: >I am curious and ignorant. What has NATO done to help cause the >violence in Kosovo? Iris Young
: The Western Powers wear many hats. Their disastrous, self-interested and short-sighted interventions in the Balkans over the past several years has been under the auspices of the United Nations, the EU and individual governments, as well as NATO.
The Left has made a mess out of the former Yugoslavia. The old communist criminals that used to run the country now are using nationalist politics to hold on to power. The U.S. has been trying to cobble a solution to this nightmare, and have been resisted all the way by left-wing elements within the country and in the West, culminating in the passive support now that the international socialists have been giving to the Kosovan genocide. The protests began the day that the Russians pulled out of the NATO operation in Bosnia, and are transparently run by the same old front organizations.
A few points:
: (1) When first faced with the break up of Yugoslavia, Western leaders first supported holding the country together (all five permanent member of the Security Council, including the US, Britain and France, agreed), and gave enthusiastic support to Milosevic, even while full-scale repression was taking place in Kosovo following the revocation of its autonomous status in 1989.
Yeah. We supported the status quo. The idea was that civil war would be terrible, and that an intervention would cause needless deaths. Communists tend to hold on to power tenaciously, and tear a country apart when forced out. Just as we hoped that the former USSR would stabilize, so too we held back from intervention until the former communists seemed intent on turning Bosnia into a charnel house.
: (2) Policy changed when it became clear that Milosevic could not hold the country together with military force and repression. Now Western leaders (led by the German government) allied themselves with the equally nasty Tudjman regime. In late 1991, Germany (soon followed by the rest of the EU) backed Croatian independence without calling for any recognition of the rights of the substantial Serbian minority in Croatia, fuelling the war between Croatia and Serbia. (Recognition came despite warnings from the UN Secretary General that it was reckless and premature. But Germany refused to recognize Macedonian independence because Greece--an EU ally--objected.)
Again, there was a flurry of desperate solutions to attempt to forestall a civil war. When the Croatians seemed too strong to be forcibly held in the old Yugoslavia, there was an attempt to form a peaceable break. Again, old guard Communist leaders did their best to throw gasoline on the fire.
: (3) At the same time, Western leaders gave tacit support to Tudjman and Milosevic's secret deal to carve up Bosnia between themselves, thus fuelling the war in Bosnia. This was followed by the disastrous recognition of Bosnian independence. In the context of supporting Serbia's and Croatia's "right" to grab various parts of the republic, this laid the basis for a brutal war along ethnic lines.
Finally, we gave up, and prepared to station troops into the area to force a peace. I would suggest reading a book called To End A War, by Richard Holbrooke.
: (4) In 1995, NATO's bombing of Bosnian Serbs at the end of the war in Bosnia was timed to coincide with a Bosnian and Croat offensive which drove tens of thousands of Serbs (referred to by Peter Galbraith, the US ambassador to Croatia, as "so called local Serbs") from their homes in the Krajina--the biggest act of ethnic cleansing that has taken place in the Balkans. Because by this time the US and the West were backing Croatian expansionism, reports of Croatian atrocities were played down. According to one diplomatic source, "Croatia is far too important geopolitically at the moment for the UN to make a fuss."
Large numbers of civilians were being murdered. Women were being raped and killed. We bombed the forces responsible, and stopped the killing. Thanks for your support. Nice to see you support the right side.
: (5) In Kosovo, the Western powers completely ignored the campaign of non-violent resistance organized by the Kosovar Alabanians, which went on for several years. George Bush refused to even meet the Kosovan leaders. They were also ignored in the US brokered Dayton agreement which was shored up Tudjman, Milosevic and the other nationalist leaders. Only then did the Kosovo Liberation Army emerge. Last year, the West denounced the KLA as "terrorists", giving Milosevic a green light to step up his campaign against them.
The KLA are terrorists. They've been active for some time. We would no more support the IRA than we would support a genocide of the Irish by Britain. We would support a solution agreed to by all parties concerned, and would stay out unless gross atrocities were being committed. That is what "peace-keeping" is all about, you see.
: (6) Two years ago, when the Milosevic regime was rocked by massive daily demonstrations, some sections of the opposition began to discuss freedom for Kosovo as one of their demands. That movement was defeated, partly because the Western-backed leaders of the opposition remained wedded to nationalist politics. The movement showed that Milosevic could be removed by his own people. Now NATO is making that process more difficult.
We do not support civil war. The common people do not want civil war, and we do not want civil war. We are no more against the Serbian people than we are against the Iraqi people, the Palestinian people, or any other "people". We are against crimes against humanity. We are for human rights. The sooner the Left realizes that they cannot get away with inhuman terrorist acts and genocide, the sooner they will finally be rid of by the world. Thus, we ought to have been more aggressive in Vietnam and against the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, but I digress.
: (7) Western intervention over several years has been based on the principle that Yugoslavia should be carved up on ethnic grounds, at each stage preparing the way for further bloodshed, and at each stage making it more difficult to achieve a multi-ethnic solution. Whatever emerges from the current catastrophe, it is already clear that it will not be good.
Western intervention has been well meaning, but has not attacked the real issue - that the grasping for power amongst the ex-communist leaders is the primary reason for conflict in the region. We ought to actively and ruthlessly pursue anyone who held a high position in the old Communist Party of Yugoslavia, and bring them to justice. Racist fascism is merely a pale, weakened version of communism, and these 'ex-communists' easily revert to Nazi politics when it suits their opportunistic objectives. Only when we are ready to purge this maniacal faction from the political equation in the Balkans will we ever have hope for true peace in the region.
: --Original Message-----
: From: Phil Gasper
: To: email@example.com
: Date: Thursday, April 01, 1999 4:54 PM
: Subject: Fwd: Report from 2 Belgrade Socialists