On War #304: The Balkans Again

by William S. Lind
12 May 2009

A story I read years ago culminated with the protagonist holed up in a cheap hotel in the Balkans, listening unwillingly through the paper-thin wall as the man in the room next door beat his wife. As he pummeled her, she cried again and again, “Balkan! Balkan!” “Balkan,” it seems, may be a term of opprobrium even in the Balkans.

Few episodes in American history have been more Balkan than our late war there. In case the folly of the war in Iraq and the futility of the war in Afghanistan have caused us to forget, the Clinton administration bombed Serbia for almost three months, for reasons no one quite remembers. Somewhere around 5,000 Serbian civilians were killed, and much of an already poor country’s economic infrastructure was wrecked. As usual, the bombing had virtually no effect on military targets.

The Serbs caved when the Russians pulled the rug out from under them and NATO dropped its most extreme demands. NATO could have gotten the same deal with no bombing, had the initial ultimatum to Serbia not been written to make acceptance impossible (Operation Franz Ferdinand?).

The truce, which is the most one can get in Balkan wars, required Serbian forces to evacuate Serbs’ ancestral homeland, Kosovo. That turned Kosovo’s remaining Serbian civilians over to the tender mercies of the Albanians, who promptly ethnically cleansed most of them while NATO forces stood by. Serbia did not renounce its claim to Kosovo; no Serbian government could do that and survive.

Now, it seems, our distinguished Secretary of State, Madame Clinton, wishes to revisit the scene of the crime. Perhaps looking about for something more promising than fighting Pashtuns, she is rumored to want another round with the Serbs. The demands, this time, are to be Serbian recognition of Kosovo’s “independence” (Kosovo is not a country and never has been; there are no Kosovars, only Serbs and Albanians who live in Kosovo) and the destruction of Republika Srpska, the Serbian portion of Bosnia. The effects would be to de-legitimize the current moderate Serbian government and drive the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Bosnia out as refugees.

Only people as shallow and self-absorbed as the Clintons could want to mess around in the Balkans. Talk about smoking in the powder magazine. The potential for disaster is always high, and the effects can spread, as the unpleasantness between 1914 and 1918 might remind us.

In fact, the two previous rounds of Balkan fighting and American and NATO meddling have left unstable situations needing only a spark to erupt. Bosnia is a hot-house creation, a figment of the Globalist elite’s imagination. Like Oakland, there is no there there. It is a Croat-Moslem “federation” neither party accepts. The Croats want out, and the Muslims want to cut the Croats’ throats. All that keeps the lid on is the money that pours from the foreign troops who occupy the place.

Kosovo remains a festering boil, home to jihadists, drug distribution networks and other 4GW elements of every sort. Serbia won’t give it up, and the Albanians will not rest until every Serb is gone or dead and every Serbian church or cultural monument obliterated.

Mrs. Clinton wants to push America’s nose back into this beehive, or so the rumor mill in Washington has it. We must pray that adults somewhere in the Obama administration won’t let the children again set fire to the house so they can roast marshmallows over the embers. A few folks who, unlike the Clintons, know something of Balkan history are sponsoring a conference on Capitol Hill on May 27 to urge we let sleeping dragons lie. Let’s hope that for once someone listens.

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 (no e-mail available):

Mr. William S. Lind
Free Congress Foundation
1423 Powhatan Street, # 2
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Direct line: 703 837-0483

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Filed in Uncategorized | 12 responses so far

12 Responses to “On War #304: The Balkans Again”

  1. greendemonon 13 May 2009 at 7:28 am 1

    Being of a cynical disposition, I googled “kosovo oil gas”.

    Two interesting pages that came up in the first 20 or so hits:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8129
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1975713/posts

    These shed a different light on the matter, namely the presence of oil and gas reserves in the area. Why did Mr.Lind not mention this in his article?

    In my opinion, the Serbian government still has good relations and strong ties with Russia, especially Gazprom, which drives up the bargaining stakes for the West. It might just turn out to be more profitable for the western corporate types if they start a war (invasion) via their do-no-wrong proxy (NATO) than to grease palms the usual way.

    For those interested in real world macro-economics and politics, I recommend the book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins – it provides a clear (if overly dramatic) depiction of how the game is played.

  2. senor tomason 13 May 2009 at 10:09 am 2

    “Mrs. Clinton wants to push America’s nose back into this beehive”

    I do not think the Serbs have occasion for serious concern for two reasons. One, the Russians will support the Serbs as long as Vladimir Putin is in control of Russia. Two, the United States of America, with its aversion for serious levels of military casuaties since 1972, would not have the stomach for a ground war with the Serbs. So, if the United States of America does mess with the Serbs again, it will be another cowardly pin-prick air campaign like the one in 1999.

  3. EmeryNelsonon 14 May 2009 at 4:09 pm 3

    Serbia has shown a willingness to deal with the West and not Russia. The west always manages to slap the Serbs in the face, although Western money keeps flowing to politicians. I’m not so sure this will continue much longer since they finally made a gas deal with the Russians on 12 May on the southern pipeline (something the Serbs have tried to avoid for two years) earlier this week. This looks like a good deal for Serbia, which means the Russians are giving them concessions (finally). This deal would mean the shortages that affected the Europe during the Soviet-Ukraine pissing match will not affect Serbia should they have a repeat next winter, which is just about guaranteed. This deal smacks of a political decision, not a business one.

    The other thing is the continual weakening of Western economies. Some seem to think the worst if over, and more power to us if it is. However, if it’s not… We can’t buy off everyone much longer, which has been our main game since the failure of the air campaign. The average Serb does not support much of what’s happening with the present Serbian government, which was bought and paid for by the US.

    When the Towers were attacked on 9-11 I was sure it was Serbs. If things continue to get worse in Serbia and the Western bribes stop don’t count on their forgiveness. Friends coming from Serbia have recently told me that Anti Americanism isn’t overt but they certainly aren’t friendly towards Americans, Brits and Germans. Serbs who fled Bosnia in the mid 1990s and live in California believe the US destroyed Serbia’s economy but not the “spirit”. What that spirit is exactly is beyond my reasoning, but I fear it has nothing to do with Yoga and new age happy talk.

  4. EmeryNelsonon 14 May 2009 at 4:18 pm 4

    Biden will be in the Balkans next week and don’t be too surprised if he 1. Says something incredibly stupid, and 2. and there’s an attempt on this life. To fully understand how the Serbs see things this statement from Rueters India (you see very little about Serb views on anything in Western Media) illustrates exactly what “Demoncracy” (ALL BOW!) means. The “International Peace Envoy” (what would be called a dictator in any other context) wants the Serbs in Bosnia to mind their own business?

    “BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (Reuters) – Bosnia’s international peace envoy dismissed a call from the country’s Serb region on Thursday to relinquish his powers to fire officials and impose or annul laws.

    The parliament of the Serb Republic urged peace envoy Valentin Inzko in a declaration “to renounce immediately the use of alleged authority to impose laws and fire officials as an undemocratic and outdated method of governing Bosnia”.

    Commenting on the parliament’s call, a spokesman for Inzko told Reuters: “Everybody should mind one’s own business…He is determined to fully use his mandate.””

  5. loggie20on 14 May 2009 at 7:17 pm 5

    Bismarck said the ‘Balkans are not worth the bones of one Prussian infantryman.’

    The Tsar and maybe Stalin were jealous of the role of protector of the Eastern Christians from their Roman cousins.

    The English and French stood with the Turks to keep the Tsar out of the Balkans, while the Germans were finding unity.

    Two observations; there is no reason for the US to desire a reprise of Austro Hungarian (Roman Catholic) dominion over the Balkans. Second, what career in jealously opposing Russia’s retrograde to ambitions of the early nineteenth century (if a fact)?

    Do we want the Teutonic Order running another crusade against Eastern Christians?

    As the Wehrmacht learned in 1944 (NATO 1996 to present) the Balkans is no place to occupy.

    Leave the Balkans as well as the rest of Europe and the Middle East to the natural flow of history, much cheaper and the outcomes will be the same.

    But no war US profiteering.

  6. Maxon 16 May 2009 at 8:33 am 6

    Insightfull commentary and analysis so far, as can generally
    and overwhelmingly be trusted on this site.

    However, no one’s brought up the point that , true to the tradition of the last 50 or so years, the US was
    on the “wrong side” of the recent Balkans conflict,
    from the get go.

    http://tinyurl.com/ov9cm6

    “McKenzie commanded the first UN contingent in Bosnia in 1992, and by managing to open up the flow of humanitarian aid to Sarajevo buggered up the Bosnian Muslim leadership’s plan to provoke a NATO intervention on its behalf. That earned him the burning hatred of Izetbegovic’s toadies and their foreign enablers, who smeared McKenzie endlessly as a “Serb-lover” and even accused him of war crimes! So he knows what he’s talking about, first-hand.”

    “Because the National Post offers the full text of the article to subscribers only, here are some excerpts from McKenzie’s piece:”

    “Those of us who warned that the West was being sucked in on the side of an extremist, militant, Kosovo-Albanian independence movement were dismissed as appeasers. The fact that the lead organization spearheading the fight for independence, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was universally designated a terrorist organization and known to be receiving support from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda was conveniently ignored. […]”

    And once again the US commited resourches to a bogus
    and contrived cause, as Loggie made the point.

    Some might say that yes, the US has lost it’s moral compass,
    incrementaly since WW-2.

    “Leave the Balkans as well as the rest of Europe and the Middle East to the natural flow of history, much cheaper and the outcomes will be the same.”

    “But no war US profiteering.”

    M

  7. Grimgrinon 16 May 2009 at 3:02 pm 7

    Not to speculate on Hillary Clinton’s psychology, but she probably remembers a costless (in terms of American political support) victory over the bloodthirsty Serbs in her husbands day. What better way to make a name for herself than by finishing the job that was left undone the last time a Clinton was in a position of power? After all they were beaten so easily last time, what threat could they pose now?

    Whatever the motives, the idea of a second intervention in the Balkans also underlines how insane Washington must truly be as a whole, and how committed to the idea that things will be back to the status quo shortly. Perhaps in their minds the economic meltdown will all be over by Christmas.

  8. senor tomason 17 May 2009 at 10:27 pm 8

    “Some might say that yes, the US has lost it’s moral compass,
    incrementaly since WW-2.”

    I would. After the bombing campaign against the Serbs in 1999 the United States Navy actually awarded medals to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt for their participation in that criminal outrage against the Serb civilian population.

  9. Rob Pon 18 May 2009 at 1:26 pm 9

    Senor Tomas,

    I’m not sure what you mean by “criminal outrage”.

    Did the USS Theodore Roosevelt violate the Fleet Commander’s Orders, did the Fleet CO violate the EUCOM CG’s orders, did the President violate the US Constitution by ordering the attacks, or is there a relevant international law that the US follows that would make this criminal?

    This may sound petty but it goes to the heart of war; what makes it just or criminal aside from opinion. Or to put it another way, what constitutes an “illegal war”?

  10. EmeryNelsonon 18 May 2009 at 2:55 pm 10

    I can’t think of a bigger idiot then Joe Biden to send to the Balkans to deal with the Serbs. He’s never in doubt but always wrong, and this little snippet from Reuters should tell us all why we’re slapping the Serbs in the face… again. I’m certain he’s going there to make the Serbs eat another feces sandwich, and like it. Anyone wanna bet he makes things worse? Why must my country always embarrass me?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE54H1NA20090518?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true
    “Serbs in particularly are watching Biden skeptically because of his past criticism of Serb actions in Kosovo, its ex-province that remains a sore point in relations with the West. Biden, who visits Belgrade on Wednesday, is the highest-ranking U.S. official to Serbia since Vice President George Bush in 1983.

    By contrast, Biden is likely to receive a warm welcome on Thursday in Kosovo, where he is celebrated as a long-time supporter of Kosovo independence during his years as a U.S. senator. Kosovo is strongly pro-American and the capital Pristina has a Bill Clinton Boulevard and will soon rename one of the city’s street after George. W. Bush.

    The vice president also had a family link to Kosovo. His son Joseph III, now Delaware’s attorney general, served as a U.S. Justice Department adviser in Kosovo in 2001.”

  11. Maxon 18 May 2009 at 6:38 pm 11

    Rob P on 18 May 2009 at 1:26 pm 9

    “I’m not sure what you mean by “criminal outrage””

    Start here.
    M

    http://www.un.org/icty/pressreal/nato061300.htm

    I Background and Mandate

    1. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conducted a bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) from 24 March 1999 to 9 June 1999. During and since that period, the Prosecutor has received numerous requests that she investigate allegations that senior political and military figures from NATO countries committed serious violations of international humanitarian law during the campaign, and that she prepares indictments pursuant to Article 18(1) & (4) of the Statute.
    2. Criticism of the NATO bombing campaign has included allegations of varying weight: a) that, as the resort to force was illegal, all NATO actions were illegal, and b) that the NATO forces deliberately attacked civilian infrastructure targets (and that such attacks were unlawful), deliberately or recklessly attacked the civilian population, and deliberately or recklessly caused excessive civilian casualties in disregard of the rule of proportionality by trying to fight a “zero casualty” war for their own side. Allegations concerning the “zero casualty” war involve suggestions that, for example, NATO aircraft operated at heights which enabled them to avoid attack by Yugoslav defences and, consequently, made it impossible for them to properly distinguish between military or civilian objects on the ground. Certain allegations went so far as to accuse NATO of crimes against humanity and genocide.

  12. senor tomason 18 May 2009 at 11:20 pm 12

    “I’m not sure what you mean by “criminal outrage”.”

    I will lift my definition from Mr. Lind’s column:
    “the Clinton administration bombed Serbia for almost three months, for reasons no one quite remembers. Somewhere around 5,000 Serbian civilians were killed, and much of an already poor country’s economic infrastructure was wrecked. As usual, the bombing had virtually no effect on military targets.”

    Thousands of Serb civilian casualities. Little or no effect on Serb military forces. To support the so-called “Kosovo Liberation Army” – who are gangsters at best and terrorists at worst. That is what I mean by “criminal outrage”.

    “did the President violate the US Constitution by ordering the attacks”

    There was a time when the Congress, not the President, had the power to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces. That power started to erode when the United States got involved in the Korean conflict in 1950 without a declaration of war from the Congress. Other aspects of the US Constitution that have eroded are states’ rights and the individuals right to keep and bear arms. Representative Ron Paul provides good insight into the erosion of the US Contitution in his book “The Revolution: A Manifesto”.

    Ultimate responsibility for the fiasco that was the bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999 lies with the then-President of the United States. The rank-and-file crew members of the USS Theodore Roosevelt were blindly following orders – automatons in an anthill. Probably most of them could not have pointed out Serbia on a map – much less explained why they were bombing the place.