Behind the Headlines
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com

June 27, 2001

MACEDONIA, R.I.P.?
EU and US team up to destroy a nation

Macedonia is doomed. How do I know that? You don't have to read between the lines to get the import of the stories coming out of the European media, especially the British press, to understand that the Macedonians have been chosen as the next target of the "human rights" crowd. The lead story in Tuesday's [London] Times, headlined "Chilling note revives fear of ethnic cleansing," should evoke in the reader a sense of deja-vu:

"On a dusty side road in a grim commercial district of Skopje, the Balkan curse of ethnic cleansing finally came to Macedonia yesterday. Faradin, a frightened middle-aged shopkeeper, was hurriedly packing up his goods and preparing to close his shop, one of the last Albanian premises still in business. 'Have some peach juice,' he said, handing me a carton from a stack on his shop floor. 'I can't possibly move it before the deadline tonight. Who knows what will be left of this place by the morning?' The reason for his fear became clear when he took out his wallet and unfolded a brief type-written notice. The message, photocopied and pasted on shopfronts throughout the area, was from a shadowy group calling itself Macedonia Paramilitary 2000. It ordered all Albanian businesses to close or face being firebombed."

THE "BALKAN CURSE"

Like some cynical Hollywood hack writer churning out formulaic scripts, the authors of the Macedonia scenario are sticking with what has worked in the past. It worked in Kosovo, where Albanians (who always seem to have only one name) told the tallest tales with the straightest of faces. The American and European audience fell for it, at least for as long as it took to reduce Yugoslavia to rubble and conquer Kosovo. Let's call this one "The Balkan Curse" a nice touch of sumptuous vulgarity, Hollywood-style and people it with all the by-now-familiar stock characters. The Bad Guys are, of course, the evil racist Macedonian "paramilitaries," whose shadowy "death squads" have targeted the Muslim heroes of this docudrama the poor, downtrodden, eternally victimized Albanians. You can tell the Macedonians are the bad guys because, not only do they threaten their enemies with death, but they also use racist language:

"'It is ordered that all shiptars [a derogatory word for Albanians] who have businesses in and around Kvantashki Market relocate within three days and those shiptars who are from Aracinovo within 24 hours. After this deadline all stores will be set on fire and if anyone puts up a defense they will be shot without warning,' the notice said. 'We put shiptars in the Republic of Macedonia on notice that for every policeman or soldier killed, 100 shiptars, who are not Macedonian citizens since 1994, will be killed.'"

MADE IN USA

No doubt they fly the Confederate flag, too. "Macedonia Paramilitary 2000"? If you believe that one, then you'll believe anything. If the "2000" is supposed to mean that the group was founded last year, then it's not too convincing, especially since no one ever heard of it before. You would think that a Macedonian paramilitary organization with ultra-nationalist sympathies would have a distinctively Macedonian name: perhaps it would even be in the Macedonian language. Whatever spook thought that one up ought to be demoted. "Macedonia Paramilitary 2000" is the product of some government employee's parched imagination and while I'm not saying which government (although you would think that the Europeans would be a little more sophisticated about these things), in its stupidity and crudity "Macedonia Paramilitary 2000" has "Made in USA" written all over it. Besides, it seems the Americans are the ones doing all the heavy lifting in this little operation, while the EU does the "negotiating."

BLACKMAIL

This division of labor has been underscored by the events of the past few days. EU "external affairs coordinator" Chris Patten made the Eurocrats' position all too clear, threatening to freeze the next two aid payments to the Macedonian government unless and until Skopje caved in to the demands of the Albanian guerrilla fighters:

"There is little we can do in terms of financial support until there's a political settlement. It is difficult to build people's confidence when money, which is clearly in very short supply, is being spent on bombs and rockets. The sooner there can be a ceasefire, permanently, and the sooner there can be a political settlement, the sooner we can discuss investing."

UNDERMINING MACEDONIA

How dare the Macedonians respond to the invasion of their territory and the initiation of terrorist activities inside their own borders by fighting back! One can only marvel at the brazen arrogance of the Eurocrats as they speak of "building confidence" even as NATO troops (Americans) escort armed Albanian guerrillas in US military vehicles to NLA-held villages, returning weapons to the guerrillas at journey's end. This is supposed to build "confidence" all right the confidence of the Albanians, emboldening them to press their attack.

SHOCKED AND NOT-SO-SILENT

One Agence France Presse account of the NATO operation is headlined "Macedonian government in disarray as rebels chalk up victory" a victory won for them by US troops acting at NATO's behest. "Ethnic Albanian rebels claimed a major success Tuesday," the AFP article continues, "after they were escorted, with their weapons, by US troops to the Black Mountain, north of Skopje, leaving Macedonian authorities shocked and silent." The compliant government may have been silent, but the Macedonian people were roaring their defiance: their response to this monstrous sell-out was to overrun the Parliament building, tear down the flag, and replace it with "a more nationalist one" as one news account put it: whereas the old flag is a red-and-yellow sunburst, the new one features a lion roaring beneath the stylized rays of the Macedonian sun. President Boris Trajkovski was upstairs at the time, negotiating his country's existence away to its Albanian would-be conquerors, but the whole cabal was forced to flee out the back door. Whether Macedonia's President will escape the wrath of a people betrayed is up in the air as of this moment, but there can be no doubt that the power vacuum will be filled soon enough by NATO troops and EU/UN overlords.

AN ARMY WITHOUT WEAPONS

During the war for Kosovo, NATO warplanes functioned as the Albanian air force, clearing the way for the KLA to inherit the rubble: in Macedonia, the idea is to use NATO ground troops to clear out whatever opposition should arise and they obviously don't expect much. After all, the commander of the Macedonian army bailed out last week: what's the use of having an army, even one as ill-equipped as Macedonia's, if it is not allowed to fight? And I wouldn't worry too much about the Macedonian air force, which consists of two rather wilted-looking helicopters. Under the pretext of "disarming" the Albanian insurgents, NATO is now escorting their protégés to safety, helping them consolidate their newly-won territory while the Eurocrats use the traitorous Trajkovski to legitimize the de facto partition of the country.

THE YANKS AREN'T COMING THEY'RE HERE

While the Europeans are playing the most visible role, clearly the Americans provided the TNT that sparked the Macedonian implosion. It was US diplomat Robert Frowick currently on "loan" to the OSCE who hammered out a joint statement by the Albanian political parties and the supposedly "indigenous" National Liberation Army rebels just as the negotiations were reaching a crucial stage. This agreement hardened the Albanian side, and brought the negotiating process to a standstill. It was US troops who escorted the armed NLA fighters back to their lair and then politely returned their weapons. The New York Times reports that the Macedonian bus companies that originally contracted for the job all flaked out at the last minute, and only the US Army had the means to pull it off with "15 buses, 3 trucks, 3 ambulances and 16 Humvees" along with an unknown number of American soldiers. It isn't a question of sending US troops into the country: they're already there. At least 500 G.I.'s have been stationed in Macedonia since before the start of the Kosovo war Michael New, the soldier who wouldn't wear the blue beret of the UN, was one of them and it is merely a question of utilizing them to the Albanians' best advantage, without being too obvious about it.

A LITTLE TOO MUCH

This latest maneuver, however, was really too much, and is bound to excite some interest in the US Congress, where resentment over George W. Bush's abandonment of his promise to get us out of the Balkans is bound to reach the boiling point. One day NATO chieftain George Robertson is denouncing the NLA as "terrorists" and "murderous thugs" with whom he will have no truck, and the next day NATO troops are escorting these terrorists down the road like beloved children on their first day of school. Conservative Republicans are bound to start asking questions, and one can only hope that they do so loudly and even rudely. For what is happening in the Balkans is a crime not only against the Slavs in the region, but also against the national security of the US: America has no national interest in turning Macedonia into another EU/UN protectorate.

COLD WAR WITH EUROPE

Regular readers of this column need no reminder that I consider the EU to be the reincarnation of the old Soviet Union, a socialist Frankenstein monster raised from the dead by the "ex"-Commies of Europe and their left-wing friends in the US. For the past year, Antiwar.com has been warning that the consolidation of a European socialist super-state is a deadly threat to the peace of the world and the liberties of us all, and now it appears that some American conservatives are waking up. A recent editorial in National Review opined that, in view of the reception afforded George W. Bush on his European sojourn, it appears that we are in a state of "cold war" with Europe:

"The noise that can be heard is the sundering of old ties and old assumptions. For about a decade now, it has been evident that the EU is projecting itself as a bloc in rivalry with America. 'Whole and free' in this view means centralized government, common foreign and defense policies, a single currency, and a leadership willing to entertain a new, supposedly more benign, cold war. Already well on the way to militarization, the EU ideology is divisive and dangerous because it is anti-American and in the last resort antidemocratic."

THE COMING GROUND WAR

If so, then why is a Republican administration placing American troops at the Europeans' disposal, using American brawn (and tax dollars) to establish another EU beachhead in the Balkans? If it's been ten years since the general outlines of the rising US-EU rivalry have been apparent, then during that same decade the destruction of the Balkan states has been an ongoing project of those same Europeans, who (along with John McCain) were so insistent during the Kosovo war that the Americans launch a ground war. Well, now they might have their ground war, for that is what may very well develop as events unfold in Macedonia. There is bound to be resistance to the NATO-Albanian takeover, and you can bet that US troops will be in the thick of it.

ON TO SOFIA!

From Macedonia, it's on to Bulgaria which recently placed the party of King Simeon II in power, a would-be monarch who may or may not be amenable to the EU-Albanian agenda. The Slavs of the Balkans have always been an ungovernable and prickly lot, stubbornly insisting on their independence, and the would-be colonizers of the West have traditionally used the Albanians as their cat's-paw: the Austro-Hungarian empire employed their services in an earlier time, and now that a new European empire is on the horizon the Albanians are again on the Western payroll. This time, they have little or no opposition: with Russia in decline, and the Slavic states of the region weakened by communism and the resultant economic malaise, the conquest of the Balkans promises to be a cakewalk. First Bosnia, then Kosovo, and now Macedonia it won't be long before the EU's Albanian proxy army makes it all the way to the Black Sea. If I lived in Romania or Bulgaria I would start making plans.

WHOLE AND FREE

I note, in passing, that the methods of the Eurocrats and their American allies follow a similar pattern. In the former Yugoslavia, where the market nationalism of President Vojislav Kostunica poses a threat to EU expansion, the US is blackmailing Belgrade into handing over Slobodan Milosevic by threatening to cut off the aid spigot a ploy designed to bring down the Yugoslav federal government. In Macedonia, the EU pulls the rug out from under Trajkovski's coalition government and threatens the withdrawal of aid unless he hands over the country to the Albanians. Working in tandem, the US and the Eurocrats are building a Europe "whole and free" free of the last traces of liberty, that is, as well as bereft of whatever restraining influence the US might once have had.

TAKING THE FUN OUT OF GLOATING

The Balkan policy of the Bush administration is not one whit different from that of its predecessor: this is what we might have expected to occur if not for a few hanging chads in Florida. To all those conservative Republicans who chastised me for supporting Patrick J. Buchanan's Reform party campaign, and who insisted that things were going to be different once the "adults" got into the White House, I can safely say: I told you so. As much as I enjoy gloating, however, there is no real joy in it this time. As I witness the dismemberment of Macedonia by the West's Albanian pit-bulls, I cannot help but reflect on the sad fate of a brave people, who foolishly trusted the West – and deserved better.

DO I HEAR THE LION'S ROAR?

Of course, this obituary for Macedonia is not necessarily the final word. Perhaps some real resistance will arise, an authentic Macedonian "paramilitary" army that will take up arms against NATO and their Albanian proxies. Perhaps the Macedonian lion will awaken, and, once roused, not only roar his defiance but fight tooth and claw: a few American casualties should make the Bush administration think twice before they lead us into this briar patch.

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