Conflict Resurfaces With Lessons on Nation-Building
The New York Times
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s team is busy these days managing a troop drawdown in Iraq and a troop escalation in Afghanistan, hoping in both cases to build governments that can manage their own countries. Virtually forgotten is the last such American project overseas, still incomplete but reaching a critical juncture this week.
Before Afghanistan and Iraq, there was Kosovo, the preoccupation of Washington a decade ago but largely off the radar screen in recent times. Eleven years after NATO drove out Serbian forces and two years after Kosovo declared independence, the young nation is struggling to consolidate its position on the map and looking for American help.
Prime Minister Hashim Thaci came to town for perhaps Kosovo’s most important week since assuming statehood. On Wednesday, he met with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and accepted an international loan package. But most important, he wanted to be in Washington on Thursday when the International Court of Justice ruled on whether the 2008 declaration of independence was valid, a decision fraught with divisive potential in Europe.