The Trump administration has helped broker a deal between Serbia and Kosovo, two former arch-enemies that were part of the former Yugoslavia. The agreement is receiving scant attention from the mainstream media for reasons I’ll address below. However, it’s an important deal — more so, I think, than the agreement between Israel and the UAE, which mostly ratified existing realities.
The main significance of the Serbia-Kosovo agreement is its potential to improve economic conditions and, in so doing, thwart Russian ambitions in the region. Russell Berman of the Hoover Institution and Stanford University explains:
[T]he agreement establishes multiple paths for economic development, including expansion of the railway network, potentially reaching a harbor on the Adriatic, reciprocal recognition of professional certifications, and participation in the “Mini Schengen Zone,” to facilitate travel and trade between the two countries as well as Albania and North Macedonia. An especially auspicious component of the agreement is the prospect of working with the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to support large-scale infrastructure projects.
The agreement, therefore, lays the groundwork for economic growth in Kosovo and Serbia. . . .
Understood merely as a step forward toward improving conditions in the two countries, the agreement is an important achievement that deserves applause in its own right. However, it is in fact much more. The agreement is an important step forward in the foreign policy vision of the Trump administration to improve security in the larger region and to restore U.S. leadership.
The West Balkans has been a soft spot in the security of the architecture of Europe, ever since the break-up of the Yugoslav state. Russia has been playing a destabilizing role, exploiting ethnic and religious ties and deploying its copious disinformation capacities. In addition, the relatively weak economies of Southeast Europe have proven an easy target for Chinese penetration through the Belt and Road Initiative.
The European Union as well as individual West European countries, notably France, have sent mixed signals that have not been helpful in the efforts to stabilize peace and democracy. The Kosovo-Serbia agreement puts the United States back in the game of leadership in the region, especially through the prospect of robust infrastructure development. It also shows, once again, how the Trump administration has been consistently countering Russian malign influence, while the Europeans are just too slow to act.
Berman’s analysis — and there’s a lot more to it than I have quoted — seems spot on. When I visited Montenegro, another fragment of the former Yugoslavia, I saw signs of Russia’s growing influence, and I heard about the mixed signals that nation is receiving from the EU.
The Trump administration’s efforts on behalf of Serbia and Kosovo provide further evidence, though none is required, that the Democrat/MSM drumbeat about alleged Trump complicity with Putin is nonsense. Trump has opposed Russian interests in Ukraine and in the Nord Stream pipelines, for example.
It’s not that Trump is tougher on Russia than President Obama was. It’s that Trump is tough on Russia and Obama wasn’t.
Which bring us back to the MSM’s lack of interest in covering the Serbia-Kosova deal. Richard Grenell, who took a lead role in brokering the agreement is probably right when he says that some in the White House press corps couldn’t find these two nations on a map. But if there were an anti-Trump angle to the story, they would write it up anyway without bothering to consult a map.
I think the main reason for the lack of coverage is that the story runs counter to the MSM’s narrative that Trump is a tool of Putin. The MSM staked nearly everything on this lie. It must be protected, the facts be damned.