Serbian Army at Highest 'Readiness' - NATO Could Get Huge Test


Serbia is rattling sabers with one of its neighbors in a geopolitical feud that could involve NATO.

The country’s leaders say the Serbian army is at its “highest level of combat readiness” in the wake of new tensions between the country and Kosovo.

Aleksandar Vucic, the Balkan nation’s president, is pledging to “take all measures to protect our people and preserve Serbia” amid the tensions, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

The Serbian military said it has moved artillery pieces to the country’s border with Kosovo, according to pictures provided to The Associated Press this week.

The unrest stems from an attempt on the part of Kosovar authorities to force residents of Serb communities in the country to use Kosovar license plates instead of Serbian-issued plates, the BBC reported this month.

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Serbia still recognizes Kosovo as its territory, an opinion shared by the Serb residents of Kosovo.

Both Kosovo and Serbia emerged as countries in the aftermath of Yugoslavia’s collapse in the 1990s.

Kosovo went on to formalize its independence from Serbia with a 2008 declaration of independence.

More than half of the nations in the world recognize Kosovo as a sovereign country, including the United States.

Should NATO go to war to defend Kosovo?

Kosovo, which has a majority of Albanian Muslims, isn’t a member of NATO.

But the alliance maintains a peacekeeping military detachment in the country — a legacy of the American-led NATO intervention in the Yugoslav Wars that led to Kosovo’s creation.

From an American geopolitical perspective, a new war in which NATO is obligated to act would be a costly foreign policy development.

Serbia, traditionally an ally with Russia, long has distanced itself from NATO, but a new war in Europe likely would spur new divisions among the members of the alliance.

Russia’s leaders almost certainly would move immediately to capitalize upon the conflict, distracting from the country’s Stalinist war on Ukraine at a moment in which European NATO member-states are dragging their feet about meeting their obligations to the alliance.

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In any event, a lethal war in which young men are dying over license plates would be darkly reminiscent of previous, furtive conflicts in European history that should have been avoided.

Serbia isn’t the kind of country that would apply to join NATO in the near future, but it does aspire toward joining the European Union.

President Joe Biden and European leaders would be wise to make it clear that EU membership would be out of the cards for Serbia if it can’t find an alternative to waging war on its much smaller and poorer neighbor.

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