Lecture Notes


























Kosovo used to be part of Serbia.

Kosovo is a tiny and extremely poor country on the Balkan Peninsula. It used to be part of Serbia. In 1998, the people of Kosovo (who are Muslims and ethnically different from Serbs) rebelled against Serbia in an effort to gain independence.

The President of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, sent troops to Kosovo to crush the incipient rebellion. He was merciless. Not only did he attack the Kosovo rebels, he tried to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of its entire Muslim population. Finally, NATO intervened on humanitarian grounds.

The intervention was largely successful: Milosevic was forced, eventually, to withdraw his troops from Kosovo, and Kosovo essentially became a protectorate of the United Nations.

In 2008, Kosovo declared its independence. 77 countries have recognized Kosovo as a fully independent country. Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo, and Russia—Serbia’s longtime ally—is blocking Kosovo’s membership to the United Nations.


Check Your Understanding

  1. What powerful country is blocking Kosovo's membership in the United Nations?
  2. Why is Serbia opposed to Kosovo's membership in the United Nations?