June 28, 1999


In an apparent attempt to provoke the Chinese into new paroxysms of rage, the U.S. government is now claiming that two of the three Chinese journalists killed at their nation's Belgrade embassy were "spies, not journalists," according to the New York Times. "It is true they were not journalists," said an anonymous government official. "Two were intelligence agents." What a relief! And here we thought all the really dangerous Chinese spies were here in the United States, stealing nuclear secrets by the bushel-full. How reassuring to know that the real Chinese threat is centered in Belgrade – of all places!


Why is the administration leaking this bizarre story? While I am no expert in abnormal psychology, there are two possibilities: they believe that this accusation somehow justifies the embassy bombing, and/or they are admitting that, yes indeed, they bombed the embassy deliberately, alright, and what of it?


According to the London Telegraph, "NATO had carefully singled out the most sensitive section of the embassy complex for attack." But if they didn't know it was the Chinese embassy, how could they have singled it out? The New York Times, which broke the story, quotes their Pentagon source as saying "that's exactly why [the Chinese] don't buy our explanation," all while reiterating the US government official line that the whole thing was a terrible mistake. During the Vietnam War, there was a name for the cognitive dissonance between what we saw and what we heard, the split between the obvious facts and what the government was telling us. We called it the "credibility gap," and it has returned with such a vengeance during the reign of our perjurious and warlike President that it has become a veritable credibility chasm.


"I had no earthly idea our system would permit that kind of mistake," said Clinton, in the aftermath of the bombing, adding: "I'm terribly sorry about the embassy." While the Chinese supposedly have this country honeycombed with a vast spy network, I doubt whether they are familiar with the special translation software that most Americans require to understand what their President is saying. Every sentence must be parsed, every word examined under a microscope, before the real meaning can be meticulously teased out. Keeping this in mind, note the curious formulation: Clinton had "no earthly idea" – to the veteran Clinton-hater (welcome to the club, all you Chinese students!) this opens up a vast range of possibilities, all of them distinctly unearthly if not downright eerie in their cold-blooded ruthlessness. Remember, with Clinton, anything is possible: let your imagination roam free, untrammeled by restraint or any sense of moral decency.


Bob Novak reports the latest wrinkle in the Cox Report scandal: that "the White House fought attempts to label the government of China 'communist' in the select House committee's report revealing espionage in US nuclear labs." The preferred phrase was "Chinese leadership." Cox met them halfway, agreeing to "PRC [People's Republic of China] leadership." According to Novak, the Clintonians invoked national security concerns and argued "that use of the word communist could jeopardize US intelligence gathering in China." In other words, the US has its own spies and agents of influence within the Chinese Communist Party, and – who knows? – perhaps within the PRC leadership itself.


Certainly that is the argument orthodox Maoists would make about such "capitalist-roaders" as China's prophet of reform, the late Deng Xiaoping, and his successors. What else are we to think of a Chinese "Communist" leader whose philosophy was best summed up in the famous maxim: "To get rich is glorious!" If the Great Helmsman of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" wasn't an American agent in the sense of being on the CIA payroll, the consequences of his dramatic reforms were no different than if he had been. In the years since the Cultural Revolution and the fall of the "Gang of Four," billboards advertising Coke have replaced posters exhorting the workers and peasants to smash revisionism and learn from Mao Zedong Thought. "Socialism with Chinese characteristics," as the Beijing ideologists like to describe the Chinese system, turns out to be far freer in many ways than capitalism with American characteristics. With no income tax, no affirmative action, and no labor unions, China today is far closer to the laissez faire ideal, at least in terms of economics, than the ostensibly "capitalist" West. This point is made at length in my article on "China and the New Cold War," but there is yet another odd post-Soviet role reversal to report before I depart from this subject.


It used to be that it was the Communists of every variety who were the internationalists, and the Western democracies who upheld the principle of national sovereignty. Today, in the era of the New World Order, with the USSR just a memory, it is Tony Blair and Bill Clinton who raise the banner of militant internationalism triumphant and disdain national sovereignty as an atavistic myth. Conversely, ex-Stalinist dinosaurs like Slobodan Milosevic and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) staunchly defend the right of sovereign nations to control their own internal affairs.


In a world where "globalization" is the primary issue, the old ideological categories are beginning to break down completely: whether or not they know it, left and right are no longer locked in combat, but united in common cause against the center. The main battle in the world today is between those who yearn for a world government, and those who abhor the very idea. The evolution of transnational institutions such as the World Court, the International Tribunal, the EU, NATO, and the UN into a world government is a trend abhorred by American nationalists as well as Chinese "communists," by Pat Buchanan as well as the CCP. Blind to the real danger, the Buchananites are railing about some illusory threat from China, a Third World nation with a fourth-class military, when the main danger is on the other side of the Atlantic . . .


Britain's recent announcement that it is raising a "standby" force of thousands for United Nations "peacekeeping" operations ought to set off alarm bells from Beijing to Buchanan campaign headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan greeted the news with hosannas, and opined that in the future it might be possible for the UN to "nip the problem in the bud." 8,000 Brits will be available to be dispatched anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. How long before the US is asked to match that number, and more?


For the first time, the Air Force is running television ads in search of new recruits. Could it be that the Coward's War, in which American pilots rained death on Serbia at 30,000 feet, was such a success that they are planning a sequel?


I awoke yesterday morning to the news, posted prominently on Antiwar.com, that the Serbian province of Vojvodina, with its sizeable Hungarian minority, is now seeking "autonomy," just as I predicted in my June 3th "War Diary" column. The story, from the London Telegraph, was written in the breathless propagandistic tone that has afflicted the Brit press (except for the Independent): while admitting that "there have been no human rights violations" in the province, the article nevertheless goes on to state without equivocation that "the 300,000 ethnic Hungarians there are demanding the return of the wide-ranging autonomy they held until 1991." We are told that "in the aftermath of the Kosovo conflict, ethnic Hungarian leaders have now enlisted the support of Hungary in their efforts to persuade Belgrade to restore their autonomy." Vojvodina was part of Hungary before World War I, and the cause of Hungarian irredentism recently received a big boost when Andras Agoston, chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Party of Vojvodina, met with Viktor Orban, Hungary's Prime Minister. Both called for the restoration of autonomy. A hint that Vojvodina could well be the next NATO target was raised at a recent NATO meeting where the Hungarian Prime Minister stated that "the protection of minority rights in Vojvodina enjoys a special place in the settlement of the crisis."


The jingoistic drivel that passes for journalism in the Mother Country these days is really quite appalling. No news story is without its NATO-esque spin, every line dripping with contempt for all things Serbian, without regard for facts or common sense: the Telegraph goes on to report that "recent threatening statements from Serb hard-line nationalists have persuaded ethnic Hungarian leaders of the need to regain autonomy. During the Kosovo conflict, for example, Istvan Csurka, leader of one ultra-nationalist party, said in a television interview that action should be taken to foil alleged attempts by the Hungarian minority in Vojvodina to secede from Serbia and seek unification with Hungary." This sounds perfectly plausible: after all, those nasty nationalistic Serbs probably didn't learn their lesson, and no doubt what they need is another good bombing to drive it home – except for the fact that Istvan Csurka, far from being a Serbian nationalist, is a Hungarian irredentist, and does not even live in Vojvodina. He is indeed an "ultra-nationalist," but of the Hungarian and not the Serbian variety. As I noted in my "War Diary" of June 3rd, no sooner had the war sputtered to a halt then the Hungarian far-right leader, Istvan Csurka, called for the annexation of Vojvodina by Hungary. Csurka's "Party of Hungarian Life and Justice" declared that any Kosovo peace treaty must also redress Hungary's territorial claims. In the rush to demonize the Serbs, the only nationalism that seems to exist is headquartered in Belgrade: it is inconceivable that Hungarian or Albanian nationalism could ever equal (let alone surpass) the Serbian sort in its virulence. But, even so, don't they employ fact-checkers at the Telegraph?


Like the Wicked Witch of the West skywriting "Surrender Dorothy" and buzzing the Emerald City on her broomstick, Madeleine Albright's State Department is demanding that the Serbs hand over Slobo to the International Tribunal. To sweeten the deal, US officials have announced that they are offering a $5 million reward for information leading to Slobo's arrest and conviction. Albright may get her man much sooner than she or anyone else expected. If and when Vojislav Selsej and his Serbian Radical Party stage a coup, or take power in the next elections, they will gladly hand over the man who sold out the Serbian cause and gave up Kosovo to NATO and the KLA without a real fight – free of charge.


You didn't have to be Nostradamus to predict that the Kosovar refugees who were granted asylum in the United States would never go back to their homeland regardless of the war's outcome. Well, now that Kosovo has been "liberated" by NATO, are the refugees returning to rebuild their communities and enjoy life under the KLA? Not a chance.


"I think I'll stay here three or five years, and later go back," said Sabit Trupi, a 33-year-old economics student who fled the fighting and arrived in Fort Dix, New Jersey, with thousands of other refugees. With lavish government subsidies, free housing, free medical care, extensive educational services, and automatic citizenship, the Kosovar refugees are nearly unanimous in their reluctance to leave: "I love my country," says Bekin Shala, 17, "but I'd like very much to stay in this country. I want to stay here forever. " And so she will, along with most of the other refugees, who show no signs of giving up the good life: Paul Herbert, of the International Rescue Committee, confirms that, of the half dozen Kosovar families who settled in Georgia, "none of them are even considering it. I just don't think anybody's in a real rush to go back."


Nezhdet Loxha is raring to become an American, and the Clinton administration can hardly wait to oblige him and the 13 other Kosovar refugees living in an apartment house in Rhode Island. Why is the Clinton administration opening the floodgates? Here's one explanation: "If anyone is God right now for us Albanians, averred Mr. Loxha, "it is Mr. Clinton." If they sign them up for citizenship right off the boat, they can have them registered and in the voting booth by the time Hillary announces her bid for the White House.

Check out Justin Raimondo's article, "China and the New Cold War"

"Behind the Headlines" appears Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with special editions as events warrant.

Archived Columns

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).



Please Support Antiwar.com

A contribution of $20 or more gets you a copy of Justin Raimondo's Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans, a 60-page booklet packed with the kind of intellectual ammunition you need to fight the lies being put out by this administration and its allies in Congress. Send contributions to

520 S. Murphy Avenue, #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

or Contribute Via our Secure Server
Credit Card Donation Form

Back to Antiwar.com Home Page | Contact Us