don't tell you is the real crux of the Albanian demands,
and that is the right of an absolute veto over any
and all legislation. A United Press International
report gives us the
"Sources said the document proposes a mechanism by
which any legislation that affects major interests
of the Albanians cannot win passage unless it is backed
by the ethnic Albanian parties even if the measure
is supported by a majority in parliament. The Albanian
parties hold 25 seats in the 120-seat body. Such legislation
would require a two-thirds majority vote and, additionally,
more than half of the parliamentarians from the ethnic
Albanian parties must approve."
are told, "is expected to be a major stumbling block
in the negotiations." I'll bet. To give you some idea
of what the Albanians are demanding, just transfer
the scene to the US Congress, which is getting ready
to vote on George W. Bush's budget. What if the congressional
Black Caucus suddenly announced that, since this legislation
will have a major impact on American blacks, the President
needs a two-thirds vote instead of just a majority.
Not only that, but more than half of the congressional
Black Caucus must vote "Aye" for the bill to pass;
in effect, giving them veto power over all important
legislation. Everyone would think they had gone nuts,
and there would be much speculation as to precisely
what kind of collective madness had overtaken them.
Practically no one would take them seriously; no one,
that is, except Lani Guinier.
her? Nominated for head of the Justice Department's
civil rights division by Bill Clinton, Ms. Guinier
became the center of a storm of controversy over her
nutball ideas on the need to "reform" the electoral
system so that minorities have more "rights." In her
infamous article, "The Triumph of Tokenism: The Voting
Rights Act and the Theory of Black Electoral Success,"
"For those at the bottom, a system that gives everyone
an equal chance of having their political preferences
physically represented [in the legislative branch
of government] is inadequate. A fair system of political
representation would ensure that disadvantaged and
stigmatized minority groups also provide mechanisms
to have a fair chance to have their policy preferences
that the people in their majority oppose (or support)
a particular policy: what matters is how "those at
the bottom" feel about it. She expanded on her views
in a book, the title of which, The
Tyranny of the Majority, is the perfect expression
of her views: Guinier's electoral "reform" scheme,
if implemented, would constitute a Tyranny of the
Minorities, in effect giving weighted votes to "oppressed"
minority groups. As a
sympathetic piece in The American Prospect
describes her views:
"Merely electing a certain number of blacks to a legislature
or some other decision making body is insufficient
to satisfy her conception of multi-racial fairness.
Even after they gain access to a legislature, blacks
can be rendered mere tokens if they are isolated by
a white majority of lawmakers who refuse to bargain
with them and thus prevent them from delivering substantive
benefits to their constituents. Guinier contends that
this 'resegregation within the walls of a formally
integrated legislature' has happened often. Thus instead
of hailing the enlarged number of black elected officials
since 1965 as a sign of substantial progress, Guinier
warns that this development represents 'the triumph
HOME AND ABROAD
argument is made by the Albanian rebel group, the
National Liberation Army, and its progenitor across
the border in Kosovo. It doesn't matter that there
are two Albanian parties in the Macedonian Parliament,
and one of them is (or was) in the government. This
is just "tokenism," you see, since, as Lani would
put it, minorities need to put in place certain "mechanisms"
so they have "a fair chance to have their policy preferences
satisfied." "From this," avers The American Prospect,
"flows her second argument," which extends the illogic
of victimology as far as it will go:
"Fairness requires that the legal system protect the
representatives of black communities from having their
votes diluted in legislatures, just as the 1982 amendments
to the Voting Rights Act protect black voters from
having their votes diluted in elections."
for privileging "oppressed" minorities over inherently
racist majorities is perfectly replicated in the US-EU
"peace plan." Rather than have the will of the minority
Albanians "diluted" in the Macedonian Parliament,
the US-EU brokered solution is to give the Albanians
a de facto veto power over all decisions of the government.
This is the arrangement that James Pardew, the US
special envoy, is selling to the Macedonians as the
price of peace: an electoral scheme straight out of
how these things turn out. Even Bill Clinton backed
away from Guinier's theories. He called them "anti-democratic"
and "difficult to defend." But the Bushies seems to
have embraced her ideas, at least in the foreign policy
realm. Criticism of Guinier's views from conservatives
and liberals alike was finally enough to force Clinton
to withdraw her nomination. Yet, in the context of
recent developments in the Balkans, one really has
to wonder: has Colin Powell hired Ms. Guinier on as
a consultant? If not, then she has at least a few
fans in the US State Department, that much is certain.
I WERE PRESIDENT
If I were
the President of Macedonia, I would tell the US envoy
the following: "Sure I'll agree to these constitutional
changes, just as soon as you implement the same 'reforms'
in your own country. I'll give the Albanian caucus
in Parliament the power to block all legislation when
George W. Bush grants the Congressional Black Caucus
a similar veto."
II was elected, I warned that Balkan policy was likely
to get worse, not better, but, I have to confess that,
back then, even I thought I was exaggerating.
I mean, Bush promised to disengage from the region,
and through Condolezza Rice even implied that we might
pull out, causing consternation in Europe and a direct
inquiry from London via NATO warlord Lord Robertson.
Now, after all that, the exact opposite is occurring:
our involvement in the region is deepening, and its
implications are far more ominous than in the Clinton
VIRTUE OF HYPERBOLE
As it turns
out, I wasn't exaggerating. It's hard to do that in
my line of work. The absurdity and criminality of
American foreign policy seems limitless, no matter
which party is in power.
DIDN'T I WARN
conservative Republicans who opposed Clinton's dirty
little war, and hoped that a new regime would sweep
clean the Augean Stables of the State Department,
I can only extend my condolences and mutter "don't
say I didn't warn you" under my breath. I would further
remind them that it is under Bush's watch that the
Macedonian insurgency was unleashed, with little interference
from the 30,000 NATO troops stationed nearby. These
troops include a garrison of American soldiers in
Macedonia, now numbering some 500-plus and no doubt
slated to increase in the coming months.
The US has
maintained a military presence in Macedonia, albeit
an unobtrusive one, since the summer of 1993, when
Clinton sent them in to ward off the alleged threat
of Serbian aggression. Now, in return for the favor
of letting NATO use their country as a base from which
to attack Yugoslavia, the Macedonians are being blackmailed
into accepting the same fate: ethnic partition and
the dissolution of their nation. There is a kind of
rough justice in this, albeit one too inhumanly harsh
to be called "poetic."
problem with such a cosmic and oddly detached
view of justice, however, is that, as usual, ordinary
people will have to suffer the consequences of their
rulers' cowardice and sheer stupidity. The KLA and
its Macedonian equivalent will be unleashed on a disarmed
nation whose rulers have been bought off and neutralized.
It wasn't long after the NATO-Albanian conquest of
Kosovo that the former Yugoslav province was ethnically
cleansed of practically all Serbs, except for a small
enclave in the far north, and the Albanian majority
sectors of Macedonia will undergo a similarly violent
catharsis and population shift. This is one war crime
you can be sure that Carla Del Ponte will never prosecute.
A war crime
in the Balkans, these days, is any military resistance
to the creation of a Greater Albania and the Macedonians
know it. No wonder the commander of their army quit
in disgust. That was some weeks ago, but for some
reason I think they're having a little trouble finding