Red Reading - Spectrezine's reviews of the latest the radical press

Kosovo: The Politics of Recognition
Even among long standing supporters of national self-determination for Kosovo, the eagerness with which the Bush administration extended diplomatic recognition immediately upon that country’s declaration of independence on February 17 has raised serious concerns. Indeed, it serves as a reminder of the series of U.S. policy blunders over the years that have compounded the Balkan tragedy.
This is not the first time Kosovo has declared its independence. In 1989, Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic revoked the province’s autonomous status, allowing the 10% Serb minority to essentially impose an apartheid-style system on the country’s ethnic Albanian majority. The majority of ethnic Albanians in the public sector and Serbian-owned enterprises were fired from their jobs and forbidden to use their language in schools or government.
In response, the province’s ethnic Albanians – consisting of over 85% of the population – declared an independent republic in 1990, establishing a parallel government with democratic elections, a parallel school system, and other quasi-national institutions. The movement constituted one of the most widespread, comprehensive and sustained non-violent campaigns since Gandhi’s struggle for Indian independence. In response, Serbian authorities engaged in severe repression, including widespread arrest, torture, and extra-judicial killings.
For most of the 1990s, the Kosovar Albanians waged their struggle non-violently, using strikes, boycotts, peaceful demonstrations, and strengthening their parallel institutions. This was the time for Western powers to have engaged in preventative diplomacy. However, the world chose to ignore the Kosovars’ non-violent movement and resisted the consistent pleas by the moderate Kosovar Albanian leadership to take action. By the end of the decade, the failure of the United States and other Western nations to come to the support of the Kosovars’ non-violent struggle led to the rise of a shadowy armed group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army, ultra-nationalists with links to terrorism and the drug trade, who convinced an increasing number of the province’s ethnic Albanians that their only hope for national liberation came through armed struggle.
By waiting for the emergence of guerrilla warfare before seeking a solution, the United States and other Western nations gave Milosevic the opportunity to crack down with even greater savagery than before. The delay also allowed the KLA to emerge as the dominant force in the Kosovar nationalist movement. Rejecting non-violence and moderation, KLA forces murdered Serb officials and ethnic Albanian moderates, destroyed Serbian villages, and attacked other minority communities. Some among its leadership even called for ethnic cleansing of the Serb minority to create an ethnically pure Albanian state.
Tragically, former KLA leaders and their supporters now dominate the newly-declared independent Kosovo Republic.
Read the rest of Stephen Zunes commentary from Foreign Policy In Focus

Kosovo: Large Potential Albanian Oil And Gas Discovery Underscores Kosovo's Importance
On January 10, Swiss-based Manas Petroleum Corporation broke the news. Gustavson Associates LLC's Resource Evaluation identified large prospects of oil and gas reserves in Albania, close to Kosovo. They're in areas called blocks A, B, C, D and E, encompassing about 780,000 acres along the northwest to southeast "trending (geological) fold belt of northwestern Albania."
Assigned estimates of the find (so far unproved) are up to 2.987 billion barrels of oil and 3.014 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, because of their depth, oil deposits may be capped with a layer of gas. If so, Gustavson calculates the potential to be 1.4 billion barrels of light oil and up to 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Further, if only gas is present, the discovery may be as much as 28 trillion cubic feet. In any case, if estimates prove out, it's a sizeable find.
In its statement, Gustavson reported: "The probability of success for a wildcat well in a structurally complex area such as this is relatively high (because) it is in a structurally favourable area (and) proven hydrocarbon source and analogous production exists only 20 to 30 kilometres away."
Currently, the Balkans region has small proved oil reserves of about 345 million barrels, of which an estimated 198 million barrels are in Albania. Proved natural gas reserves are much larger at around 2.7 trillion cubic feet.
In December 2007, Albania's Council of Ministers allowed DWM Petroleum, AG, a Manas subsidiary, to assist in the exploration, development and production of Albania's oil and gas reserves in conjunction with the government's Agency of Natural Resources.
This development further underscores Kosovo's importance and the cost that's meant for Serbia. Since the 1999 US-led NATO war, it's been all downhill for the nation, the region and its people:
Read the rest of Stephen Lendman's analysis on Countercurrents
EU: Emissions Trading

Including aviation emissions in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme could be a step in the right direction, argues UK Green Euro-MP Caroline Lucas in her article for The World Today Magazine, but the terms are just not tough enough.

Economics: Seven Principles for a Sustainable Global Economy
Ideas about how the world works that don't accord with reality can be unhelpful, says Tom Prugh, State of the World 2008 Project Co-director and Editor of US pressure group and periodical World Watch. That's especially true about mainstream economics. But in recent decades, economists and researchers have suggested a variety of reforms that would make economics truer, greener, and more sustainable.
Read "Green Economics": Turning Mainstream Thinking on Its Head.