He was, of course, talking about Kosovo, a subject that annoys me simply because 99% of it is pure crap. It equally has a tendency to show what huge hypocrites almost all our media are. I'm not just talking about the people who were against the Iraq war, but for the war in Kosovo, although that is a part of it.
No, what I am mainly talking about is the sort of people, in politics as well as the media, who talk about Kosovo having a seperate political identity and history from Serbia, necessitating their seperation, yet who don't recognize the legitimate claims of, for example, the sepratist movements in South Ossetia, or the Basque region.
Milliband is one such hypocrite.
According to him, Kosovo sets no such precedent. He would have you believe it is the presence of the UN protectorate within Kosovo that makes it special.
Yet, who runs the UN again? Is it the state based system? I believe it is. Sucks to be a person without a state then, like the Kurds, or the Basque, unless a certain superpower should take pity on you, like, say, the USA and EU. Unless this happens, the UN is a closed system to these groups, because they don't have a state, exactly the problem they are trying to address.
Milliband goes one further though, and really lets the cat out of the bag. According to the BBC:
"What you've seen here is clear political leadership from the European Union as a whole, and from its constituent members, to be clear to all sides - Serbs as well as Kosovars - about the future for co-operation, if they're willing to take it."
The key words in the above passage are "clear political leadership". That's a political codeword meaning "Kosovo, as a state, exists because we, other states, recognize it as one of our own". This is furthermore backed up by a UN protectorate - in other words, the force of arms of NATO.
So there you have it. States are 'legitimate' in international terms because they have the force to make their claims stick, and are recognized by other states as one of their own. People don't like to hear that. It makes unsettling reading, to realize the state is based on force and and a gentleman's club mentality, instead of on, say, the claim to being a distinct political unit. But since the people who made the system that way were mostly soldiers and members of gentleman's clubs, that really shouldn't come as a surprise.