NATO Pressed for Action as Tensions Rise in North Kosovo

Decades of tension show NATO expansion is no panacea

A weekend dispute in northern Kosovo has fueled a new round of controversy, and tensions, as the Kosovar military threatened to move against ethnic Serbs who were blocking the road, leading to a standoff.

This happens from time to time, mostly starting with the Kosovo government preventing the northern Serbs from trading across the border with neighboring Serbia. This leads to a lot of threats back and forth, and unresolved standoffs.

With its endless military operation in Kosovo, NATO finds itself threatening to be sucked into the situation. Kosovo wants NATO to intervene on their side against the Serbs, while Serbia contacted NATO and asked permission to deploy peacekeepers into Kosovo to prevent the crackdown.

NATO’s original war in Kosovo, in 1998, gave the region de facto independence from Serbia, though the Serbians have never recognized that as legal. This has led NATO to a more or less forever deployment in the center of an ever-sparking powder-keg, assured to be impacted alliance-wide if and when it all falls apart.

The Kosovo War preceded a deep NATO expansion into the Balkans, former Warsaw Pact areas. Far from bringing any enhanced regional stability, it has just left NATO insinuated in the middle of everything, and problems like the Kosovo Serbia border issue remain unresolved more or less forever.

This can’t help but be recognized with the ongoing NATO push further north, into the Russian neighborhood, recruiting where they could and heavily arming Ukraine to fight the Russians.

There, too, NATO imagines itself a stabilizing influence, but seems destined to keep the current Ukraine War going and keep a NATO vs. Russia clash forever on the brink.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.