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The Kosovo War - if that is what it will be called someday - has become bogged down by history. NATO underestimated the historic Serb defiance and the will to cling to Kosovo, as seen in the "cleansing" of ethnic Albanians from the province. And it may have misread the history of Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, whose survival instincts were honed by a life of adversity. Quote of note: "The war is over. Psychologically, we will go on bombing to make a point. But in Serbian terms, the harder we hit, the greater the victory." - an experienced diplomatic observer of the Balkans.

While the war will alter Russia's ties to the West, the West tried this week to keep Russia within its fold with another IMF financial rescue. The new loans buy time for economic recovery and keep Moscow somewhat beholden to the West.

In finding blame for wars in the Balkans, many scholars point to the long rule of the Ottoman Empire over the area. On the 75th anniversary of the empire's demise, the main remnant of the empire, Turkey, still feels the imperial aftereffects - and still feels for the Muslims in Kosovo.

And Europe is finding it hard to shake ties to its former colonies, whether it's protecting banana growers in the Caribbean or the East Timorese in Southeast Asia.

On May 6, Scotland elects its first Parliament in 300 years. The Scots want to make it very different from Britain's "bear pit" Parliament. For one, it will have day care, since up to one-third of members are expected to be women.

- Clayton Jones World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *PAGING WILLIAM WALLACE: Alexander MacLeod, who paid his first visit to Scotland 37 years ago, says the political atmosphere there has been transformed since limited home rule became a certainty after the 1997 "devolution" referendum. In 1962, he says, the idea of a self-assertive Scottish nation was just a gleam in the eyes of a few patriots. Now, it seems high on the political agenda. The St. Andrew's cross flutters from many buildings where the Union Jack was once displayed. There is a clear split between an older generation, content with a modest amount of devolution, and younger people, many of whom believe Scotland will eventually win full independence. Alex cites a lively movement called New Scots for Independence, made up mainly of English people who have come to Scotland and made their lives there. There is even a group - its members number in the hundreds - called Asians for Scottish Independence, which works closely with the Scottish National Party. Based on public opinion polls, the SNP may win 28 percent of the electorate.

Let us hear from you. Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail: world@csmonitor.com

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