March 21, 2001

America's ex-warlord wants round 2 in Balkans

Breathtaking in its scope, monumental in its sheer brazenness, the hypocrisy of Wesley K. Clark – former supreme commander of American occupation forces in Europe during the Kosovo war – is an awesome sight to behold. This perfumed prince of the military elite, having retired along with Bill Clinton, his patron and promoter, is now limited to bombarding his intended victims with words, instead of missiles: in the long run, however, the effect is no less deadly. His latest screed, "Don't Delay in Macedonia" [Washington Post, 20 March 2001], is a veritable blueprint for war. This is hardly surprising behavior for this devout priest of Ares, but what astonishes is the sheer gall of the man. As one of the chief architects of our military and diplomatic strategy in the Balkans, is commander Clark now proffering his advice to "solve" a problem he personally did much to create? Incredibly, the answer is yes.


Clark is shocked – shocked! – that the Kosovo "Liberation" Army he unleashed on the Balkans is now taking full advantage of the arms, training, and logistical support provided by NATO. As Macedonia explodes, the General recommends "a prompt Western response in order to maintain the integrity of a multi-ethnic Macedonia." Having created the problem to begin with, "NATO is the only institution that can act effectively to move the situation from confrontation to dialogue." But why must the government of Macedonia engage in a "dialogue" with the leaders of an open insurrection who have pledged to fight to the death? In setting the stage for the policy proposals at the end of his piece, Clark describes the circumstances that led to US intervention in Kosovo:

"Two years ago today, talks to prevent a war in Kosovo collapsed. The government of Slobodan Milosevic then used massed troops to begin a rampage of ethnic cleansing and murder. NATO initiated its bombing campaign on the principle that security in Europe rests on peace and the rule of law across the Balkans."


In reading the above, what is striking is that here is a writer whose every word is a lie, including "the," "to," and "a." What about the Albanian rampage of ethnic cleansing and murder that has taken place in "liberated" Kosovo under the not-so-watchful eye of KFOR? The General has long been a fan of that "army" of drug-dealing cutthroats and pimps presided over by Hacim Thaci and his handlers, stubbornly averring in the face of the facts that there was "no evidence" that the KLA was bent on ethnically cleansing postwar Kosovo of all Serbs. Now that the KLA's goal has been accomplished – with his invaluable assistance – this is not supposed to enter the discussion. Clark's lies are not only crude, but worst of all are uttered in the peculiarly inverted language of the War Party, where a demand that Yugoslavia surrender its sovereignty is described as "talks to prevent a war." As revealed after the war, the Rambouillet "talks" were merely the occasion for the NATO-crats to present the Yugoslavs with an ultimatum: surrender or be crushed. The Serbs stood up on their hind legs and fought Clark to a standstill – but now the General wants to go a second round – this time taking on the Macedonians.


That's what Clark's clarion call is all about. Under his plan, while NATO is supposed to pledge to interdict arms shipments feeding the Albanian invasion, the General sternly reminds the Macedonians that they won't be getting off scott free, either. In return for not having their country immediately destroyed by Western-trained and subsidized "rebels," who have poured over Kosovo's border with Macedonia with impunity, his Perfumed Princeliness wants "to make it clear to the government of Macedonia that it too is under close scrutiny." If the Macedonians make any attempt to defend their sovereignty against the relentless assault of a human wave of Albanians, they must be pointedly reminded that "the use of force alone will only worsen the underlying problem, not resolve it." In other words: if you make the same mistake the Serbs made, and fight back, we'll unleash our trained dogs – and they'll tear you to pieces.


What is needed, says Clark, is a "longer term solution for the Macedonians," that doesn't just consist of saying "the right things about the Albanian minority," but of caving in to their central demand: "Discussion of the constitutional status of Macedonian Albanians and other minorities should begin without delay in Macedonia's parliament," orders the General. Not only that, but the Macedonian census – long a point of contention for the Albanian political parties, who claim to be underrepresented – must be "monitored" by the "international community" so as to "make sure that it is seen to be fair and includes all who see Macedonia as their home." Ah yes, there's no place like home – but what if someone's already living there? The tens of thousands of refugees who left Kosovo while NATO leveled it, instead of going back to Albania, proceeded onward to Macedonia – which they soon came to "see" as their home. Since "home" is wherever the partisans of Greater Albania say it is, one can only expect that, after gobbling up a large portion of Macedonia, they'll proceed on to northern Greece, which they also claim.


Clark's shameless apologias for the thuggish KLA leaders and their murderous minions have always been nauseating, but never more so than now, as practically every last Serb has been driven out of Kosovo by howling mobs of Kosovars. Serb churches blown to smithereens, along with busloads of Serbs, a great deal of it under General Clark's watch: and yet he refused to hold the KLA responsible. In an interview with Margaret Warner of the PBS News Hour, General Clark was asked if NATO's announced goal of promoting multi-ethnicity was undermined by the mass exodus of Serbs from postwar Kosovo. His answer was the apotheosis of pure mendacity, and is worth reproducing in full here if only so we can marvel at its perverse perfection:

"Well, I think we have to temper the ideal with reality, and we don't know how widespread Serb popular participation in the atrocities really were. And so maybe a lot of these people helped themselves to their neighbors' property, participated in some mass banditry and worse mischief while the ethnic cleansing was going on. We just don't know. And so some of the people that are leaving may well consider themselves as real targets for international justice, as well as for Albanian revenge. So it's a little hard to generalize. But as I said, the ideal is we'd like to promote a multiethnic society. And by the way, the KLA leadership has called for the same thing."


What he really meant to say, and did say in so many words, is that the Serbs deserved it: it was justifiable "revenge" when old men and women, children as young as 5, were set upon by KLA-led mobs, and literally torn limb from limb. Just as it was "tempering the ideal" with "reality" for NATO to preside over a far more efficient and successful ethnic cleansing than was ever attempted by Slobodan Milosevic. In Clark's view, the KLA merely spared The Hague some trouble by murdering, wounding, and otherwise dispossessing thousands of Serbs in Kosovo, since they, after all, "may well consider themselves as real targets for international justice." That such a man doesn't choke on uttering the word "justice" – just as a demon cannot speak the Holy Name of God without disappearing in a puff of greasy smoke – hardly disproves Clark's demonic provenance. For a fiend of the General's high rank, nothing less than a full exorcism will do.


The really breathtaking aspect of this monster's agenda is not, however, his ongoing commitment to the myth of Kosovar Albanian victimology, and his shameless shilling for the KLA – they were, after all, his troops, trained, armed, and equipped by his bosses in Washington and the capitals of Europe to destabilize and defeat the Yugoslavs. No, the really spectacular evil embodied by Clark comes out in his proposal that, as a reward for starting a war at such an opportune moment, the officially "disbanded" KLA must be granted its chief demand: Kosovo must become an independent state. Of course, he doesn't come right out and say this, in plain English, but the implication is clear. After ritually denouncing Albanian "extremists" – who, nonetheless, must be sympathized with because their alleged plight as an oppressed minority is "real" – Clark argues that the only way to appease them is to grant them their fondest wish: a State to call their own. Besides, "blaming the Kosovars is not a policy; others, including the United States and our NATO allies, have responsibilities which we must meet."


Yes, we have a responsibility all right: to George Soros, who has poured millions into the region and usually gets his money's worth. To the US-based consortium of American, British, and ostensibly Macedonian companies planning a Trans-Balkan Pipeline, that would ship Caspian oil to Western Europe. To the Albanian drug-dealers who funneled their profits into the pockets of coooperative politicians, not only Democrats but also filling Republican coffers to overflowing: Bob Dole was peddling the KLA line on Kosovo long before he sold a single bottle of Viagra. To say nothing of our responsibility to the Turks, the historic patrons and protectors of Balkan Muslims, who have defied the rest of the Muslim world and made a military pact with Israel.


In all Clark's talk of "shared solutions" and how "real" is the plight of the Albanians, the reader of his piece is apt to lose sight of a vitally important fact: the Kosovar Albanians have invaded Macedonian territory. Their goal is conquest. The Macedonians, understandably enough, prefer not to be conquered, and are defending themselves. Clark wants to mediate these two positions, and come to some kind of "shared solution" – but what kind of a "shared solution" can there be with brazen aggressors? Are the Macedonians supposed to allow only half of their nation to be overrun by the Kosovar hordes?


This raises another question: why didn't such a "shared solution" win the day at Rambouillet, when the Serbs offered not only autonomy for Kosovo but the presence of an "international force," presumably the UN, in their troubled province? The answer is that "shared solutions" must be imposed only in cases where Albanians are the clear beneficiaries.


In the upside-down lingo of Clark and his ilk, for Kosovo to achieve "democratic self-rule" would mean the creation of a KLA dictatorship, and one, moreover, motivated and empowered by an expansionist ideology. For the doctrine of a "Greater Albania" – one that extends deep within Serbia, all the way down to the ancient Greek kingdom of Epirus in the south, and encompasses a good chunk of Macedonia to the East – is what keeps the Albanian guerrillas fighting. Although I'm sure all that covert aid coming from the West, primarily the US, is also a big help. Which brings us to another bizarre aspect of General Clark's proposal. . . .


The idea that the US can act as a "mediator" between the Albanian invaders and the aggressed-against Macedonians has got to be some kind of joke. For it was and is the US that created the KLA, and turned it from a small inner core of committed ideologues with few fighters, into a force of tens of thousands of well-armed, experienced warriors, who are, furthermore, willing to die for their cause: these are our guys, our cat's-paw, as they used to say. So all this talk of how US troops are in danger from organized assaults by the "National Liberation Army" really obscures the reality that they serve under the same commanders, whose headquarters is in Washington. If NATO had wanted to shut down the Albanian rebel enclave in Macedonia, they would have done so months ago – or, perhaps, never nurtured it in the first place.


Clark bibbles on about how Kosovo has got to have "democratic elections," forgetting that municipal elections have already been held, with the pacifist followers of Ibrahim Rugova beating the pants off of the various parties claiming to represent the KLA. The only problem was that, after the election results were announced, a whole lot of the "winners" never did take office. Either they were found dead – just like one of Rugova's top aides – or else they fled for their lives. Such are the built-in disadvantages of principled pacifism.


An "independent" Kosovo is a meaningless concept, all form and no content. For in reality, the "independent" state of Kosovo would effortlessly and spontaneously merge with Albania proper, and act as a magnet and supporter of Albanian irredentism in the region – consolidating and empowering an aggressive force, letting them loose like a horde of killer bees on the Christian nations of the Balkans. Oh dear – I can hear the liberals weeping, their plaintive cries coming at me over the Internet – that's religious "bigotry," if not outright "racism"! Oh, pipe down, it's neither: it is merely a fact. Just as we created Afghanistan's Taliban as the instrument of cold war foreign policy, so we are unleashing a similar force in the Balkans.


It is interesting – as I mentioned in my last column on this subject – that a big bone of contention between the Macedonians and the Albanian minority is the question of which flag will fly over public buildings. In Tetovo, the Albanian mayor and his city council insisted on not only putting up the double-headed eagle of Albania, but also flew the Turkish flag – much to the embarrassment of the Turkish ambassador, who demanded that they take it down. But if the official representative of the Turkish government will not fight for the restoration of the old Ottoman hegemony in the Balkans, then there are those who will. The Turkish flag continued to fly over Tetovo until the Macedonian police came in and hauled it down. The subsequent riot – in tandem with the controversy over "Tetovo University" – was the fulcrum of the Albanian insurgency in Macedonia, and this flag episode underscores the plan, the ultimate purpose and goal of the Kosovo-based "National Liberation Army" and its future spawn: the recreation of the old Ottoman imperial power centered in Istanbul. But, hey, wait a minute: what possible interest could the US and Western Europe have in the reenactment of a particularly bloody and tyrannical chapter in Balkan history?


As usual, the motive is economic. With a Turkic south Balkans looking to Ankara for leadership, the transport of Caspian oil to feed the energy-hungry consumers of Western Europe is greatly facilitated. As the lights go out in California, and the price of oil skyrockets, the urgency of Clark's appeal for the US and NATO to intervene in "defense" of Macedonia is all too understandable. The Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, once touted by the Clinton regime, is anticipated just as eagerly by their successors: Bush, like Clinton, is playing the Great Game of securing control over the vast oil reserves beneath the ex-Soviet "republics" bordering the Caspian Sea: and the most direct and cost-efficient way to get that oil to European markets is through the Balkans.


By the way, I urge you to follow that second-to-last link to a fascinating commentary apparently broadcast by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty [18 January 2001]. It talks about the likelihood that the Bush administration will follow in the footsteps of the Clintonistas in pushing this outrageous exercise in corporate mercantilism, and then goes on to describe the fears raised in Turkey about a possible abandonment of the Baku-Ceyhan project by Team Bush. There are, after all, other games in town, such as the Iranian and Russian routes, all upheld by different financial and political interests. In addition to the appointment of former Senator Spencer Abraham as secretary of energy, the Turkish Daily News referred to other "negative signals" coming from the newly-installed US administration on the future of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline:

"The analysis also pointed to recent studies by two independent research groups in Washington, urging a change in U.S. policy on Baku-Ceyhan. The reports by the CATO Institute and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace criticized the economic justification for the pipeline, urging consideration of Russian and Iranian alternatives."


I can understand the Carnegie Endowment rooting for one side or the other in this dispute, but what's up with the Cato Institute? These guys are supposed to be libertarians, fer Chrissakes – but isn't this just the kind of "industrial policy" that ostensibly free-market ideologues would naturally oppose? The US government has poured billions in loans, loan guarantees, and other subsidies into a project to tap into Caspian oil on behalf of US corporations. Clinton started the process by going so far as to set up a special government agency under the direction of Richard Morningstar, who, in July 1998, was appointed to the newly created position of Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy. As noted by Jofi Joseph of the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs:

"Morningstar subsequently assumed chairmanship of the interagency coordination group, breathing new energy into it. Owing to this issue's intersection of energy, commerce, and national security issues, a range of US Cabinet departments [were] represented in the group, including State, Energy, Commerce, AID, CIA, the Office of the Vice-President and others. This interagency group, formally titled the 'Interagency Coordination Group on Caspian Basin Energy Development and Transportation,' [met] approximately every three weeks and primarily conduct[ed] short-term strategic planning . . . Other high-level officials who have worked actively on the Caspian pipelines issue include Jan Kalicki, a Commerce Department official, Stephen Sestanovich, US Ambassador to the Newly Independent States (NIS), and Energy Secretary Federico Pena."


No bureaucracy, once established, consents to its own abolition: and in a political culture where constituencies are defined by the subsidies they receive from the all-powerful State – that is, in the political culture of Washington – they are granted near-immortality. Will the Caspian initiative, the biggest corporate welfare boondoggle in American history – and that's saying a lot – survive the ostensibly "conservative" Bush administration? You betcha. For these are conservatives of the "compassionate" variety – a charitable impulse that seems almost exclusively directed at the biggest, the richest, the most powerful multinational corporations. The Caspian initiative will never die, although it may take on a new name: nor will it fade away. It is one of the linchpins of the US "forward stance" in Eurasia, and US foreign policy tends to have a momentum all its own. Speaking of how the more things change, the more they remain the same. . . .


I note, with dismay, that Lord Robertson, the secretary general of NATO, is already calling for the dispatch of more troops to Kosovo, and I'm afraid that the much-touted "reductions" in our Bosnia contingent will be more than compensated for with upcoming deployments in Macedonia. After all, this is the same Lord Robertson, you'll remember, whose objections to George W. Bush's campaign rhetoric about pulling the US out of the Balkans were mollified by reassurances from both wings of the US foreign policy team (Powell and Rumsfeld) that no such plan was in the works. As the crisis culminates, and US intervention is almost a certainty, more will take up the cry to save the poor Albanians from Macedonian "oppression." Isn't it funny how that works?

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Past Columns

Wesley's War

Macedonia Explodes

Selective Amnesia: The Epidemic

Why Are We in Ko$ovo?

Bush's Foreign Policy: The Unfolding Disaster

National Review, R.I.P.

Salon, R.I.P.

In Defense of Taki

Richard Cohen, Moral Cripple

The Anatomy of a Lie

Saddam Meets the Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The Sailors Who Fell From Grace With the Sea

Is It Something In the Water?

Bombs Over Baghdad: The Blair Factor

Prelude to War

Marc Rich: Treason is the Reason

It's the Empire, Stupid


Globalizing "Star Wars"

What's Up With the Saudis?

Who is Ariel Sharon?

The Myth of the Saddam Bomb

Mad Bombers of Belgrade Blame Their Victims

Lying About Kosovo

Globalism on the Right

Cold War Follies: There's No Business Like Show Business

An Inaugural Party

Inaugural Fireworks Over Iraq?

Ashcroft Versus the Smear Machine

The Gulf War In Retrospect: the "Isolationists" Were Right

Our War Criminals, and Theirs

The American Dracula

NATO's Poisoned Arrow

Hugo Chavez and the Rise of Pan-American Nationalism

No to the International Kangaroo Court

Know Thy Enemy

The Canonization of Colin Powell

Big Government Invades the Internet

Who's Afraid of Vladimir Putin?

The Case for Pessimism

The Gore Coup: No Justice, No Peace – No Exit

Bush or Gore: Pick Your War

Gore, Bush, and the Imperial Style

Neo-Nazis and Neocons: An Unholy Alliance

Al Gore – The O.J. Simpson of American Politics

Coup d'Etat 2000 and the Madness of Al Gore

Slobo and Gore: Peas in a Pod

Gore Coup Radicalizes Republicans

The Dimple That Shook the World

Listen Soldier, You Can Stop the Gore Coup

Two Ways to Steal an Election

In Occupied America: Rage Against "The Regime"

Al Gore's Beer Hall Putsch

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The Real Victors: Nader & Buchanan

Buchanan's "Hail Mary" Pass May Work

Doubletalkin' Dubya: Bush Backtracks on Kosovo

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The Smearing of Ralph Nader

Nader Sells Out

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Bush, the Balkans, and the Bipartisan "Division of Labor"

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Norman's Narcissim: Podhoretz in Love

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Classic Raimondo: Isolationism for Beginners

Notes on the Serbian Revolution and Other Matters

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The Clinton-
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Szamuely's Folly: Sympathy for the Devil

Slobo's Gambit: Will It Work?

Adventures in Cyber-Politics, Revisited

Curtains for Milosevic

Dubya's Kosovo Deception

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The Vindication of Wen Ho Lee

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Iraq and the US – Our Fantasy Island Foreign Policy

Classic Raimondo: Allied Vultures Pick at Iraq's Bones

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Passage to Cartagena

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Blowback: Read This Book!

Bush on Kosovo – Turning on a Dime

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The Outing of Ralph Nader, & Other Atrocities

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Additional Justin Raimondo Archives

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of 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.


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