Yesterday, I wrote about the recent agreement between Serbia and Pristina, and about how perhaps not every Serbian person in the world is totally over-the-moon about it.
In Mitrovica, 20,000 people gathered on Monday to say “No To The Brussels Agreement.” At the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church, meanwhile, Patriarch Irinej told press that the deal “appears to mark the pure surrender […] of our most important territory in spiritual and historical terms.”
So it’s obviously kind of touchy. Not everyone is happy. The Serbian Orthodox Patriarch isn’t happy, and Tom Hanks (seriously) isn’t happy either. And even though the talks were sponsored by the European Union, Brussels is not the sort of entity to really delve into things like this, or to have officials make speeches about the theological nature of Serbia’s relationship to Kosovo. But that doesn’t mean that they’re doing nothing.
Early this morning, Bloomberg Media published a story detailing how the market surrounding Serbia’s benchmark bonds is responding to the agreement in a sharply positive manner. Bonds are kind of complicated, and what has actually happened is that the yield-to-maturity rate has fallen, making Serbian bonds less directly lucrative. In the occult world that is international finance, though, this is a good sign, as it means two things: money is flowing out of government bonds and into the markets, reflecting investor confidence, and the government can now borrow at a cheaper rate. Reflecting this good-if-ridiculously-complex news, the Serbian dinar made significant percentage gains against the euro as well.
These weird little equations and calculations, are, to a far greater degree than speeches or expressions of principle, the signals of power in the globalized order. Indeed, politics can sometimes be seen as a grand effort to hide the workings of this truer-than-words regime; though George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for instance, excite very different constituencies, the overall economic structure of the United States has not vastly changed between their presidencies. Things like gun laws, homosexual marriage, and the theological underpinnings of disputed European regions are worthy issues to debate, perhaps, and they do a lot to help politicians gain the support of whatever group of people they’re after… but the world of power remains one of numbers.
You have to follow the money. If you are curious about where political actors fall on certain issues, you have to follow the money. Because, in terms of the Serbia/Kosovo agreement, the powers-that-be have made their feelings known.
Quietly, indirectly, and in a strange and difficult code, they have spoken.