The Kosovo Test

Why only half the world welcomes a new Balkan independence day

It's hard to keep track of the Balkans, with all those disputed borders, ethnic hatreds and separatist movements. But the Feb. 17 declaration of independence by Kosovo--an impoverished province smaller than Connecticut--has become a global Rorschach test.

The bipolar reaction to Kosovo's break from Serbia had a bit of a cold war feel. President George W. Bush declared a victory for freedom and most of the West recognized the new nation, while Russia exploded in outrage and China expressed "grave concern." But this wasn't a new clash of civilizations. Russia and China were just rejecting the legitimacy of independence movements before...

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