October 20, 1999


Let us not hear any more nonsense about how the Kosovo war was a noble humanitarian crusade for human rights: the news that a UN worker was mobbed, beaten, and shot in the head by rampaging Kosovars because he had spoken Serbian should be enough to convince any and all reasonable men that the war has spawned a monstrous offspring in the emerging independent Kosovar state.


In order to fully appreciate what months of bombing and the deaths of thousands accomplished, let us look at what happened to 38-year-old Valentin Krumov, a UN worker who had just arrived in Kosovo from New York and was walking the streets of Pristina with two other coworkers. According to a UN police official, the deadly encounter was sparked when a group of Albanian teenagers, speaking in Serbian, asked Krumov and his friends the time. Krumov answered in Serbian – and the crowd rushed them, beating them to the ground: while the other two managed to escape, albeit with considerable injuries, someone pulled out a gun and shot Krumov as he was down. The crowd shielded the assailants, who were spirited away, and were nowhere to be seen by the time the Allied "peacekeepers" made it to the scene of the crime.


The murderous mob unleashed its fury on Mother Teresa Street, Pristina's busy main street, not far from the Grand Hotel, home base of many employees of international organizations involved in the "reconstruction" effort, the day before a scheduled visit from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Surely this confluence of events must have caused even the densest UN bureaucrat to ask – if only to himself – what is it they are constructing. When soldiers of the occupying army, such as the Poles, are complaining that they don't dare speak Polish because it might be mistaken for Serbian (both are Slavic languages) we know something is amiss.


What is emerging in Kosovo is the most virulent and militant form of racism and cultural particularism to take power since the rise of the National Socialist German Workers Party in the 1930s. That the adherents of the most crazed ethnic chauvinism – who will murder a man come to help them because he spoke the "wrong" language – have seized power as the result of a war ostensibly undertaken to stamp out racism and ethnic cleansing is just one of the clever little ironies of our policy in the region.


Another irony is that this may well be the first American casualty in this war – who fell victim, ironically enough, after the war was declared officially over. For it turns out that Krumov was reportedly an American citizen; although born in Bulgaria, he moved to America and attended the University of Georgia. The UN office in Pristina said he was a Bulgarian national, but several news reports cite Bernard Kouchner, chief UN official, as saying Krumov was an American citizen of Bulgarian descent. This was naturally not followed up by the American news media: for them, the war in Kosovo is over. For the Serbs, Albanian dissidents, and other minorities in Kosovo, however, it has barely begun.


Pity the poor people of Yugoslavia – not only are they facing a cold winter with dwindling oil supplies, a shattered economy, and crippling sanctions imposed by the vengeful "humanitarians" of the West, but they are also saddled with a clueless "opposition" that blurs the distinction between resistance and treason and undermines its own cause. The Belgrade newspaper Glas Javnosti reports that Vuk Obradovic, Slobodan Vuksanovic, and Dragoslav Avramovic, leaders of the much-vaunted opposition coalition, the "Alliance for Change," along with representatives of the Serbian Renewal Movement and the New Democracy party, met with Western diplomats in the Bosnian Serb city of Banja Luka. There they approved Avramovic's plan that the sanctions be selectively lifted: Only those few cities controlled by the pro-NATO opposition will be exempted from the embargo. Of course, this assumes that these Serbian Quislings will not be driven from office, through the streets, and clear out of town for collaborating so openly with the would-be conquerors of their own country.


To understand how ordinary Serbians see the "democratic" opposition, or at least the Avramovic wing of the movement, one has only to think of the popular American reaction to actress Jane Fonda's trip to Hanoi during the Vietnam war, where she had her picture taken astride an antiaircraft gun: she is known, to this day, as "Hanoi Jane," and for many years has not dared to rear her head again except in exercise videos. The reaction to traitors is universal and visceral, and it is no wonder that these future administrators of Vichy Serbia are far less popular than even the widely-hated Slobodan Milosevic. What they want, and who they are, is so disgustingly apparent that it is almost enough to make Serbian support for Slobo seem a semi-rational act – as a radical repudiation of all NATO-crats, both foreign and domestic.


By even attending this meeting, the Alliance for Change and its tiny satellite parties made clear their total obeisance to the US and its NATO allies. For this conclave was the aborted result of an earlier scheduled meeting, in Luxembourg, with the foreign ministers of the European Union. But more than half of the invited Serbs did not show up, in protest at the ignominious conditions laid down 24 hours before the start of the conference: the NATO-crats suddenly decreed all attendees must agree that Milosevic should be extradited to face charges before the UN War Crimes Tribunal. While the unindicted war criminals such as Agim Ceku – who killed thousands of Serbs in the Krajina region, as commander of the invading Croatian Army – are seizing power in Kosovo, the very act of resisting the breakup of Yugoslavia is deemed a Serbian "war crime." Any Serbian who went back to his people and tried to sell a line like that would be lynched in less than 24 hours – and rightly so.


The treacherous role of Washington in this public relations disaster is of particular interest. Note how they set up the opposition, and dangled the carrot of winter fuel and a link to the EU in front of them, and then cruelly jerked it away on the very eve of the Luxembourg conference. There has been a sadistic, gloating tone to the policies and propaganda of the NATO-crats all along, both during and after the war, and this incident underscores it, exposing the real agenda behind their ritual invocation of "democracy" and "human rights." The US and its European allies have no more desire to see the democratic opposition take power in Serbia than Stalin either expected or wanted the American Communists to take the White House.


The Communist Party in America was never an electoral alternative but a fifth column in the pay and under the direct control of a foreign power, not a real political movement but a Soviet Trojan Horse. The NATO-crats are following the Stalinist model to a tee – although they are far less discreet than Stalin ever was. At least the Kremlin encouraged their Western agents to keep up the appearances of political independence: the NATO-crats require nothing less than open collaboration – and not only that, but NATO's Serbian admirers must undergo ritual humiliation, foreswearing not only their sovereignty but also their souls.


The bunch that showed up in Banja Luka, therefore, had already swallowed this humiliation, undergone the equivalent of crawling on their bellies through the mud – and still they came home practically empty-handed, with much less than thirty pieces of silver for their trouble and their treason. There was only a few million dollars in emergency aid to provide heating fuel for the towns of Nis and Pirot, both near the Bulgarian border: the London Telegraph [October 12, 1999] reports the vague promise that if this "pilot project is successful, it could be extended to other areas." An even vaguer promise of future membership in "international and European organizations" once "democracy" has been established was held out as a face-saving device. But clearly the NATO-crats share Slobodan Milsosevic's contempt for these Slavic Benedict Arnolds, or else why make their humiliation so public?


It was a curious way to phrase it: "if this pilot project is successful." And what would "success" look like? The NATO-cratic concept of the Serbian opposition as a fifth column plays perfectly into the scenario of a cantonized Serbia, with local politicians breaking away from the central government after getting themselves "elected," by hook or by crook, to local office. They would then declare their "autonomy," and go into full fifth column mode, acting as conduit and cover for the invasion and conquest of their own country. Note that the cities of Nis and Pirot are conveniently near the Bulgarian border – a nation all too eager to prove its usefulness as a future NATO member by serving as a launching pad for an Allied assault.


The last thing the Allies want is a united and democratic Serbia that refuses to knuckle under, which is why their relations with the opposition have been such a fractious failure. They distrust Vuk Draskovich, a committed Serbian nationalist and former minister in Slobo's government, and they are even having a little trouble with their usually compliant puppet, Zoran Djindic, Democratic Party leader and initiator of the Alliance for Change, who retains enough political sense to have joined the boycott of the Luxembourg meeting. Far from weakening Milosevic politically, the war has strengthened his grip. Not only that, but it has contributed to the growing influence of the Serbian Radical Party, which makes Milosevic look moderate. Let the naïve point out that US policy in the region is having the exact opposite of its intended goals. It matters little, at any rate, whether what we are witnessing is the Law of Unintended Consequences in operation – or its opposite, the Law of Consequences Fully Intended. As a practical matter, the war in the Balkans, far from being over, has merely been temporarily interrupted. It will resume, sooner rather than later, with renewed ferocity – the only question is when.

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

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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 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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