Iraq Vs. Kosovo

As all of you know, we’ve heard incessant complaining about how the rebuilding effort is going in Iraq. Many people have suggested that we should turn things over to the UN who are even now showing their commitment to Iraq by having some of their staffers flee the country. But before we get our “allies” in France, Germany, Russia, & Syria (who showed such commitment to Democracy in Iraq before the war) involved in the decision making via the UN, perhaps we should look at another UN rebuilding effort in Kosovo.

Now you could hardly be blamed for thinking things are going swimmingly in Kosovo given how little you hear about it. I mean, every little setback in Iraq is a big story and we’ve only been there a few months. So no news must be good news in Kosovo right? Not exactly. Here are a few details you might not have heard about the UN’s efforts there…

“Four years after the war, the United Nations still runs Kosovo by executive fiat, issuing postage stamps, passports and driver’s licenses. Decisions made by the local elected parliament are invalid without the signature of the U.N. administrator. And still, to this day, Kosovar ministers have U.N. overseers with the power to approve or disapprove their decisions.”Donald Rumsfeld

See? With Iraq the French demand that we rush, rush, rush, to transfer sovereignty over to the Iraqis, but in Kosovo the UN is even handing out driver’s licenses four years later. Here’s more from Kosovo…

“Unemployment is 60 percent. Electrical power in the hinterlands is unreliable. The reconstituted local police force has not yet assumed its duties unassisted. There about 22,200 foreign troops keeping the peace in Kosovo. The U.S. total is 2,100, part of a NATO contingent of about 18,000. And ethnic hatreds still seethe. There is a broad feeling both among international workers and Kosovars themselves that, if the international community were to pull out of Kosovo now, chaos — or even war — could break out again in short order.”Don Melvin

Even though roughly 80% of the people in Iraq are getting more reliable power than they did before the war, we hear constant complaining about the power not being up 24/7 across the whole nation. Meanwhile, four years later, the UN can’t even keep the lights on in all of Kosovo. But at least the UN has a plan right?

“Four years after NATO intervention, Kosovo has no ‘road map’ to the future. Chances of the United Nations protectorate reverting to Serb rule are nil but no pact on its destiny is seen in 2004.

Opinions among local leaders and international officials diverge on whether it will become an independent state or some hybrid short of that. But until this is clear, it will block Serbia’s path to key goals, European Union and NATO membership.”Reuters

Keep in mind how things have gone in Kosovo when you hear people complaining that things aren’t moving fast enough or that we should get the UN involved.

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