The Kosovo government had announced a measure requiring Serbs living in northern Kosovo to apply for local license plates, replacing their Serbian plates.
But Serbs staged protests (with reports of gunfire) and road blockades at two border crossings, pushing Kosovo authorities to delay the measure for a month while they discuss next steps.
Serbia has long had a similar rule for Kosovar license-plate holders on its territory, and Kosovo was merely trying to apply the same standard.
The problem, of course, is that Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo as an independent state, even though the United States and around 100 other countries do.
This would be a purely local story were it not implicated in the geopolitical dynamic triggered by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.
As Vladimir Đukanović, an MP from the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, channeling Russia’s rationale for invading Ukraine, recently mused, “Serbia might be forced to engage in the ‘denazification’ of the Balkans.”
Even the expression “forced to engage” echoes the Kremlin’s farcical line about being provoked by NATO aggression to invade Ukraine.
Moreover, Đukanović’s reference to “the Balkans” follows the same logic as the Russian line, which implies that all of Europe, caught in the vortex of self-destructive degeneracy (LGBTQ+, same-sex marriage, no clear gender distinctions, and so forth), ultimately will have to be “denazified.”
As Aleksandr Dugin, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s court philosopher, explains, “We are fighting the absolute evil, embodied in Western civilization, its liberal-totalitarian hegemony, in Ukrainian Nazism…”
According to this new conservativism, Nazism, Communism, and woke hedonism all amount to the same thing.
But this corralling of opposites really is too much even for a hardline Hegelian. It reveals the glaring inconsistency not just of Kremlin propagandists but also of the pro-Russian US and European alt-right, which claim to embody traditional Christian values even as their words and actions countenance genocide and glorify sexual violence.
As a leading player in this culture war, the Kremlin has been intervening through its proxies not only in Kosovo but also in Bosnia, which it has warned against NATO membership.
Unfortunately, the Western leftists and pacifists have chosen simply to ignore the geopolitical dimension of Putin’s “denazification” project.
As Jeremy Corbyn, the former British Labour Party leader, recently complained, “Pouring arms in [to Ukraine] isn’t going to bring about a solution, it’s only going to prolong and exaggerate this war. We might be in for years and years of a war in Ukraine.”
Implicit in this position is that Western governments should simply let Russia occupy Ukraine. Yet it is an odd “pacifism” that applies pressure on the victim (which must not defend itself too vigorously) and its supporters (which must not help the aggressor’s target too much), rather than on the attacker.
Western “pacifists” insist that we “de-demonize” Putin. There will have to be some kind of negotiation sooner or later, so we should treat him as a future partner. In fact, we should do the exact opposite: the attack on Ukraine compels us to re-demonize Putin, not personally but as an exponent of a dangerous geopolitical and ideological project. […]