by Justin Raimondo
LAST CHANCE FOR PEACE
With Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, and Finnish President Ahtisaari, the EU representative, on the way to Belgrade, the last hope for a negotiated settlement seems to be dimming even before their return. The top Yugoslav commander in Kosovo, General Nebojsa Pavkovic, insists that no troops from NATO countries will ever set foot on the sacred soil he is pledged to defend. If Milosevic sells out Kosovo now, and compromises Serbian independence, he will not last a day in power. On the other hand, if he continues to defy NATO, he may not last much longer, but at least he will go down in history as another Tsar Lazar, who perished on the Field of Blackbirds rather than bend a knee to NATO.
Meanwhile, the NATO-crats are continuing to demand that NATO troops must be "at the core" of an occupying army ooops! I mean, "peacekeeping" force and the air campaign continues to pulverize orphanages, factories, residences, and the KLA. There was another mistake today, and NATO now admits to inadvertently bombing Albania, hitting KLA positions on the Kosovo border. They call it "friendly fire" but with the separatists already causing problems with their NATO allies, how long after a (short-lived) NATO "victory" will it become distinctly unfriendly?
THE CIVIL WAR AT HOME
While a civil war racks the land of the former Yugoslavia, the U.S. State Department is reportedly the scene of an internecine struggle nearly as vicious. According to a report by Rush & Molloy in the New York Daily News, special US envoy Richard Holbrooke (the Secretary of State-designate in a Gore cabinet) and State Department spokesman Robert Rubin are ready to go at it. At a recent awards ceremony, Holbrooke is said to have "questioned Rubin's masculinity," according to a report by journalists Alexander and Andrew Cockburn. It is not known if Rubin returned fire, or if Christiane Amanpour, his wife and co-warrior, leapt to his defense. Come to think of it, Rubin does seem a little, uh, ephebic.
COMING TO THE SILVER SCREEN
Speaking of Holbrooke, his account of the events leading up to the signing of the Dayton agreement, To End a War, was supposed to have been made into an HBO movie. But now it looks like the project has been shelved. An HBO representative said: "It's in the early stages," and whether he meant the war or the movie is better left to the imagination. But why is the world to be deprived of such an artistic masterpiece? Why not just rename it, something like "To Start a War."
PORTRAITS OF THE WAR PARTY: ELLIOT ABRAMS
How very enjoyable to read of Elliot Abrams' discomfort with his new allies on the imperialist Left. "Nothing has been more disturbing to conservative Kosovo hawks than the identity of their allies." You remember Abrams, a former undersecretary of state under Reagan and a prominent neoconservative, whose disingenuous testimony before a congressional committee investigating the Nicaraguan contra operation got him in some legal difficulties. Naturally, he is emphatically for this war, as he explains in National Review [May 31, 1999]: emphatically, but not emotionally. That emotion stuff is for squishy sentimental liberals like David Bonior and Paul Wellstone. "An inflamed liberal conscience is a weapon of mass destruction," he quips, but what about his own appetite for mass destruction? What is it predicated on cold calculation? Well, yes: "For those on the right who support the war in Kosovo, the calculation is different," he writes. "To begin with, it is a calculation, not an emotion." Can a more unattractive stance possibly be imagined? At least the liberal imperialists claim to be acting in the name of a moral ideal, and at least some of them seem to believe it: with Abrams and his fellow conservative hawks, however, Americans must fight and die not for a noble ideal but for the immortality of NATO, and, incredibly, the fact that "this use of American strength will not, in fact, leave us weaker elsewhere." That is a reason to go to war? Note how Abrams' presumption is in favor of war: if it doesn't weaken us, then do it. This is the distinctive coloration of our neoconservative warhawks: blood red.
AN UNEASY COALITION
Abrams' fascinating taxonomy of the right wing of the War Party is insightful and presumably based on his knowledge as an insider. On the one hand we have the "Kissengerians," who warned against getting involved but, once we had set foot in the quagmire, were determined that we were going to sink all the way into it. This is the "since we're in it we've gotta win it" school of thought, as the favored neocon presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, likes to put it. On the other hand we have "the ideologues of American greatness," a phrase that comes with its own built-in Wagnerian music. Citing the Napoleonic yearnings of General Charles de Gaulle "France cannot be France without greatness!" he writes that "the American Gaullists think he had merely the country wrong." These two wings of the War Party find themselves in "an uneasy coalition" and are positively appalled to find themselves in the company of Strobe Talbott, who actually once worried about the prospect of nuclear war, and David Bonior, who dared question the crushing of tiny Grenada. But I have a suspicion that this pro-war coalition, however uneasy, will fast develop into a working alliance; as the various sets of warmongers take up the task of defending the undefendable, their arguments will tend to merge into each other, to blend into a rich mixture of lies and self-righteousness, of cold calculation and febrile emotion.
Can anyone really be as stupid as Abrams and his ilk? This is a question raised by his description of the Kissengerian view: "Kissinger himself is consistent and logical: Just as he opposed cutting and running in Vietnam, he does so in Kosovo." Consistent, yes: logical, not quite. For his premise is incorrect, just as it was in Vietnam, and the pursuit of error can only lead to disaster again, as in Vietnam. Have these people learned nothing? After all the blood that has been spilled at their behest and at their command, can it really be possible that the very same crew is going to drag us into yet another futile and unwinnable land war in which we are the aggressors and in which all our victories are pyrrhic? Thank god Nixon has gone on to his just reward, or else you can be sure he would be right up there with Kissinger declaiming that we must fight for NATO just as we once fought for SEATO now that would make the nightmare complete.
MARCH IN THE ANTIWAR.COM CONTINGENT JUNE 5TH
All you Antiwar.commers out there: now is the time to emerge from the virtual world and make your protest more tangible: come march with the Antiwar.com contingent on June 5th. The nationwide protests scheduled for that Saturday afternoon are shaping up to be quite an event, and in San Francisco we are marching as an organized contingent, along with the Ad Hoc Coalition Against the U.S.-NATO War in the Balkans. Meet near United Nations Plaza inside the Carl's Jr. near the "fountain" (actually, the fountain has no water, but anyway . . . ) Please join us! We need to show that our concept of a Left-Right coalition against this war is the only way to stop the slaughter. I know you would much rather stay home that day, perhaps do a few chores around the house, go out for a nice walk, read a book please, I know just how you feel. But we won't stop this war, or build a credible movement to stop it, without people like you people who would normally not even think of attending a demonstration, or at least would need to be persuaded at length and in detail. Now when they are getting ready to send in the ground troops, and openly talk of occupying Yugoslavia with US troops for years is the time to stand up and be counted. In the San Francisco Bay Area we need you to show up: Carl's Jr., in UN Plaza, near the fountain. If you can make it, click here and let us know you're coming.
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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).