If anyone can understand the ugly, unnecessary standoff between the United States and Kosovo, it is Volodymyr Zelensky. Ask the Ukrainian president to grant ethnic Russians autonomy, and Zelensky will immediately ask three questions: Will the Russian speakers accept that they live in Ukraine, not Russia? Will Russia recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity? And will the grant of autonomy finally allow us to join NATO?
The inability of the United States and European Union to answer these same questions, as applied to Kosovo and Serbia, is at the root of the self-destructive Western power struggle with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti. Instead of looking at autonomy strategically—as Zelensky would, and as Russian President Vladimir Putin does—Biden administration officials are as dogmatic as the Kosovo prime minister who has attracted Western ire.