Breaking Yugoslavia: How The US Used NATO As Its Battering Ram

kosare-albanians

November 1991 is a month and year that will forever live in infamy when it comes to one of the most grievous crimes committed under the rubric of Western foreign policy, as it was on this month in this year that the break-up and destruction of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) was set in train.

The Arbitration Commission of the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia was a body set up in 1991 by the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Community (EEC) in response to the conflict that had broken out between separatists in Slovenia and Croatia and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) earlier that year. It was tasked with providing the peace conference with legal advice and on 21 November, in the first of its legal opinions on the crisis, it determined that Yugoslavia was “in the process of dissolution.”

Just four simple words, yet taken together they constituted a blatant violation of the Yugoslav constitution. They are words which still today call to mind Rome adjudicating on the destruction of Carthage.

From that moment on Yugoslavia’s fate was sealed, though it would take a protracted and bloody civil war before it was finally consigned to history, ending a multiethnic state founded on the principle of international brotherhood and solidarity that had emerged from the ashes of a central European continent devastated by the 1936-45 war against fascism.

The Western depiction of the break-up of Yugoslavia would have us believe that it was down to the inherent barbarity and cruelty of the Serbs, the largest ethnic group in the former SFRY, in attempting to suppress the legitimate right of the other constituent Yugoslav peoples – Slovenes, Croats, Kosovan Albanians, etc. – to self-determination. In this narrative the Serbs – a people who numbered among the most of any single ethnic group killed by the Nazis and their collaborators in the Second World War – were summarily and disgracefully demonized to an extent unparalleled in the postwar period.

In order to understand the break-up of Yugoslavia it is important to understand something of its history. The six Balkan republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia were brought together after the Second World War in 1945 to form the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, a Croat who led the Partisan resistance to the Nazi occupation of the Balkans and the old monarchist kingdom of Yugoslavia. Their resistance was so effective and determined that the Germans were forced to divert considerable men and resources in order to meet it.

Between 1960 and 1980 Yugoslavia enjoyed a period of sustained economic growth that funded its commitment to social and economic justice. Free health care and education was provided as a right for all its citizens regardless of ethnicity, as was the right to work, a living wage, affordable housing and utilities, while most of its economy came under state ownership.

As a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement of nations that refused to be subsumed into either the Soviet or Western blocs during the Cold War, Yugoslavia enjoyed considerable influence and prestige on the international stage.

Yet despite Tito’s refusal to be subsumed into the Soviet Bloc, Yugoslavia remained safe from capitalist penetration while the Soviet Union existed as a countervailing force to US-led western imperialism. As soon as the Soviet Union collapsed, however, this protective cloak was removed and the die was cast.

Fuelling the economic growth enjoyed by Yugoslavia during the ‘60s and ‘70s was its decision to borrow heavily from the West in order to invest in industry and the production of both export and consumer goods. This rendered the Yugoslav economy vulnerable to the fluctuations of global capitalism. And so it proved, when as a result of the world recession of the 1970s export markets contracted with the result that Yugoslavia’s export production dried up along with its ability to service its debts. In response the IMF demanded a restructuring of the state’s economy in order to prioritize debt repayment. Stuck between the hammer of indebtedness and the anvil of continued borrowing in order to subsidize its commitment to the provision of education, health care, housing and social security for its citizens, by the late 1980s the Yugoslav economy was in free fall.

It was at this point that central banks moved in at the behest of policy-makers in Washington, London and Bonn. Determined to break up the last socialist country in Europe, they threatened to institute an economic blockade unless the Yugoslav government agreed to hold separate elections in each of its six republics. The passing of the US Foreign Operations Appropriations law 101-513 in 1991 contained a section relating specifically to Yugoslavia, stipulating that all loans, aid and credits would be cut off within six months unless elections were held.

The most devastating provision of the law stipulated that only the forces within Yugoslavia deemed democratic by Washington would now receive loans from the US. Various right-wing factions in each of the six republics benefited directly from this provision and became the recipients of US largesse. In a climate of growing economic crisis it was a measure guaranteed to exacerbate ethnic tensions and give succor to centrifugal and separatist forces within SFRY.

Germany recognized the secession of first Slovenia and Croatia in December 1991, whereupon civil war ensued. It lasted for the next eight years until a three-month NATO air war unleashed against the Serbs, who had refused to acquiesce in the break-up of the federal republic, brought it to an end.

As Tariq Ali observed at the time, “American strategists, desperate to retain NATO as their battering-ram in new Europe, maneuvered Europe into a war in order to prove that NATO had a permanent function, that it was the ultimate arbiter and could act alone, presenting the rest of the world with a fait accompli.”

Atrocities were committed by all sides in the conflict, yet it was the Serbs who carried the can. During the trial of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s in The Hague evidence of genocide against his government was never produced. Yet the former Serb leader was only personally exonerated in March of this year in a five-volume ruling of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the prosecution of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić.

NATO’s relevancy and continued purpose was affirmed with its role in the break-up of Yugoslavia, the last socialist state and economy left in the heart of Europe, which for obvious reasons could not be allowed to survive. Its descent into the ugly swamp of ethnic conflict came as a result of economic crisis, creating a political crisis that was exploited by the West in the interests of securing new markets and sources of raw materials in service to western neoliberalism.


About the author:

John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1

Join the debate on our Twitter Timeline!

Source: Counter Punch

usa-nato

RELATED POSTS
America’s Top Scientists Confirm: U.S. Goal Now is to Conquer Russia
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published a study, on 1 March 2017, which opened as follows: “The US nuclear forces modernization program has been portrayed to the public as an effort to ensure the reliability and safety of warheads in the US nuclear arsenal, rather than to enhance their military capabilities. In reality, however, that program has implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal. This increase in capability is astonishing — boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three — and ...
READ MORE
Exporting Fascism: US Imperialism In Latin America
The United States will try to provoke anti-government sentiment and encourage the leaders of the right-wing opposition to lead a coup in Caracas. The US sanctions against Venezuela, signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 18, 2014, resulted from charges of protestors’ rights being violated by the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro. The sanctions allow the Obama administration to deny visas and freeze the assets of Venezuelan officials accused of violating the rights of anti-government groups. These groups, comprised mainly of the right-wing opposition, have been leading violent protests in Caracas since last February. US leaders blame the Venezuelan ...
READ MORE
The Untold History Of U.S. War Crimes
In this exclusive interview, Prof Peter Kuznick speaks of: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagazaki; US crimes and lies behind the Vietnam war, and what was really behind that inhumane invasion; why the US engaged a Cold War with the Soviet Union, and how that war and the mainstream media influences the world today; the interests behind the assassinations of President Kennedy; US imperialism towards Latin America, during the Cold War and today, under the false premise of War on Terror and War on Drugs. Edu Montesanti: Professor Peter Kuznick, thank you so very much for granting me this interview. In ...
READ MORE
The Anti-Russian Warmongering Is As Bad As The Anti-Iraq Warmongering Of 2003
I graduated from the exact same PHD Program at Harvard that produced Kissinger and Brzezinski before me. They gave me Kissinger’s old office at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. I also went through the exact same Soviet/Russian Studies Program at Harvard that produced Brzezinski before me, and passed my PHD Oral/General Examinations in Soviet Politics and Russian History under Adam Ulam and Ned Keenan, respectively. R.I.P. Obama was behind me at Harvard Law School. Brzezinski has been Obama’s mentor and foreign policy guru since Obama’s student days at Columbia. Zbig ran Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign on foreign affairs and defense, and ...
READ MORE
A Government of Morons and War Criminals
It has become embarrassing to be an American. Our country has had four war criminal presidents in succession. Clinton twice launched military attacks on Serbia, ordering NATO to bomb the former Yugoslavia twice, both in 1995 and in 1999, so that gives Bill two war crimes. George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and attacked provinces of Pakistan and Yemen from the air. That comes to four war crimes for Bush. Obama used NATO to destroy Libya and sent mercenaries to destroy Syria, thereby committing two war crimes. Trump attacked Syria with US forces, thereby becoming a war criminal early ...
READ MORE
The CIA: Nazifying Ukraine Since 1953
The recent declassification of over 3800 documents by the Central Intelligence Agency provides detailed proof that since 1953 the CIA operated two major programs intent on not only destabilizing Ukraine but Nazifying it with followers of the World War II Ukrainian Nazi leader Stepan Bandera. The CIA programs spanned some four decades. Starting as a paramilitary operation that provided funding and equipment for such anti-Soviet Ukrainian resistance groups as the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR); its affiliates, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), all Nazi Banderists. The CIA also provided support to a relatively anti-Bandera faction ...
READ MORE
Kiev Junta War Crimes
A new Foundation for the Study of Democracy (FSD) report is titled “War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture of the Donbass region residents.” It provides graphic evidence of horrendous Kiev war crimes Western media ignore. Earlier articles discussed Kiev’s dirty war. It deliberately targeted civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and infrastructure. It used of cluster munitions, white phosphorous and other chemical weapons, as well as cold-blooded murder of hundreds of captives. Most were abducted civilians. They were brutally tortured, murdered and secretly buried. Eyewitnesses exposed the crimes. FSD’s report provides more damning evidence of junta torture, inhumane and degrading treatment. Over 100 former ...
READ MORE
Thanksgiving for a Grateful Empire
“Rooted in a story of generosity and partnership, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the gifts we have and to show our appreciation for all we hold dear….” So begins the official Presidential Proclamation of Thanksgiving Day, 2015, signed and issued by Barack Obama. While it hearkens back to earlier Thanksgivings in St. Augustine in 1565 and Plymouth in 1621, this is an essentially imperial document than gives only vague lip service to giving “thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us.” When his proclamation gets specific, in the third sentence, the President gives the highest place of ...
READ MORE
12 Signs America Is On The Decline
When it comes to a few key indicators, Ireland, the UK, Canada and even Albania and Greece are surpassing America. America is declining, in large and important measures, yet policymakers aren’t paying attention. So argues a new academic paper, pulling together previously published data. Consider this: America’s child poverty levels are worse than in any developed country anywhere, including Greece, devastated by a euro crisis, and eastern European nations such as Poland, Lithuania and Estonia. Median adult wealth in the US ($39,000) is 27th globally, putting it behind Cyprus, Taiwan, and Ireland. Even when “life satisfaction” is measured, America ranks #12, behind ...
READ MORE
USAID or US CIA?
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) was created by Pax Americana to provide a cover for CIA agents under the pretext of helping the 3rd World. US Imperialism has to do some good or its potential targets would not open their doors to intelligence agents posing as do gooders, so USAID was created. Today the USAID is headed by Gayle Smith, formerly the “Special Advisor” to President Barack Obama and Senior Director of the National Security Council. To put it simply, Gayle Smith is one of the top “spooks” in the USA, someone who told the CIA what to do. Today ...
READ MORE
Book By Vladislav B. Sotirovic: “Global Research. Selected articles” (Second Edition), Vilnius, 2016
Book by Vladislav B. Sotirovic: Global Research. Selected articles (second edition), Vilnius: UAB “Mylida”, 2016 ISBN 978-609-408-840-7, UDK 911.3:32 So-121 The book reviews by: Dr. João Carlos Graça, Lisbon School of Economics & Management, Lisbon University, Lisbon, Portugal Prof. Dr. Krisztina Arató, Vice-director of the Institute of Political Sciences at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary Dr. Christian Rossi, Department of Social Sciences and Institutions, Cagliari University, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy Join the debate on our Twitter Timeline!
READ MORE
Warning! Neocons Are Close To Starting a Nuclear War With Russia
We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China. Many respected, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have been issuing warnings of a looming a Third World War. But their voices have been all but lost among the din of a mass media that is full of deceptive and inaccurate stories that characterize the Russian economy ...
READ MORE
Human Rights Violations: North Korea Versus The U.S.
UN Third Committee Resolution L.23 IN, Legitimizes Stranglehold Economic Sanctions., Used as a Means to "Obliterate" North Korea On November 15, 2016 the United Nations Third Committee adopted the resolution:  “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Among the co-sponsors of the Resolution were United States, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, etc.  Disassociating themselves from the resolution, which they denounced as invalid, were China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, and three other countries opposed to the biased character and double standards that typify “country-specific” resolutions.  The so-sponsors of this resolution are themselves guilty of  criminal human rights ...
READ MORE
Video: The Dirty War on Syria – Prof. Tim Anderson on GRTV
Government propaganda and NGO misinformation have coloured the story of the war on Syria from its inception. Stepping in to set the record straight, Dr. Tim Anderson explores the real beginnings of the conflict, the players behind it, and their agenda in his new book, “The Dirty War on Syria: Washington, Regime Change and Resistance.” The Dirty War on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. In seeking ‘regime change’ the big powers sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies of ‘Islamists’, demonising the Syrian Government and constantly accusing it of atrocities. In ...
READ MORE
US Had A ‘Pretty Supportive Attitude’ Toward Fascism In 1930s
The State Department described Hitler as a moderate who was holding off the forces, the dangerous forces of the left … and of the right, namely the extremist Nazis,’ explained the noted scholar. By MintPress News Desk | October 7, 2016 Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator, speaks at the dedication ceremonies of Sabandia, central Italy, on Sept. 24, 1934. MUNICH — While the typical narrative of American history positions the United States as a supporter of democracy and opponent of fascism which helped to defeat the Nazis, key figures in Washington also supported dangerous dictators in Italy and Germany ...
READ MORE
Embracing the US-NATO War Criminals Who Destroyed Our Country
Seventeen years have passed and many people have already forgotten that the U. S. and a number of other NATO countries collectively waged one of the most destructive wars on the European continent since the end of World War II–the modern aerial bombing campaign against the Serbian people. In the tradition of the New World Order, this “intervention” wasn’t called “war.” It was argued by various Western politicians and the corporate media that the bombing campaign was directed against the late Serbian President Milošević and his “propaganda machine.”[i] In fact, the NATO bombs loaded with depleted uranium[ii] were falling on ...
READ MORE
What Hillary Clinton Has in Common With Communist China
What do Hillary Clinton and the communist government of China have in common? Aside from their shared support for subverting freedom, lack of respect for human rights, and support of invasive surveillance, they both possess armies of trolls who manipulate online narratives. According to a new report from researchers at Harvard’s Department of Government, the Chinese government employs millions of people to make posts praising government on their behalf. The internet mercenaries are deemed, collectively, “The 50 Cent Party,” because of rumors they are paid per post (the report concluded they do not appeared to be paid and most are government employees ...
READ MORE
Hillary Comes Out as the War Party Candidate
On June 2, a few days before the California primary, Hillary Clinton gave up trying to compete with Bernie Sanders on domestic policy. Instead, she zeroed in on the soft target of Donald Trump’s most “bizarre rants” in order to present herself as experienced and reasonable. Evidently taking her Democratic Party nomination for granted, she is positioning herself as the perfect candidate for hawkish Republicans. Choosing to speak in San Diego, home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, on a platform draped with 19 American flags and preceded by half an hour of military marching music, Hillary Clinton was certain of ...
READ MORE
The Lie Of The 21st Century: How Mainstream Media “Fake News” Led To The U.S. Invasion Of Iraq
The mainstream media (MSM) has declared war on alternative media websites labeling them “Fake News” ever since Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump. The New York Times editorial board expressed their frustration in an article calling for the censorship of alternative and social media‘Facebook and the Digital Virus Called Fake News’ which claimed both social media platforms (Facebook and Google) has not been aggressive enough in blocking fake news sites: Most of the fake news stories are produced by scammers looking to make a quick buck. The vast majority of them take far-right positions. But a big part of the responsibility for this scourge ...
READ MORE
The Ustasha And The Rising Tide Of Neo-Nazi Politics In Croatia
Over the past several years, analysts and commentators have noticed a rising tide of domestic support for the Croatian homegrown Nazi movement of the Second World War, the Ustashe, which actively exterminated Serbs, Jews, and Roma in the territory it controlled from 1941-45. Far from condemning this alarming development, the Croatian government, the European Union, and non-state actors within it have tacitly and actively supported the rising tide of sympathy towards the Ustashe. This disconnect between the ostensible “European values” of human rights and tolerance that the European Union claims to represent, and its tacit support of trends towards extremist politics ...
READ MORE
America’s Top Scientists Confirm: U.S. Goal Now is to Conquer Russia
Exporting Fascism: US Imperialism In Latin America
The Untold History Of U.S. War Crimes
The Anti-Russian Warmongering Is As Bad As The Anti-Iraq Warmongering Of 2003
A Government of Morons and War Criminals
The CIA: Nazifying Ukraine Since 1953
Kiev Junta War Crimes
Thanksgiving for a Grateful Empire
12 Signs America Is On The Decline
USAID or US CIA?
Book By Vladislav B. Sotirovic: “Global Research. Selected articles” (Second Edition), Vilnius, 2016
Warning! Neocons Are Close To Starting a Nuclear War With Russia
Human Rights Violations: North Korea Versus The U.S.
Video: The Dirty War on Syria – Prof. Tim Anderson on GRTV
US Had A ‘Pretty Supportive Attitude’ Toward Fascism In 1930s
Embracing the US-NATO War Criminals Who Destroyed Our Country
What Hillary Clinton Has in Common With Communist China
Hillary Comes Out as the War Party Candidate
The Lie Of The 21st Century: How Mainstream Media “Fake News” Led To The U.S. Invasion Of Iraq
The Ustasha And The Rising Tide Of Neo-Nazi Politics In Croatia

Subscribe, Share & Follow