Citizen Digital Diplomacy?

Posted on February 8, 2014

Yesterday, my morning started with an exchange with Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Petrit Selimi regarding potential naming conventions of their future armed forces. I suggested to Mr. Selimi that perhaps in a traditional sense of civil-military relations it was inappropriate to have NATO come up with a name.

This was right up my alley as far as my current research efforts. Specifically that in a rush to consolidate Kosovo into a sovereign state and in seeking Euro-Atlantic integration, a foreign model of democratic civil-military relations is being imposed to enable accessions into NATO and the EU.

I took the opportunity to plug my paper with Instituti GAP. Basically, that I recognize it isn’t my place to interject into the debate.

Mr. Selimi offered that a similar model is the IDF

After my recent trip to Israel, I had to offer an alternative perspective. Namely, if all state’s militaries are from that state, you can’t necessary suggest the IDF is a native force. In Israel proper, Palestinian-Israeli citizens do not participate in the IDF. Does Kosovo wish the same of Kosovo-Serb citizens?

Later in the day, I had the opportunity to hear Petrit’s boss, MFA Enver Hoxhaj speak at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

In preparation for my planned conference this summer in Kosovo and in support of my current paper Civil-Military Relations and Peacebulding, I’d like to ask about what can be done to ensure the transformation of the KSF into some future army doesn’t escalate the tensions between Kosovo and Serbia. Suffering through a potential no-go on being able to ask a question and running out of time, Professor Serwer recognizes my hand and I am able to slip in the last question of the morning. So I ask, “In light of the political and diplomatic sensitivities regarding the transformation of the Kosovo Security Forces, what pragmatic confidence building measures could be considered?”

Minister Hoxhaj responds that the strategic security sector review has be underway since March. It has been supported by its friends in the US and Europe. He recognizes that the decision of the future of the KSF is to be made in the future. He does offer, however, the most important perspective to take is an Euro-Atlantic one. In as much, he hopes that Kosovo could finalize a contract with NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. He recalls that prior to entering the European Union, the Balkan states first were members of NATO.

For one last measure of citizen diplomacy, I reflect on his response and carbon copied the Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the US Mission to NATO