an insurrection. European states seem much more divided about recognition than was speculated at least in the Swedish media (which expected only Cyprus not to go along, and who cares about Cyprus, anyway). Russia has taken pretty high risks with regards to the Balkans before, and maybe they'll do something interesting again.
My guess is, though, that nothing will change; that the Serbs will eventually calm down in the face of some vapid promises from Brussels; and that Kosovo will remain in the limbo of de-facto independent states together with South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transdniestria, etc. In the real world, the little guy doesn't win from the schoolyard bully. And until nations at the centre of Europe actually get tired of the EU nightmare and start reasserting themselves again, that's what's going to happen.