by Justin Raimondo
More than 2,000 civilians have been killed, and over 5,000 wounded, by NATO in its war for "human rights"; meanwhile, Serbia has accepted conditions identical to those they agreed to at the Rambouillet talks which the NATO-crats now find acceptable. This is known as a "victory."
WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN THAT TENT?
How long does it really take to surrender? In the old days, they just hoisted the white flag and came out with their hands up. Today, the procedure is almost as grueling as war itself, and as exhibit "A" I give you the protracted capitulation of Slobodan Milosevic. It has been a good three days now and when you read this, a good four since the Serbs first indicated a willingness to meet at least some of the Allies' terms. When the announcement was made, it was hailed as a great "breakthrough," a harbinger of peace: and as for the rest, the "technical details," well, they would be worked out by the generals, mere detailed adjuncts to the Clintonians' diplomatic-military triumph. Three days later, those generals are still sweating it out in a tent near the Macedonian village of Kumanovo, the Yugos sipping Slivovitz, and the NATO-crats drunk with the prospect of victory.
The sweetness of this "victory" will be tasted mostly by the arms manufacturers: having used up a good portion of U.S. weapons stocks, the military is about to go on a spending spree rivaled in its scale and scope only by the halcyon days of Reagan's military buildup. The outcry over the alleged shortage of cruise missiles has translated into billions more for "defense" which means mega-profits for companies like Raytheon, maker of the Tomahawk cruise missiles, and Boeing, maker of "smart bombs" suitable for "humanitarian" wars. These same companies paid for the 50th anniversary celebration of NATO's founding, some tens of millions of dollars: an investment that paid off bigtime.
AN ARMY ON THE MARCH
But, please, all you Commies out there, don't tell me this is an example of how "capitalism" causes war. The munitions makers are virtual arms of the government, the product of military socialism rather than the entrepreneurial mindset. Their only clients are governments or guerrilla groups aspiring to governmental status. As the great early twentieth century liberal Randolph Bourne put it: "War is the health of the State." It sickens the rest of us, but invigorates a few: the war profiteers, the professional "human rights" crusaders, the ideologues of "national greatness" (on the right) and the new imperial socialism (on the left). As the great libertarian theorist Murray N. Rothbard put it: "It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society. Society becomes a herd, seeking to kill its alleged enemies, rooting out and suppressing all dissent from the official war effort, happily betraying truth for the supposed public interest. Society becomes an armed camp, with the values and the morale as Albert Jay Nock once phrased it of an 'army on the march.'"
IS IT REALLY OVER?
The more the Clinton administration stresses that the agreement is practically a sure thing, the more dubious and fragile the whole winding-down process seems. While Yugoslav and NATO generals conferred until dawn, after 10 hours of talks an agreement had yet to be reached. NATO-crat spokesman Ken Bacon reported signs that Yugoslav troops were making preparations to leave Kosovo, although no troop movements were actually occurring. The only real movement is in western Kosovo, where the Serbs are reinforcing their positions and sending armored divisions in the direction of the Albanian border, and where the KLA is fighting desperately to be a few steps ahead of NATO troops as they advance into Kosovo. The peace agreement is far from a done deal: it could break down at any moment, for any number of reasons, not the least of which is a provocation or a manufactured "incident" of some kind. Montenegro is a likely flashpoint. So are the monasteries and historical sites located largely in northern Kosovo. The War Party has been cheated out of its much-anticipated ground war, and so much of the political point of the conflict making an example out of Serbia, as a test case for the new Atlanticist imperialism has been lost.
JUST IN CASE
A renewed war, a final reckoning with Slobodan Milosevic, requires only a semi-plausible pretext, and just in case the whole thing collapses the Brits, at any rate, are ready to go in there guns blazing. They are planning on compulsory call-ups for 8,000 specialists medics, engineers and others, the clearest evidence yet that the NATO nations are making plans for an invasion if negotiations fail. On a recent visit to Macedonia, British Defense Secretary George Robertson declared that his earlier promise that troops would not have to fight their way into Kosovo "had come to haunt" him. According to a report in the London Telegraph, he said that now "all options, including a ground invasion, remained on the table."
That the NATO-crats will not be satisfied until they have occupied Belgrade itself was made clear by the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic by the self-styled International Tribunal. This was further underscored in the "peace" agreement drafted by the Great Powers, which "demands" full "cooperation by all concerned, including the international security presence, with the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia." In other words, they will not rest until they have Milosevic in the dock at the Hague. Can that mean anything other than a war to the death a war in which Milosevic cannot afford the luxury of capitulation?
THE RUSSIAN BEAR IS SLEEPING
The negotiations in Bonn leading up to the announcement that Russia had basically caved in to Western demands were stalled, at one point near the end., when Igor Ivanov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, withdrew from the meeting to confer with Moscow. There were three major points of contention on the agenda, and he needed authorization to bridge the gap. According to the London Telegraph, Ivanov did not succeed in reaching Yeltsin, who was "asleep or otherwise 'unavailable' to give his assent."
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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).