The Kosovo Flashpoint

By Justin Raimondo
February 6, 1999

While the eyes of the world are focused on Iraq as the current storm-center of U. S. foreign policy, the real fault lines of the coming international conflict run through Kosovo. Little noticed amid the furor over the Senate impeachment proceedings, and the almost daily attacks on Iraq, President Clinton February 4 admission that he intends to send American troops to that tumultuous region is far more dramatic and even earthshaking, by far, than any foreign policy decision yet made by this administration. Several precedents are being set here, all of which are dangerous to the future of peace and freedom, not only of the Balkans but of the whole world.

For months, Clinton administration officials had been staunchly denying the possibility that they might send U.S. troops to Kosovo to enforce a tenuous truce. As in the case of Bosnia, however, this pretense was slowly but surely abandoned. As the terrorist campaign initiated by the shadowy Kosovo Liberation Army accelerated, new Serbian "atrocities" were discovered by major media, and the war party was on the march. American diplomats turned up the heat on Milosevic: either preside over the dismemberment of Serbia or the bombs will fall on Belgrade.

The Kosovo intervention marks a giant leap forward in the building of a "New World Order," in which the United States and Great Britain, with the sometimes reluctant acquiescence of the other powers, not only not only decides disputes between nations, but also seeks to determine the policies and character of the internal regime. The lords of the New World Order are ambitious: they want to regulate not only the foreign policy but the internal politics of every nation on earth. Where once the U.S. role as the world policeman and social worker called on Americans to tameThird World "rogue states" like Iraq, now the architects of the new globalism have gone one step further and decided, for the first time, to go after a European state, Serbia, on the grounds that it is insufficiently "democratic."

With its medieval monasteries, holy sites, and ancient battlefields stained with centuries of bloodletting, Kosovo is the spritual homeland of Serbian nationalism. Today Serbs are a minority, but in a nation that to a very large degree lives in the past, Kosovo is the Serbian heartland -- in the sense that Texas and New Mexico are the American heartland, although their population is increasingly Mexican. According to the principles of ethnic "self-determination" laid down by the United States and its allies, does this mean that the U.S. must grant "autonomy" or even independence to the growing Hispanic enclave? Like Milosevic, in the face of such a regionalist insurgency the U.S. government would argue that American Mexico enjoys complete freedom and autonomy within the federal framework, and is but one hue in the multi-colored rainbow of American diversity. Then federal agents would surround the separatist "compound," as it would inevitably be called, and mow down the miscreants after accusing them of child-abuse. What's good for the Balkans does not apply to the Americas -- or to anywhere West of the Rhine. If NATO is so hopped up about the glories of self-determination and the justice of regionalism, why aren't they threatening to bomb Rome unless the Italian government grants the rebellious Lombards of Northern Italy self-determination and "autonomy"? An entire political movement, the Lombard League, has grown up around this issue of self-determination for the northern provinces of Italy, and yet somehow the Lombards do not qualify as a bona fide victim group, and thus do not come under NATO's purview. The indignation of the New World Order crowd over the oppression of ethnic and linguistic minorities in post-Cold War Europe is highly selective. The really interesting question is, what is the basis of this selectivity? By what standard does one pick and choose?

Raising the old Wilsonian banner of "self-determination" for the predominantly Muslim Kosovar Albanians, the Americans and the British have taken up the cause of Islam in the Balkans with a vengeance: first in Bosnia, where NATO troops have nurtured a nest of ayatollahs in the heart of central Europe, and now in Kosovo, where the KLA is raising the flag of the crescent moon in the heart of Christian Europe, a sight not seen since the heyday of the Ottoman Empire. Tracing the origins of this strange alliance is the key to understanding the U.S. role in the Balkans. For this alliance is derived from an even stranger alliance: a military pact between Turkey and Israel. The secular Turkish generals, having repressed their own Islamic fundamentalists -- who won a plurality in the last elections and were promptly banned -- are a key link in the Maginot Line of anti-Islamicist Arab states which includes Jordan and Saudi Arabia. With the latter two in transition, Turkey is the last solid bastion of Western influence in the region: it is a key launching pad for military operations, and provides a vital base in the war against Iraq. In return for promising to open up a second front if Syria should be so foolish as to attack Israel, the Turkish junta gets military aid and training from the Israelis, as well as a free hand in Kurdistan. While Saddam Hussein is often held up as an example of Hilterian evil because he "used poison gas on his own people" in repressing a Kurdish rebellion, the Turks have more than matched Iraqis in their repression of the Kurds. They have not only launched several punishing military invasions of Kurdistand, bombing villages, killing thousands, and jailing the rest, they have also banned the Kurdish language and rounded up journalists and others who show the slightest sympathy for the Kurdish cause.

In exchange for their support, the Turks are being given a free hand in Europe as well as Kurdistan. Turkish troops were stationed in Bosnia, as part of the NATO contingent, and arms were funneled through them to the Bosnian government, with U.S. complicity. Expanding into Kosovo, Turkish influence evokes widespread fear and resentment and not only in Serbians. While modern Turkey retains only a small beachhead on the European side of the Bosporus, in the glory days of the Ottoman Empire the power of the Caliphs stretched all the way to the gates of Vienna. What is now Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and large slices of Poland and Russia were once the domain of the Ottomans, whose ancestors had toppled the throne of Byzantium and turned the church of Sancta Sophia -- its gold dome long the sacred center and symbol of Christian Orthodoxy -- into a mosque.

The celebrated battles against the Janissaries, whose name became a byword for brutality and unthinking obedience, are the stuff of Serbian history. It was against the Turks and their local satraps and "converts" that the Serbs waged a centuries-lomg war for independence, a war enacted to a great extent on the battlefields of Kosovo. And now the Turks are back, demanding independence for the province which is at the core of Serbians' historical memory.

If ever there was a set-up for a war, then this is it. Not just any war, but a vicious religious war pitting Islam against Orthodoxy. U.S. policymakers piously declare that the goal of U.S. intervention is to prevent such a war from spreading and destabilizing the entire region. But by intervening in favor of the Muslim fundamentalist regime of Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, and setting up a similar U.S. protectorate in Kosovo, the U.S. government is setting the stage for a Balkan bloodbath.

The great threat to peacein the long term is in political impact of such a war on what is aptly called "Weimar Russia." For if the Serbs are humbled and the Balkans are handed over to the ayatollahs at the behest of the oil companies, the Saudis, and their Zionist allies, the nationalist Right in Russia will be enormously strengthened. Defeated but defiant, shrunken but not humbled, the spirit of Russian revanchism is easily kindled. The conjuncture of a religious war of Islam against Orthodoxy, and the rise of Russian nationalism against the backdrop of hyperinflation and economic collapse -- where have we seen all this before?

For years, we have been hearing about how the latest foreign hate-object -- whether he be Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic -- is the moral equivalent of Hitler. The problem has always been that these tinpot despots rule over Third World countries that can hardly constitute a credible military threat to the U.S., and, in their ideology, are not remotely comparable to Hitler. By setting up ideal conditions for the growth and development of a real neo-Hitler, a Russian strongman whose ideology will combine resentment against the West with elements of pan-Slavism and anti-Semitism, U.S. policy makers may yet solve that problem. Russian nationalism and pan-Slavism are inextricably linked to the Orthodox Church, which wields real power in the former Soviet Union. An attack on their fellow Orthodox Christians in Serbia, led by an expanded and newly aggressive NATO, is bound to provoke a Russian reaction. A resurgent Russia, armed with nuclear weapons and spouting rhetoric that will horrify American liberls, would mean the revival of the Cold War, and the reimposition of the threat of nuclear war. In short, it means the prospect of World War III -- that is what is at stake in Kosovo.

A weird coalition of "human rights" liberals, neoconservatives nostalgic for the Cold War, and wacky internationalists like George Soros have been quietly but persistently pushing for massive U.S. intervention in the Balkans for years. Well-funded, well-organized, and increasingly vocal, they have had the field to themselves -- and have pushed us to the very brink of war. Thanks to the machinations of foreign lobbyists and their American fifth column, thousands of American soldiers are being sent into the Balkan quagmire -- and for what? What is the American national interest in the creation of a Greater Albania?

The answer is: none. The American people have no stake in this fight, but there are plenty of others who do: first and foremost the old Cold Warriors, who pine for the good old days of Mutual Assured Destruction, and have been looking for a new Enemy to hate since the fall of the Soviet Union. Their backers in the armaments industry, who have suffered mightily in the post-Cold War lean years, have everything to gain if the Cold War makes a comeback. Internationalist liberals, led by the Clinton administration, are eager to export the mulitculturalism and undermine the concept of national sovereignty: the demand for intervention is coming not from the Right (in spite of expensive ads taken out by Bill Kristol and his neocon friends in the New York Times calling for U.S. intervention in Kosovo) but from the Left.

What will it take to wake up the American Congress to the deadly dangers lurking in the Balkans? Only a grassroots movement motivated by patriotism and the sober realization that we are being manipulated into war -- that, and the full and continuous exposure of the forces that are leading us down the path to destruction.