What Will an Independent Kosovo Mean?

Furthermore, Kostunica can stir trouble in Bosnia by encouraging the Bosnian Serbs to further challenge the High Representative, possibly even with a referendum initiative. He can also cut off Serbia 's ties to the West and EU and turn to Russia for partnership. Moscow has always said it would veto a resolution of the U.N. Security Council imposing a solution not agreed to by Serbia.

As these events unfold, the potential for violence and pressure for additional measures will be very high. Berlin has announced it will be sending an extra 500 German troops to Kosovo, bringing their contingent in the NATO-led force to 2,800. In Brussels, Gen. John Craddock, NATO's supreme commander in Europe, said the alliance's 16,000 strong Kosovo peacekeeping force had plans to tackle any violence.

"I think Serbia should think carefully about the moves it will pull, not to harm itself the most, as EU integration should be our top priority. The closer we get to EU, the more new investors we'll have," Lakicevic said.

Bozidar Djelic, deputy prime minister, and a close ally to Boris Tadic said to ABC News: "Of course we will not use force. But you must understand. EU integration will be much harder for us to sell to the Serbian people, if Kosovo gets independence."

In the end, Serbia's options for retaliation on Kosovo will remain limited. Belgrade will almost certainly not recognize independent Kosovo officially, but it will have to find some way to live with it. As for the anti-Western measures, they will probably result in nothing more than the recalling of ambassadors and lots of angry words from Belgrade. After several months, things would likely go back to normal.

Unless, of course, something unpredictable happens, which is never a remote possibility in the Balkans.

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