On War #252: Fools Rush In

By William S. Lind

If the Balkans had an anthem, it would be that 1950’s doo-wop hit, “Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread.” The latest Balkan fools are the United States and the European Union, which have rushed in to recognize what Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica rightly calls the “fake state of Kosovo.” Why is it a fake state? Because there are no Kosovars, only Serbs and Albanians. Each group seeks to unite Kosovo with its homeland, historic Serbia or Greater Albania. An independent Kosovo has the half-life of a sub-atomic particle.

The action of the U.S. and the E.U. in stripping Serbia of Serbs’ historic homeland is both a crime and a blunder. It is a crime, first, because no one, not even the U.N., has a legal right to dismember a sovereign state, and second, because the narrative used to justify the illegal action is a lie. The stated justification is that the Serbs, under Slobodan Milosevic, were ethnically cleansing Kosovo of Albanians. As German courts have established, there was no ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo until NATO started bombing Serbia. After NATO launched its unprovoked attack on Serbia (Mrs. Albright’s splendid little war), the Serbs dumped the Albanians on NATO’s doorstep as a vast logistics spunge. That wasn’t terribly nice, but when you are a very small country fighting all of NATO, you do what you can. Ironically, after Serbia was forced to capitulate when Russia withdrew her support, NATO blithely presided over the ethnic cleansing of two-thirds of Kosovo’s Serbs by the Albanians.

In international affairs, blunders are worse than crimes, and two of the blunders contained in the recognition of Kosovo are likely to have consequences. The first is the creation of an irredenta, which guarantees another Balkan war. Serbia will never accept the wholesale alienation of one of her provinces. Like France after 1871, her whole policy will focus on recovering her lost territory as soon as the moment is ripe.

The second blunder is further alienating Russia, this time in a way she cannot ignore. If the U.S. and the E.U. are blind to the ghost of 1914, Russia and Serbia are not. The fact that Russia went to war to protect Serbia then puts pressure on Moscow to do so again, lest the Putin government look weak domestically as well as abroad.

Washington and Brussels scoff at the thought, but Russia and Serbia certainly have military options. A guerrilla war against European and American troops and police in Serb-inhabited portions of Kosovo is likely to occur spontaneously, at least at a low level. IEDs and sniper ambushes are easy enough to arrange. Belgrade can ramp it up by smuggling in shaped-charge anti-armor mines, dual-warhead RPGs and sniper rifles, along with Serbian special forces to make sure they are used effectively. If Europe responds with economic measures against Serbia, Russia now has enough petro-dollars to support Belgrade economically. If NATO threatens a new bombing campaign, Russia can up the ante too by sending Russian air defense troops and equipment to Serbia. The last time NATO bombed Serbia, Russia was too weak to respond. That is not true now, nor is President Putin for sale the way Mr. Yeltsin was.

The last thing the world needs now is a new Balkan war, with NATO and Russia caught in a contest of mutual escalation. Is there a way to walk this dog back? I think there is, if Washington and Brussels regain some sense of reality. They can do what Bismarck did in 1878 and call a conference. There, a solution could be negotiated that all parties might live with, even if none really liked it. One such solution would be to partition Kosovo between Serbia and Albania, with Serbia compensated for her loss of some of Kosovo by being allowed to annex the Serbian portion of Bosnia. The fact that both Kosovo and Bosnia are fake states would make such a deal all the easier. As the E.U. has already discovered, maintaining fake states is an expensive and never-ending business.

Fools rush in, but sometimes even fools are wise enough to back out again. Berlin, are you listening? The Congress of Berlin of 2008 may be as successful as the Congress of Berlin of 1878 in averting war in Europe.

William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

To interview Mr. Lind, please contact:

Mr. William S. Lind
Free Congress Foundation
717 Second St., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Direct line: 202-543-8796

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed in Uncategorized | 18 responses so far

18 Responses to “On War #252: Fools Rush In”

  1. On War #252: Fools Rush Inon 27 Feb 2008 at 10:38 pm 1

    […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBy William S. Lind If the Balkans had an anthem, it would be that 1950’s doo-wop hit, “Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread.” The latest Balkan fools are the United States and the European Union, which have rushed in to recognize what Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica rightly calls the “fake state of Kosovo.” Why is it a fake state? Because there are no Kosovars, only Serbs and Albanians. Each group seeks to unite Kosovo with its homeland, historic Serbia or Greater Albania. An independent Kosovo has the half-life of a sub-atomic particle. […]

  2. mycophagiston 27 Feb 2008 at 11:19 pm 2

    Once again Mr. Lind is right on target…

    While I doubt that either the Russians or the Serbs will use military force now, they wont forget these acts, and as he said, await their opportunity.

    I have to wonder about a question that Mr. Lind doesn’t answer or ask – Yugoslavia is the last undeveloped part of Europe, and with the death of Tito presented a rich target for exploitation. Yugoslavia was far too strong to be dealt with summarily, but these little states that have come into existance certainly are.

    But why did countries like France, historically friends of the Serbs a part of this?

    Finally, one little correction to Mr. Linds essay. The ethnic cleansing of Serbs began long before Nato’s intervention. The Serb population was reduced from half a million to a hundred thousand, long before the present conflict. It was the brutal acts of violence aginast the Serbs which prompted Milosovics intervention, which in turn prompeted the Nato aggression.

    Dave

  3. maximilliangcon 28 Feb 2008 at 12:02 am 3

    “Once again Mr. Lind is right on target…”

    Ans so are you Dave, particuarly this time.

    It would be laughable, if only that the US “officialy” under
    the present and FORSEEABLE governance, can’t get anything,
    not one single thing right.

    MC

    http://antiwar.com/blog/?p=701

    “We Bombed The Wrong Side”

    Wednesday, April 7th, 2004 in Old Posts by Nebojsa Malic| Comment |

    Retired Canadian general and veteran UN peacekeeper Lewis McKenzie isn’t the first to say that, and may not be the last.

  4. oldskepticon 28 Feb 2008 at 12:40 am 4

    The thing I find fascinating is that EVERY geo-strategic decision made by the US in the last 15 years or so has been wrong. What do Americans call it, ‘batting 0.00’ I think. Now the real studies have to be into why, to work out ways to get of these messes and to avoid such disasters in the future.

    Re Serbs: Some of the French right by and large support the US’s ‘Great Game’ and are betting on it being successfull and want a slice of the action and the spoils that will follow (just as the UK and Australia did) . If stuffing the Serbs helps them, then tough on the Serbs. It goes without saying that they will be greatly disappointed (even if they somehow pulled it off, the US is not going to share anything with anyone).

    The Russians will definitely slip the knife in, at the moment it most suits them, for the maximum effect and in ways not yet anticipated. Very long memories they have.

  5. rogelio007on 28 Feb 2008 at 2:11 am 5

    “there are no Kosovars, only Serbs and Albanians.”

    It is interesting and worth noting that on the day Kosovo declared its so-called “independence” people in Kosovo celebrating in the streets were waving Albanian flags, not Kosovar flags.

  6. colkenton 28 Feb 2008 at 12:51 pm 6

    A little history that is overlooked in the Kosovo discussion is the fact that what we refer to as “Kosovo” is in fact historically called “Kosovo and Metohia”. Geographically over 50% of Kosovo is actually Metohia which is monastery land owned by the Orthodox Church! Dont believe me? Click here: Metohija – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (also note how history is being rewritten even in Wikipedia: words have been changed from “are owned” to “were owned by the Orthodox monasteries” !!!!!!

    Or ask any Serbian, Russian or Greek Orthodox priest or “popa” and he will give you a history lesson that has stood the test of time against empires of the likes of the Ottomans, Austro-Hungarians, and in most recent times the Fascist states of Germany and Italy.

    In 4GW terms the US does not hold the moral high ground here and has already lost even with strategic and tactical “successes” that have amount to “shooting ourselves in the foot”. Keep in mind the Orthodox Church today reaches all the way from Constanople, several in Iran, throughout the Balkans, and in to Russia, even in the US and Canada. History has shown that the church is a power to be reckoned with by the state. I’ve heard it said that one priest is equivalent to 100 (maybe 1000s, look at Iraq) soldiers. So the Kosovo issue has another prominent element which could adversely affect the outcome, if the US doesn’t change course. History is not on our side.

  7. simontmnon 28 Feb 2008 at 2:04 pm 7

    It seems as if the leaders of the USA and EU are gripped by a collective madness, analogous to that which gripped Europe in 1914. How can they not see what they’re doing?

  8. ttubofhon 28 Feb 2008 at 6:41 pm 8

    I don’t always agree with Mr. Lind, no doubt due to our generational differences, but this latest post is almost prophetic. Up until this point, all I saw was the foolishness of recognizing a flyspeck provincial hell-hole as an independent territory, but the comparisons with the period leading up to WWI are both scary and accurate.

    For those interested in some more reading, I recently read a “review” of Kosovo by an American ex-pat’ing in Russia. Makes you wonder more and more why this country consistently wastes blood and treasure intervening in the great wide world of fools and thugs…

    http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=17187&IBLOCK_ID=35

  9. mycophagiston 28 Feb 2008 at 11:07 pm 9

    This aggression was “successful.” Unlike Iraq, this was all carefully worked out in advance. The aim being the destruction of Yugoslavia. Germany “recognised” Croatia within a day of their declaration of independence. The recognition of Kossovo, while more explainable, has also been immediate, despite it’s clear violation of the Dayton accords.

    Whatever price will be paid, will be paid in the distant future, meaning ten, twenty years down the road… :)

    I also have to pause and point out that Mr. Clinton rallied Liberal support for this intervention, recent history being ignored in favor of current events, and even turning Milosovic (a convenient petty tyrant) into another Hitler who must be stopped.

    Mr. Clinton pushed all the Liberal buttons, as well as getting mainstream Conervative support. (Mr. Dole telling Republicans to support Clinton and stop criticizing him.)

    The bill will be paid long after these current politicians are either gone, or dead and buried.

    Dave

  10. ignatxon 29 Feb 2008 at 3:17 pm 10

    Was there even a motive for the US interfering in the Balkans other than hyped up reports of massacres on TV news?

  11. rogelio007on 29 Feb 2008 at 4:08 pm 11

    “seeks to unite Kosovo with its homeland, historic Serbia or Greater Albania. An independent Kosovo has the half-life of a sub-atomic particle.”

    Mr. Lind hit that nail right on the head. The ultimate goal of this Kosovo “independence” nonsense is not an independent Kosovo but rather the annexation of Kosovo into Albania.

  12. Mr. Roachon 01 Mar 2008 at 12:24 am 12

    Excellent piece. Other than inertia, our commitment to this stupid project is completely puzzling. The only thing that makes sense is that we want to get Europe prepared to go down quietly as its Muslim populations assert themselves. The elite want to retire in style and not have to worry about fighting in the street.

    I don’t think the Bosnian plan would work because of the historic value attached to the region by the Serbs.

  13. maximilliangcon 01 Mar 2008 at 11:50 am 13

    Let’s recognise Mr. Lind as an authority of 4GW, a big factor of which
    is the phenominia of the crisis of legitamacy of the state.

    That’s exactly what we’re talking about.

    President Bush has set an interesting precidence in his willing, even
    enthusiastic recoginition of this “unilatteral declaration of indpendence.”

    It’s likely he could care less about the parties involved, much less
    point to them on a world map, but likes
    it from the strand point of creating trouble and instability for America’s
    imagined foes of the past, present, and future.

    This has implications for the future of N. America.

    Will US Presidents of the future be so enthusiastic in thier embrace
    and recogniation of the rights of splinter groups who advocate and then proceed to unilatteraly suseed from Canada, and the USA ?

    MaX

  14. iliijaon 01 Mar 2008 at 5:54 pm 14

    Both the Greek and the Roman Empires had their backs broken in the Balkans. Formation of Albania as a state suited only UK in 1913 (Bucurest) as pretext for the Crimean War – while most of Anatolia (even at that time was Greek rather than Turkish) – but the ever-present Russophobia got the better of them (the Brits). That was not a lesson enough for the Habsburgs who annexed Bosnia (another name for a predominantly Serbian part of the Balkans), later the Nazis annexed Austria and Sudetanlands – all these tyrants lost their wars and their dreams of glory were equally short-lived as will be the “state of Kosovo”. Not a chance in Hell that anybody with an ounce of brains will let this injustice slide eternaly.

  15. seydlitz89on 01 Mar 2008 at 11:18 pm 15

    “The stated justification is that the Serbs, under Slobodan Milosevic, were ethnically cleansing Kosovo of Albanians. As German courts have established, there was no ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo until NATO started bombing Serbia. After NATO launched its unprovoked attack on Serbia (Mrs. Albright’s splendid little war), the Serbs dumped the Albanians on NATO’s doorstep as a vast logistics spunge. That wasn’t terribly nice, but when you are a very small country fighting all of NATO, you do what you can.”

    Like we haven’t seen this before? Some Westie arguing in favor of Milo of Serbia . . . . “plucky little Serbs”. . . Like it all comes down to that. Maybe, where your’re at . . . interests clouding values as always, but then you would expect Lind to see that . . .

    Some never learn. This coming also from one of the apostles of the decline of the state thesis. . .

    “German courts”, eh?

    From a Clausewitzian perspective, however. . . watch the French.

  16. iliijaon 02 Mar 2008 at 12:43 am 16

    Correction and retraction: The Crimean War was finished long beofre the ill-fated Bucurest conference when London tried to wash its hands in retrospect. My conclusion is a lot more sinister than just a simple cover-up. London wanted to justify the invasion on Russia in a prior century and its own defea by establishing an Islamic foothold in Euorpe – that way that could claim the “just cause excuse” (for the brainless). It is exactly the ssame thing that NATO is doing now to show that their aggression against a sovereign nation was justified (in some nuclear metaphysics lab) – but surely not in real life.

  17. mikyoon 02 Mar 2008 at 10:47 pm 17

    Wasn’t Kosova part of the price that Albania wanted for the trans balkan pipeline?

  18. factsfinderon 06 Mar 2008 at 4:07 pm 18

    The main reason Kosovo is even on the U.S. radar is because of oil policy! The U.S. does NOT give a dam about the average Albanian nor the Serbs for that matter. They are just pawns for the oil war between the U.S./EU and Russia/China.

    I believe Clinton originally attacked Serbia in 1999 not because he cared about Albanians but because of the Trans-Balkan oil pipeline and to liberate Serbian markets from Milosevich’s monopoly and hold over the last markets in Europe to open to the West.

    You expect me to believe the U.S. government project from AMBO to build a billion dollar oil pipeline through the region and not have Milosevich try and intervene? The U.S. could not get investors to sign up because of Milosevich was in power to the north.

    Remove Milosevich, the project would move forward and Serbian markets would open to western investors. Note: Clinton would get his war victory for a 2-term President.

    Today, that AMBO project should be past feasibility studies and construction should be started.

    But Putin has spoiled the show. While the U.S./EU pitched the Nabucco oil pipeline, Russia stole the show by signing 3 major oil pipeline projects recently. One with Bulgaria and Greece, another with Serbia and a third with Italy. These pipelines would empty in Greece, Hungary and Austria, basically supplying Europe with Russian oil.

    Russia has won this battle of the southern stream oil pipelines. This upset the U.S./EU that they decided to support Kosovo independence not because they cared about the faith of Islam, they wanted to punish one of Russia’s allies (Serbia) for signing the deal.

    Note: Look what happened to Prodi in Italy. He was sacked by a bank scandal not too long after he signed an oil deal with Russia. These 2 events are not coincident, they are connected!

    So Kosovo is simply a continuation of oil policy and bears no weight in morality!