In the column for The Washington Times, J. Michael Waller, senior analyst for strategy at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, commented on the failure of US strategy in Kosovo.
“Like a political cult’s fantasy park, a 10-foot statue of a waving Bill Clinton leers over Bill Clinton Boulevard not far from the Hillary clothing boutique. A metal bust of President Clinton’s former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, lurks in the park nearby. Out of town, near an American military base, a 20-mile stretch of road is named after Joe Biden’s late son. A congressman from the Bronx, Eliot Engel, not only got his own boulevard but earned his face on a postage stamp.
It sounds like a freak show for The Swamp, and it’s real. All made possible with $2 billion of the American taxpayers’ money. Add an extra big bill for American troops there — not to protect the place from foreign invaders or to secure American vital interests — but to keep the locals from killing one another. The freak show is called Kosovo.
Kosovo is a never-ending mess. Its own people, a mishmash of irreconcilable cultures, historically can’t get along without some form of dictator or military occupation. Each side ethnically “cleanses” itself of the other in a civil war horror between ethnic Albanian Muslims and ethnic Serbian Christians. The Albanian majority forced out most of the Christians — hardly anyone in the world cared — and declared independence from Serbia.
The breakaway landlocked province has zero strategic value to the United States. Less than half the area of Vermont, Kosovo is home to a population almost the size of the Bronx. It’s a babel of five official languages with two alphabets. Eighty percent of its young people don’t work. Kosovo’s most famous exports are jihadists.
Just over two decades ago, Kosovo’s bloody civil war against the Christians and the Christian Serbs’ tough response prompted Congressman Engel to persuade Ms. Albright and Mr. Clinton to use American force to defeat the Christian side. Mr. Clinton used NATO as a fig leaf to run a bombing campaign affectionately called “Madeleine’s War” supposedly to stop the bloodshed.
The humanitarian bombing brought autonomy to Kosovo, but the bombs weren’t enough: An Islamist insurgency, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), ran guerrilla operations on the ground to shape the new rebel government. Many U.S. officials at the time considered the KLA as an Islamist terrorist group, but Mr. Engel wasn’t perturbed. He used his seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to sponsor legislation to fund the KLA. That arguably helped earn Mr. Engel his picture on a Kosovo postage stamp.
After the war, the locals proved once again that they couldn’t get along and needed an armed babysitter. Mr. Clinton brought in American troops with European allies flying the NATO banner, and absurdly invited Russian troops to “help.” The awkward hybrid nearly resulted in a NATO military confrontation with Russia.”