December 12, 2002

Democratic Destruction
What Politicians Do

Hardly a day goes by in the southwestern corner of Europe without local authorities and their foreign minders repeating their worn platitudes about the importance of democracy and social engineering, and the need for more of both. Yet the lives of the people they are supposed to be serving and protecting continue to get progressively worse.

In 2000, it took $150 to feed an average family in Serbia. This was after a seven-year blockade, harsher than one currently imposed on Iraq, and a devastating NATO bombing. Now, after two years of "democracy" and "reforms" supposedly aided by Western funding, those same basics cost $400. Meanwhile, unemployment has risen dramatically and wages have stagnated. If these are official figures of a government that claims success – and they are – one should shudder to think what failure would look like.

That is only because "success" and "failure" are defined in common-sense, rational terms, as betterment of people’s lives or lack thereof. But in democracy-speak, "success" is whatever makes the government stronger, and "failure" is whatever makes it weaker. The people can suffer in silence; their only purpose is to serve the state, anyway. While this is about par for the wishful thinking of the rulers, it seems the ruled buy into it as well, as the shadow of despair grows deeper by the day.

Serbia is but an example for the entire region. Every day, rulers of Balkans fiefdoms and their foreign masters commit countless acts of stupidity and random destruction, in addition to the destruction they actually plan. Few places on Earth bear so many scars of social engineering, demonstrating for everyone the fallacy and danger of this pseudo-discipline, if only anyone were willing to learn.

Still doubtful? Here are some examples, from just the past few weeks.

Masters of Surrender

When the current government in Serbia was still the opposition, and not just by name, it solicited votes by promising a break with the past. They supposedly meant the recent past, one of international persecution, conflict and numerous "victorious" capitulations. As it turns out, they meant the distant past, one in which freedom and honor meant something, and surrender was out of the question.

The Djindjic regime has mastered the fine art of surrender exceedingly well over the past two years. They’ve even overcome its foremost obstacle, which is the loss of face. After all, it is hard to lose what one doesn’t have to begin with.

Two of their most significant capitulations concerned, obviously, the extradition of Slobodan Milosevic to the Hague Inquisition, and the groveling before Imperial legates in regard to occupied Kosovo. Whether because their political loyalties lay with the current opposition, or because the Belgrade authorities considered the occupiers’ good graces more important than their duty to protect their citizens, those few Serbs who stayed in the province, resisting Albanian ethnic cleansing attempts and countless pressure of UN and NATO occupiers, have been repeatedly betrayed by the current regime. The last such betrayal came on November 25, when all Serb areas were finally surrendered to full authority of the UN occupation government. Reports from Kosovo left little doubt that the Djindjic regime, represented by its designated quisling Nebojsa Covic, sacrificed Kosovo Serbs in order to gain Washington’s approval to join the ranks of NATO’s satellites ("Partnership for Peace") and other Imperial structures of submission.

Covic and others argue that collaborating with the UN and NATO is the only way Kosovo Serbs can survive in the occupied province. Alas, such assertions are not borne out by reality. Despite attempts to show otherwise, life for non-Albanians in Kosovo remains almost impossible. Last week, two more Serbian churches were destroyed by "unknown perpetrators," like 110 others already. One would think that with 40,000 troops of the self-proclaimed terrorist-fighting alliance occupying a province of 2 million, those perpetrators would not have stayed unknown for 3 ½ years.

This week, Belgrade’s notion of successful foreign policy involved ceding a strategically vital peninsula to Croatia in return for absolutely nothing. The Prevlaka was given to Croatia during the Communist era, and was held by the Yugoslav military since Croatia’s 1991 secession. Now Zagreb gets it back, unconditionally, even though half a million Serb citizens it expelled during the 1990s still live as refugees throughout Serbia. Again, since their political loyalties lie elsewhere, and submission is popular with the rulers’ foreign handlers, those exiles can go to Hell. If they aren’t living it already.

And as if none of these were bad enough, representatives of Serbian and Montenegrin governments finally agreed on a Constitutional Charter of their new quasi-state. Though ostensibly doing so in order to join international bodies and alliances, the very nature of the new arrangement makes such accession impossible. Even if the undead union had the appropriate institutions through which to enter international bodies – and it doesn’t – who would ever admit a pseudo-state with a rapidly approaching expiration date? The new Charter’s beneficiaries would be those governing Serbia and Montenegro, not their unfortunate inhabitants.

Allies, Torturers and Terrorists

Serbia and Montenegro are by no means the only examples of Democratic Destructivism. Croatian authorities are perfectly capable of running their country into the ground as well, though they have a longer way to go thanks to Imperial aid in the past, and Belgrade’s present spinelessness.

Having already landed official Zagreb in hot water by accusing Croatia’s top wartime general of war crimes, The Hague Inquisition recently dispatched investigators to probe further into Croatia’s 1995 summer offensive, which had resulted in a mass Serb exodus. Given that Croatian troops were trained and equipped for that mission by the US, reports from Washington have interpreted the probe as aimed at the Clinton Administration. While some Serb exiles hope that the Inquisition might actually accuse the Empire of aiding and abetting the crimes of its vassals, such expectations have been flat-out rejected by "Tribunal" officials. Croatian authorities, however, have attempted to refute the charges by insisting on U.S. involvement, and claiming it gave their actions full legitimacy. Since prosecuting Croatian officers would mean prosecuting American leaders as well, and the "Tribunal" has refused to do so, the reasoning goes, the entire case should be dismissed. Their logic is somewhat wobbly, but ultimately irrelevant to issues of Imperial "justice."

Meanwhile, a Croatian judge has seen fit to ridicule law by dismissing all charges against eight former guards of the "Lora" prison camp in Split. Mind you, Judge Slavko Lozina did not simply argue down the prosecutors’ charges, he actually made the entire trial a mockery of judicial process. Among other things, he allowed the brutal badgering of witnesses and dismissed their complaints of intimidation; actually released the accused from detention during the summer recess; and summarily dismissed all evidence given in Belgrade by witnesses who did not dare come to Split fearing for their lives. He also made a point of enthusiastically attending a concert of Marko Perkovic Thompson, a musician whose songs glorify fascism and Serbophobia.

But arguably the stupidest recent act of official Zagreb was the request to the United States for repatriation of a convicted and confessed terrorist, who in 1976 hijacked an airliner and threatened to blow it up for the cause of Croatian independence. Zvonko Busic and his accomplices actually did blow up a locker at a New York train station, killing one and injuring another police officer. He is now serving a life sentence at the high-security federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, because he escaped from another prison and was arrested again in 1987.

Some Croatians may well consider Busic a hero, just as they flock to Thompson’s concerts, but requesting the release of a convicted terrorist – an airplane hijacker, no less! – in the midst of America’s proclaimed crusade against terrorism simply transcends the boundaries of stupidity.

How exactly are interests of the Croatian people served by angering the Empire, poking Americans in the eye, or reminding people of the Croatian cause’s terrorist past? They aren’t, and can’t be. But such actions play to the mob’s emotions, which have proven important for gaining and preserving power.

Follies of Court Intellectuals

Every government relies on "learned experts" who endeavor to give its policies a stamp of legitimacy. Among those court intellectuals and their organizations ("think tanks"), the International Crisis Group has long been one of the more spoiled and ill-mannered, seeking to bully as much as persuade as its influence grew. However, its most recent attempt to capitalize on the fabricated scandal involving Serbian industries and Iraqi weapons backfired, as the Imperial government dismissed its sensationalist report as "full of speculation and errors."

Meanwhile, another organization with similar proclivities for global interventionism, Council on Foreign Relations, published a study this week outlining the strategy the Empire should embrace in the Balkans. According to wire services, the study’s recommendations are largely social engineering: establishing judiciary, overhauling financial systems and economy via central planning, and creating elements of liberal socialist democracy (government-run education, media) that would enable further government control of society. Unsurprisingly, authors of the study are some of America’s most influential shadow policymakers.

There were reports last week that the Empire was planning a Balkans pullback, in order to pursue conquest elsewhere. It seems Germany was requested to police the Balkans instead, as a shining example of democracy and social engineering in action. While that may or may not actually happen (though it would be ironic if it did!), it is obvious that the Empire has no intention of abandoning its pet experiment. And more’s the pity.

Misadventures in Democracy

At last, there’s that ultimate bit of "democratic" folly, the second failed Serbian presidential election in two months. Vojislav Kostunica yet again won the vote, but the turnout was predictably sabotaged and the vote was declared invalid. Zoran Djindjic can now appoint the parliamentary Speaker, a flunky of his, to be "caretaker" President until the next election, and "regrettably" resort to ruling by decree. Of course, Kostunica angrily refused to accept the results, but he hasn’t shown the ability to overturn Djindjic’s faits accompli so far.

If the Serbs have truly become disillusioned with democracy, as BBC’s reporter suggests, there may be hope for them – and the entire Balkans – yet. If the economic disaster and repeated diplomatic defeats haven’t managed to convince them already, the electoral circus ought to show once and for all that the DOS regime is no better than their predecessors, and that they can either have peace, liberty and prosperity, or democracy – but not both.

Now if they would only take the next, crucial step and finally realize that the solution is not to "elect the right people," but to reduce the power of elected officials (if they insist on having them at all) to the bare minimum necessary, their lives would improve dramatically in a very short period of time. Not quite overnight, but close.

Why? Because that is what happens when restraints on natural human ingenuity, creativity and talent for survival are removed, and spirit of enterprise escapes from the democratic-socialist bottle. Whether in Serbia, Croatia, or anywhere else, prosperity is created in spite of – and never because of – any amount of social engineering or democracy. They can only "create" destruction.

– Nebojsa Malic

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Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo, and contributed to the Independent. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for appears every Thursday.


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Democratic Destruction

Forged Memories

Making the Balkans Connection

Remembering the Obvious

Empire's Playground

Casus Belli

Forward to The Past

The Unbearable Futility of Voting

A Global Balkans

Triumph of the Will

The Day Nothing Changed

Illusions of Truth and Justice

More archived columns by Nebojsa Malic

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