October 9, 2000


I am still recovering from the annual meeting of the John Randolph Club, held this past weekend at the fabulous Chicago Athletic Association, and sponsored by the Rockford Institute, and so instead of a column we have a few notes I made on the plane, and a conference report, starting with the latter:


This was the best conference I have attended in a long time. Things got off to a great start with a talk by Chronicles editor (and JRC President) Tom Fleming's moving tribute to Murray N. Rothbard. He reminded us that Murray provided the impetus for the club, and gave the JRC its fighting spirit: Tom ecumenical message of unity in the face of the Warfare-Welfare State must have had Murray smiling down on us all.

Bill Kauffman, author of America First! and With Good Intentions: Reflections on the Myth of Progress in America, as well as a novelist, is one of my favorite writers: we both did the foreign policy panel (at 8:30 in the morning, no problem for me as I am usually an early riser), and Bill's talk on the Ludlow Amendment was laced with acerbic wit and real insight into the character of the Amendment's largely forgotten but heroic author. It was great to see good old Sam Francis again, whose clarity of expression and deadpan manner is always the one of the chief highlights of these events: his blunt realism challenged us all to rethink our strategic premises. Christian Kopf, who spoke on the general theme of where are headed in the cultural sense, was informative, polemical, and so dazzlingly learned that it could easily be argued that his talk was the high point of the whole conference, in terms of sheer enjoyment. Fleming's more political approach to the same topic was insightful, hopeful, and thought-provoking, and in many ways reflected my own cautious optimism with regard to the future of paleoconservatism.

Indeed, all the talks were great fun, as well as informative – and all the more so against the backdrop of the Chicago Athletic Association – one of those old-fashioned men's clubs, with a great gym, a sumptuous ballroom, Brylcreme and Vitalis in all the bathrooms. It was like stepping back into time, the whole place had the air of a better and more benevolent era – an excellent choice indeed for the 11th annual gathering of these reactionary conspirators.

Sunday night ended in a spectacular thunderstorm, and I sat up late making notes on the Serbian revolution, which follow:


Serbia's October Revolution is a revolt not only against the last Stalinist despot in Europe, but against the new despots of Europe, the NATO-crats. All across the heart of a continent, a new movement is gathering force: you saw it in Denmark, with the rejection of the euro, and in Austria, with the rise of the Freedom Party. You saw it in the fuel tax protests that humbled Tony Blair and France's socialist government, and you are seeing it in the exultant faces of the people of Belgrade as they take what is theirs' and sweep the last remnants of communism into the dustbin of history.


The idea that there is a Third Force in the Balkans, that a man with the presence and stature of Vojislav Kostunica, angers the US and the Russians. But in Europe the revolt of the little guys is on the rise and there isn't anything the Powers That Be can do about it. As the truckers and independent entrepreneurs of Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Italy, and beyond demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt: they have the power to bring society to a shuddering halt – and, what's more, they are prepared to exercise that power. The Serbian people are, this glorious weekend, demonstrating that very same principle to the Great Powers, both to Washington and Moscow, to the EU and the UN – we will be the masters of our own fate! That is the message the Serbs are sending to the peoples of the world, as they stormed the Parliament building and the police, simply overwhelmed, joined the ranks of the revolutionaries.


The US State Department may be the only ones to have taken the propaganda of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia seriously if they think that Kostunica will now hand his country over to NATO. As the leader of a democratic country, one whose leader has been praised by US government officials as the Serbian equivalent of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson all rolled into one, Kostunica will have to be taken seriously when he declares the Kosovo is legally, historically, and quite legitimately a part of the Yugoslav federation, and that his country's sovereignty must be respected. They will have a hard time dismissing his insistence on the rights of Serbs who live in Kosovo. In insisting on the legitimate authority of their "War Crimes Tribunal," they will find it impossible to evade their own crimes – including the bombing of civilian targets, the terrible toll taken on Yugoslavia due to the sanctions, and the poisoning of the environment which will take many years to wash away.


The main task now of the anti-interventionist movement is the immediate and unconditional lifting of the sanctions. The outrageous demand being made by the US that sanctions must not be lifted until Milosevic is handed over for his alleged "war crimes" is the beginning of phase two of the NATO-crats' assault on Serbian sovereignty. Kostunica, of course, denounces the phony Tribunal as "a political instrument," a propaganda device used to fan Serbo-phobia in the Western media. Will they never leave the Serbs alone? It's an outrage, and, not only that, but a diversion from the real issue: isn't it high time for the US, Britain, France, and Germany to start paying reparations to the individual victims of the NATO bombing? Let's start talking about some real "war crimes"! And, while we're on the subject of "isn't it high time" – it is time now to start asking: why do we need US troops in the area? With Clinton hailing the overthrow of Milosevic, whom we have always been told is personally responsible for all the trouble in the Balkans – now that this alleged "Hitler" (Mussolini is more like it) is gone, then our mission in the region is over – right?


Somehow, I don't think the US State Department, not to mention that man in the White House, are going to see it that way. But the reality is that the victory of Kostunica has undercut the arguments of those who argue that we need a permanent presence in the region. The Serbs have freed themselves. Let those who are now falsely taking the credit for what is a Serbian victory realize that the rationale for Bill Clinton's Balkan Adventure has completely collapsed – let them take the credit and go home!

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


Past Columns

Notes on the Serbian Revolution and Other Matters

Revolt of the Little Guys

The Clinton-
Gore-Milosevic Connection

Szamuely's Folly: Sympathy for the Devil

Slobo's Gambit: Will It Work?

Adventures in Cyber-Politics, Revisted

Curtains for Milosevic

Dubya's Kosovo Deception

The Return of Pat Buchanan


The Vindication of Wen Ho Lee

Against the EU: Danes Resist Assimilation

UN Millennium Summit: Globalist Dream is Your Worst Nightmare

Iraq and the US – Our Fantasy Island Foreign Policy

Classic Raimondo: Allied Vultures Pick at Iraq's Bones

Colombia – The Deja Vu War

Passage to Cargagena: An Inauspicious Visit

Invasion of the Party-Snatchers

Blowback: Read This Book!

Bush on Kosovo – Turning on a Dime

The Kosovo Fraud: Will They Ever Admit It?

The Outing of Ralph Nader, and Other Atrocities

Why Kosovo? Follow the Money!

Additional Justin Raimondo Archives

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 U.S. 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).

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