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- Author: Peter van Ham x
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In Europe's security discourse, 'Kosovo' tends to allegorise the Balkanisation of Europe, the ultimate metaphor of chaos and disintegration which supposedly is the antithesis of the real Europe of peace and stability. The challenge for the EU has been to prevent a slow drift from a postmodern politics of family resemblance to a narcissistic policy of passive self-absorption and epistemic closure. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) air campaign has legitimised not only new European order (NEO) realism: it has made another step in legitimising the structure of meaning that circulates in the very debate on 'European security'. The discourse of 'European security' produces a parallel paradigm of European sovereignty, a paradigm that faces serious challenges of local resistance (of the still-resilient state), as well as external opposition.
In the story of post-Cold War conceptual confusion, the war in and over Kosovo stands out as a particularly interesting episode. This book provides new and stimulating perspectives on how Kosovo has shaped the new Europe. It breaks down traditional assumptions in the field of security studies by sidelining the theoretical worldview that underlies mainstream strategic thinking on recent events in Kosovo. The book offers a conceptual overview of the Kosovo debate, placing these events in the context of globalisation, European integration and the discourse of modernity and its aftermath. It then examines Kosovo's impact on the idea of war. One of the great paradoxes of the war in Kosovo was that it was not just one campaign but two: there was the ethnic cleansing campaign in Kosovo and the allied bombing campaign against targets in Kosovo and all over Serbia. Serbia's killing of Kosovo has set the parameters of the Balkanisation-integration nexus, offering 'Europe' (and the West in general) a unique opportunity to suggest itself as the strong centre that keeps the margins from running away. Next, it investigates 'Kosovo' as a product of the decay of modern institutions and discourses like sovereignty, statehood, the warring state or the United Nations system. 'Kosovo' has introduced new overtones into the European Weltanschauung and the ways in which 'Europe' asserts itself as an independent power discourse in a globalising world: increasingly diffident, looking for firm foundations in the conceptual void of the turn of the century.
This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores how experiences in Kosovo have changed the discourse of European security. It provides new and stimulating perspectives on how 'Kosovo' has shaped European post-post-Cold War reality. The book aims to contribute to the insecurity of the field of security studies by sidelining the theoretical worldview that underlies mainstream strategic thinking on the Kosovo events. It investigates how 'Kosovo' has developed into this principal paradigmatic sign in the complex text of European security. The book also investigates how its very marginality has emphasised the unravelling fringes and limits of the sovereign presence of what 'Europe' thinks it stands for, and how it affects the discourse on European security.