Balkans: Land of Delusions
more things change, the less sense they tend to make – at
least in that southeastern corner of the European subcontinent
this column has primarily focused on. Words and deeds do not
match up, policies fail to make sense, and everyone – from
the locals to the foreign powers involved in "helping"
them (and themselves, in the process) – seems to be ridden
with delusions. And while minor misconceptions are a part
of human nature and thus a staple of politics, in the Balkans
they tend to take on colossal proportions. Misconceptions
and fallacies easily turn into delusions, wider in scope and
dire in consequences.
week’s column dealt more closely with events in Macedonia,
it is worth mentioning that the fabled coalition government
has indeed been formed last Friday. It achieved absolutely
nothing; the UCK immediately
attacked government positions, rejecting any government
that excluded its representatives. This position is seemingly
counterproductive. After all, the Albanian political parties
claim they fight for the same goals as the UCK: more "rights"
for Albanians and a "redress of grievances," in
the form of increased access to the public trough and a legal
recognition of their parallel, apartheid-like society. With
the new coalition in place, Macedonian acceptance of these
demands seems inevitable. Why, then, is the UCK still fighting?
The only rational explanation revolves around the premise
that the UCK is not at all interested in "redress of
grievances," but wants something else altogether. A chunk
of Macedonia for itself, perhaps?
way, the UCK is showing no signs of going away. Even if the
government in Skopje manages to decide to root
the bandits out by force, and get NATO’s approval
for it – which is extremely unlikely – it would still have
to contend with the Albanian demands for a de facto apartheid
society. By forming a coalition with Albanian parties, Macedonians
effectively gave those demands undeserved legitimacy Skopje
does not seem to understand that the Macedonian predicament
does not revolve around human rights, but around the issues
of territory and statehood. Consequently, Macedonians have
shown little willingness to articulate a policy on either.
The Albanians, on the other hand, already seem to have a coherent
policy on which both political parties and the UCK
can agree on.
support for their cause is by far the greatest delusion Macedonia’s
ruling elite may be harboring, even if reinforced by thoroughly
outpourings of rhetoric from the US, EU and NATO. Most
news agencies and some major
Western papers have already started calling ethnic Macedonians
"Slavs" – adopting thus the UCK practice of denying
the existence of a Macedonian ethnicity and, with it, statehood.
More ominously, an officer of the Kosovo
Protection Corps recently took
over military command of the UCK. The KPC is a militia
created and paid by the UN occupation regime in Kosovo, consisting
exclusively of members of the original "UCK" – the
KLA. He UN regime also "accidentally"
released 42 UCK members captured by NATO while trying
to cross into Macedonia from Kosovo. Macedonians ought to
decide whether to trust UN/NATO’s words, or their actions and fast, before it is too late.
is by far not the only one wallowing in delusions, though
it stands to lose the most as a result. When it comes to delusional
behavior, its northern neighbor is doing its best to run close
second. For one thing, it is still called "Yugoslavia."
A romantic 19th-century idea about the union of
South Slavs, at the dawn of the 21st century it
represents an anachronism, largely because most of the aforementioned
Slavs have deemed it better to become "Southeastern Europeans"
and vassals to NATO or whoever pays more. Inside what remains
of Yugoslavia, the political elite is flaying about in confusion.
rulers of Montenegro are showing
no signs of quitting their quest for carving out a separate
ethnic identity and independence for some 600,000 people they
currently lord over. They care little that they squeezed by
in the recent election by less than 5000 votes, despite their
monopoly on media and instruments of state coercion.
colleagues in Serbia are even less coherent. The 18-party
ruling coalition is behaving like 18 separate governments,
with various ministers acting on their own. Foreign policy
has largely consisted of trading sovereignty for recognition,
while security policy has been one of waiting and restraint,
with dubious results. Having already resigned
themselves to Montenegro’s possible secession, authorities
in Belgrade have nothing to show for their policies except
American threats and the sheer
joy of being allowed
by NATO to "control [their] own territory" (under
certain conditions, of course) in a small stretch of devastated
land surrounding the still-occupied Kosovo.
the domestic front, the government of Zoran Djindic has callously
exhibited the worst traits of statism, such as government
monopolies (fuel) and confiscatory taxation. In the name of
filling up state coffers – allegedly emptied by Milosevic
– they have resorted to prohibitive tax rates that target
the entire population, already sucked dry by ten years of
sanctions and war. Rather than reducing the government pillaging,
the new regime seeks to "improve" it in order to
"help" the people. This sort of thinking alone is
the first step towards a predatory, pseudo-socialist regime
that considers itself the rightful owner of all wealth in
the country – and the death of private entrepreneurship, before
it is even given a chance. With that in mind, the recent sex
scandal that forced the government to
dismiss one of its ministers seems downright irrelevant.
Belgrade to continue its Que
sera, sera policy would be not only delusional, but
criminal. While it may be true that NATO and Washington in
practice control Kosovo, and that Montenegro is in
practice already independent, and that the ICTY is in
practice a powerful institution, it does not mean any
of these things are either legal, legitimate,
or acceptable to the Serbian national interest. Millions of
people who voted for DOS did so because they wanted Kostunica,
Djindjic & Co. to take care of the national interest better
than Milosevic did. Certainly the last thing DOS voters expected
to see is their new government "defending" their
interest by giving them up. DOS has so far curbed popular
disappointment by blaming everything on Milosevic. Now that
Milosevic is in prison, though, this tactic is no longer working.
Disappointment is giving way to rage.
Kolubara miners, whose general strike launched the DOS takeover
of power in October last year, now say the new government
is ruling by decree "just like the old one," and
a new strike because of the rapidly deteriorating economic
environment. At least the people are not too delusional not
to notice something serious is rotten in the state of Serbia.
up the ladder of delusions and their consequences, one runs
into NATO, the highest authority in most of the Balkans, and
its political arm, the UN.
having angered the Bosnian Serbs by taking
yet another piece of their territory, the UN decided to
organize pompous ceremonies in two Serb cities, honoring the
reconstruction of mosques blown up by Serb hooligans during
the war. Now, the destruction of mosques is as deplorable
as the destruction
of Serbian churches in Kosovo – which, by the way, continues
despite (or because of?) the presence of over 40,000 NATO
troops. In Bosnia, though, building and rebuilding of mosques
and churches is a political statement, a marking of ethnic
and religious territory. What else could it be, in a land
that desperately needs homes, factories, offices and schools,
none of which are forthcoming? Predictably, quite a number
rioted in both cities, stoning the Muslims and foreign
officials who attended the ceremonies. Equally predictably,
Muslims, Croats and the occupation authorities exploited the
riots to further
pressure and blackmail
the Serbs, incredulously linking the events with Serb
"war criminals" still on the loose.
recently, the UN regime destroyed
the banking system in predominantly Croat part of Bosnia,
aiming to cripple the largest Croat political party. Now it
turns on Serbs, trying to effectively destroy their autonomy
guaranteed by the Dayton Agreement.
this is done in the name of unifying
Bosnia. But why is Bosnia’s unity somehow sacred? How
can anyone build a central government without the consent
of the governed? This, as manifested in domination of certain
ethnic groups over others, was the very issue that caused
the 1992-95 war. Of course, the UN and NATO still hold the
delusional belief that the war was caused by Bosnian Serbs’
aggressive, genocidal, land-grabbing plans, in which Croats
and Muslims were but innocent victims.
Petritsch, Bosnia’s Reischskommisar, can thus blurt
out that "ethnic states are a thing of the past,"
even as he governs a land where people fought within families
over ethnic identity. There is absolutely no logic in maintaining
a unitary Bosnia after having destroyed the federal Yugoslavia
– but that hasn’t stopped the West from trying really hard
for nine years now.
policy in Bosnia resembles lunacy – i.e. doing repeatedly
something that consistently produces adverse results. Every
time someone touches the tender fabric of ethnic relations,
Bosnia shivers violently. Instead of taking responsibility,
the occupation authorities resort to the ready panacea – arrest
"war criminals," and all will be well.
a country does just that – Serbia and Milosevic being a case
in point – and things actually get worse, the Empire
have a ready response again: arresting isn’t enough, one must
try and sentence them in The Hague! If that fails,
surely, there will be another "only remaining thing"
standing between the Balkans and the lush fields of