November 21, 2002
the Balkans Connection
To Justify the Empire
two commentaries this past week, Empire’s Balkans adventures
were brought up in connection with the planned invasion and
occupation of Iraq. They didn’t say, though they could have,
that the new UN resolution paving the way for weapons inspectors
was akin to the establishment of Kosovo
Verification Mission, tasked in 1998 with finding a pretext
for attacking Serbia. Nor did they say, as they could have,
that an attack on Iraq would be just as patently illegal and
illegitimate as the 1999 bombing of Serbia, or the occupation
of Bosnia and Kosovo, or the way Macedonia was forced to cave
in to terrorist demands.
both articles made a case that the real problem with the Balkans
– and Bosnia in particular – was not Imperial intervention
gone too far, but intervention not gone far enough.
One was a commentary by Russ Baker on TomPaine.com,
a site affiliated with The American Prospect. The other
was a staff editorial in USA
Today, America’s largest-circulation daily.
could understand a liberal
imperialist, but what to make of the nation’s most widely
read daily when it seems to criticize the Emperor’s anytime-soon
war on Iraq for its lack of proper imperial enthusiasm in
Bosnia? Such vacuous arguments are fairly typical in what
could be termed the "liberal" circles in the US
and Europe, but in all honesty plenty of so-called "conservatives"
think the same way. No matter the nature of the problem, whether
at home or abroad, the solution is always government intervention.
And if that intervention isn’t working, the reason is obvious:
the government isn’t trying hard enough.
is, of course, much acrimony between the "left"
and "right" regarding the methods of intervention,
but never regarding the principle itself. It is an argument
about the details of using power, not about power itself.
That is something sacrosanct, untouchable. Precious.
the people who actually have to live in the nightmare
laboratory of Empire’s making, things might look slightly
different, of course.
to Bosnia, USA Today speaks of "U.S. and allied
efforts to bring peace and democracy to the devastated nation."
Bosnia already has democracy,
and it’s getting worse by the day. As for peace, it was forced
by Richard Holbrooke’s
bombs, and is kept by several thousand heavily armed NATO
troops and a British viceroy.
way viceroy Ashdown tries to build peace and democracy, one
almost wishes for the return of open warfare. He is pushing
for a strong central government in a place that has too much
government at every level already. He is also seeking to stimulate
economy and investments through establishing pseudo-governmental
committees and introducing new taxes. The unabashedly pro-Empire
IWPR calls him the "British
Bulldozer," no doubt as a compliment.
does not have to be an economist to see that Ashdown is wrong,
and that his policies would only make things worse. The exhausted
and brainwashed residents of Bosnia can’t even make that simple
observation. Even if they could, what recourse would they
have? Having invited the Empire over, they have surrendered
to its absolute power in exchange for promises of a better
future. Instead, they’ve lost even the present. And USA
Today thinks this is not enough?
places that aren’t under direct Imperial occupation have their
share of misery. Serbia is still in a political, economic,
social and even spiritual limbo, as Empire’s mercenaries run
amok in the government. Wrecking the already devastated economy
and society even further wasn’t so hard for Zoran the Foul
and his cohorts; five decades of socialism had done most of
the prep work, and NATO bombs tore down even the pretenses
that kept things together.
twice botched the New Order’s essential religious
ritual of democratic worship, Serbia will go to the polls
in two weeks, this time with a slightly better chance
of electing a president. It is highly unlikely, however, that
the election would bring any meaningful change. Zoran Djindjic’s
main rivals have neutralized their message by agreeing to
support his regime in a compromise settlement of the parliamentary
crisis last week. Even if they didn’t, their political position
is still too much inside the Statist spectrum. Vojislav Kostunica
may be for a limited government, but seems quite content to
let the government itself set those limits.
Djindjic, Kostunica, and many others talk incessantly about
"reforms". But the one essential reform, from which
prosperity might have even the most basic chance of not failing,
would involve defining
property rights. That, however, would diminish the role
of government as the arbiter of disputes in a murky sea of
property claims, and reduce its now-absolute power to something
a bit more manageable. Which is why it won’t happen any time
an Imperial interventionist could argue that Serbia is beset
by problems precisely because it is not under direct
Imperial control. Not a few pro-Imperial intellectuals in
Serbia have advocated occupation and mass brainwashing, a
"de-Nazification" (in their words) that would purge
the society. Given that they see people as no more than things,
objects to be molded and manipulated by power, they certainly
qualify for some "de-Nazification" themselves.
Desert Called Peace
the Statist argument to make any sense, the success of Imperial
intervention has to be in direct correlation with its degree.
By that standard, the most successful and effective Imperial
intervention since the end of World War Two would be Kosovo.
is it? Can it ever be enough, really? Reports of savagery
and evil rampant in this occupied province have long since
become a Stalinist
statistic, in the sense that nothing comes as a shock
spite – or because of? – the presence of over 30,000 NATO
troops, more than 100 Orthodox Christian churches in the province
have been destroyed over the past 3 ½ years. Two more were
demolished this weekend, by "unknown persons." Kosovo’s
viceroy Michael Steiner immediately "condemned"
the destruction, as did the puppet Albanian Prime Minister,
Bajram Rexhepi. Having thus congratulated themselves on their
sensitivity and verbal commitment to peace and justice, they
will stand by and do nothing to stop further acts of terrorism
in the province. Their "stern condemnations" will
certainly prevent further attacks, just as they’ve prevented
the previous 110, or the ethnic cleansing of some 300,000
non-Albanians under NATO troops’ noses, or the looting and
torching of their homes…
all semblance of order, or justice; elevating brutality to
a way of life; closing one’s eyes to heinous crimes: these
are the hallmark of Empire’s "peace" and "democracy"
if Kosovo is indeed a success. A desert,
all their misguided faith in statist intervention, both the
USA Today editors and Russ Baker at least tried to
connect the Empire’s Balkans misadventures with what is about
to happen in Iraq. Not many others can connect the dots, even
that badly. It is very likely that the Empire will use the
Balkans as a template
for its future conquests, as it becomes increasingly obvious
it seeks to dominate the entire world – and has admitted
as much, openly.
who believes this would not necessarily be a bad thing should
take a Serb name and move to Kosovo immediately. They will
quickly be disabused of their foolish illusions – that is,
if they survive.
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