is wrong with Serbian nationalism? No one will tell you exactly, but
that there is something seriously wrong is taken for granted. It is
such an affront to human decency that just mentioning it suffices to
justify the most savage bombing since Dresden or a decade of severe
economic sanctions by the "international community." Yugoslav President
Milosevic, we are told, must not be allowed to play yet again the card
of "Serbian nationalist sentiments."
the way up to yesterday's elections Vojislav Kostunica, the opposition's
presidential candidate, has consistently been labeled in the Western
media "a moderate Serbian nationalist." What is a moderate Serbian nationalist?
At best all this phrase could mean is that the man is not as bad as
Milosevic, the hard-line Serbian nationalist.
only got worse, and very quickly, just one day after Kostunica's impressive
show in the first round of presidential elections. (He indeed might
have scored an outright victory over Milosevic.) Just one day after
the elections, Kostunica has been up-graded to "another hard-line Serbian
nationalist" by the influential, supposedly independent, intelligence
outlet Stratfor.com in their Weekly Analysis titled "Checkmate in Yugoslavia?"
What is more, in this very short piece Kostunica was called a Serbian
hard-line nationalist no less than three times. So, how does one go
from moderate to hard-line Serbian nationalist so quickly? The transformation
occurs as one gets closer to power in Yugoslavia. By definition, therefore,
a bad guy must always be in power in Yugoslavia. It's easy. All one
has to do is evoke the evil of "nationalism", and that is enough to
absolve the US of its once and future crimes against the people of Yugoslavia.
what about that awesome phrase "Serbian nationalist sentiments"? One
has to be extra careful here. For its meaning, in the context of the
Yugoslav tragedy, implies a kind of collective guilt on the part of
Serbian people collectively. It appears that any other nation in the
world is allowed to have "nationalist sentiments" except them.
define "nationalist sentiments" as signifying concern for the well-being
of one's own group in a way that gives preference to the well-being
of the members of one's own group, rather than another. In the case
of people in Yugoslavia, these sentiments are directed against two sources
of evil: the current regime and the international community (i.e., the
US). In fact, the "nationalist sentiments" are not support for any party,
but rather against these two evils. That is, there is no such thing
as nationalist sentiment in favor of the government in Yugoslavia. Rather,
it is an anti-attitude, since the misfortune and misery of people in
Yugoslavia consists precisely in the fact that they must chose between
two evils, one having to be judged as a lesser evil.
sentiments in Serbia dictate an anti-regime and an anti-international
community attitude. People know that these are their two oppressors,
but when considering which is the greater source of misery, those who
drop bombs (all the while threatening to do it again) and keep austere
economic sanctions endlessly in place (by far a bigger killer over the
longer run than cruise missiles) are clear winners. By choosing them
as a greater source of evil, an illusion of support for the regime is
created, when in fact it is essentially a negative attitude. This is
then plied out as "nationalist sentiments" that can justify whatever
punishment the international community cares to mete out to Serbs, and
the other 26 nationalities living in Yugoslavia.
why is Kostunica a nationalist, in the bad sense of the word of course?
Check out, for instance, Stratfor.com reasoning. Two reasons are offered.
First, Kostunica "condemned last year's war and labeled NATO's prosecution
of the air campaign as a series of 'criminal acts.'" And second, he
does not recognize the legitimacy of the ad hoc criminal tribunal in
The Hague. But who in Serbia, indeed in the world, other than NATO countries'
elites, does not recognize that NATO committed war crimes and that the
Hague tribunal is a political ploy serving the very same purpose as
sanctions and bombing campaigns. I guess, this makes all those who think
so, whether they are in India, Russia, China or the antiwar.com readers
from the US and elsewhere, what else but hard-line Serbian nationalists?
prohibition of Serbian nationalism an ugly game that the US never
plays inside Serbia, but only for the benefit of the international community
must come to an end. The notion that even small nations are entitled
to their own national interest, rather than being forced to equate it
with the US interest, must be reintroduced into realm of foreign policy