Berlin’s Newest Drang nach Osten Started in the 1990s With the Serbs

Share

Hits: 200

As recounted in the unjustly neglected German television report “It Began with a Lie,” in April 1999, in the midst of NATO’s illegal bombing campaign against what had remained of Yugoslavia, then German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping repeatedly accused the Serbian side of installing a Nazi-style “concentration camp” in the soccer stadium in Pristina, the capital of Serbia’s Kosovo and Metohija province. Pressed by the media for proof, Scharping offered “witness testimony” – which he never subsequently produced.

A month earlier, just as the bombing had started, Scharping stated that “we never would have taken military action if there weren’t this humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo, with 250,000 refugees within Kosovo and far more than 400,000 refugees in total, and with a death toll we are not even able to count yet.”

Yet, key sources contradicted him. The OSCE reported “39 deaths in all of Kosovo—before the NATO bombers came.” Heinz Loquai, a German general attached to the OSCE, stated that “the kind of humanitarian catastrophe that, as a category of international law, would have justified going to war did not exist in Kosovo prior to the war.” And Norma Brown, a U.S. diplomat with the OSCE, confirmed: “There was no humanitarian crisis up to the beginning of the NATO bombing raids.” As the film categorically states, “Not a single report on violence in Kosovo by the OSCE was found to at least indicate an impending humanitarian catastrophe.”

Nevertheless, facts be damned, together with German Prime Minister Schroeder, Scharping and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer got what they wanted – not just the bombing and the further atomization of the former Yugoslav space, but the first post-WW II engagement of German forces in an offensive military mission. It lasted 78 days and entailed the dropping of 22,000 tons of missiles, including forbidden cluster bombs and depleted uranium ammunition, and active cooperation with a terrorist organization, the Albanian KLA, resulting in thousands of civilian and military dead and wounded, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the destruction of tens of billions of dollars in property and infrastructure.

A little over 20 years later, shortly before the beginning of another evidence-free propaganda push, this time directed at Russia, involving the alleged poisoning of Alexey Navalny, the present German Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, opened her cards. Speaking to the Die Zeit weekly in July, Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that it was “high time” to discuss “how Germany must position itself in the world in the future,” adding that Germany is “expected to show leadership, not only as an economic power”, but also in terms of “collective defence… international missions… a strategic view of the world,” and “the question of whether we want to actively shape the global order.”

In another July conversation, this time with the Atlantic Council, Kramp-Karrenbauer also made sure to identify the main adversary: “We see an aggressive, assertive policy coming from the Russian leadership,” she said, referring to Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014. “Russia has no respect for the right of self-determination of other countries. It was the first time since the Second World War that borders have been changed with force.”

Except, as referenced above, it wasn’t. For, despite the still-existing UN SC Resolution 1244, which affirms the territorial integrity of FR Yugoslavia’s successor, Serbia, pending a final political settlement, Germany stands proudly among the states that have recognized the unilateral secession of Serbia’s historic southern province. This despite the fact that this particular change of borders had come about as a result of precisely the forceful methods that the German Defense Minister is now supposedly decrying, even as her own country used them and geopolitically benefitted from them.

Having all this in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that, in the recent words of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, “the brain trusts and political analysts with close ties to the German government have openly started working on a new Eastern policy,” which includes abrogation of the strategic partnership with Russia, which is now to be treated as an “adversary” of the EU and NATO. Obviously, the decision-makers in Berlin have concluded that the time is ripe to take the next step.

To even debate whether the Navalny affair was an understandable trigger for Germany’s seeming strategic about-face or just a convenient pretext is to engage in useless feigning of naivete. For if whatever happened to Navalny was honestly seen by the German government as something that might endanger an important strategic relationship, surely the German authorities would have done everything possible to get to the bottom of it in a maximally transparent way, shared the evidence and let the chips fall where they may. Which, of course, is the one thing they have not done nor, as it stands, plan to do, despite numerous Russian appeals.

Thus, in assessing Germany’s new Drang nach Osten, it is important to note that the German political elite’s aggressive behavior did not start yesterday and has little to do with Navalny. It was methodically developed in the 1990s, during the violent break-up of Yugoslavia and polished in the demonization campaign of the closest Yugoslav Russian ally, Serbia. And, while the lies and exaggerations of German politicians were egregious and deadly as regards the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, it is important to remind that the negative German role in the entire Yugoslav crisis could be traced backed even further, to the very beginnings of the Yugoslav tragedy.

As the New York Times reported in January 1992, it was Germany that pushed the major European states to recognize the unilaterally declared independence of the breakaway republics Slovenia and Croatia. The Serbian Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic described Germany’s role as “particularly negative,” adding that it was “very serious precedent to encourage unilateral secession in one multinational state.” Even then, a commentary in Bonn’s main newspaper, the General-Anzeiger, cautioned that “the fear of German dominance and unilateralism has grown.” Carl Cavanagh Hodge called it “one of the most precipitous acts in post-Cold War Europe” by which “the Bonn government in effect renounced the legitimacy of the existing Yugoslav state and pressured other European governments to do the same.” In her book “Balkan Tragedy,” Susan Woodward criticized the “German maneuver” that pressured other EC members to recognize Slovenia and Croatia, and concluded: “The precedent set by the German maneuver was that the principle of self-determination could legitimately break up multinational states, that EC application of this principle was arbitrary, and that the surest way for politicians bent on independence to succeed was to instigate a defensive war and win international sympathy and recognition.”

It would be rather naive to think that the German political establishment was unaware of the effects of its actions. Nevertheless, the Goebbelsian barrage against the Serbs would only increase in intensity, with Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel openly demanding that “Serbia must be brought to its knees,” in the aftermath of the infamous Sarajevo “breadline massacre” in late May 1992, for which he, along with most other Western diplomats and media, immediately accused Bosnian Serb forces, sans evidence, naturally. In fact, there were serious indications, expressed in confidential UN reports, that the Bosnian Muslims had “slaughtered their own people” in order to pin the blame on the Serbs and force the Cold War victors’ interventionist hand. Conveniently, the attack came shortly before a meeting of European Community ambassadors to consider imposing sanctions on Serbia.

Surely Kinkel must have been aware of such reports and doubts. But he nevertheless plowed on. And the German media for the most part followed. It seemed even then that the newly reunified Germany’s political class was almost desperate to find “Nazis” abroad to kick around. Especially if the label could be pinned on one of the peoples that suffered the most casualties at the hands of Hitler’s armies. The more cynically minded might have seen it as a useful exercise to liberate the national psyche from the decades-long burden of collective guilt. But, in retrospect, it seems to have been more deliberate than that, which is not something that was not suspected in Serbian circles at the time.

If the goal of reunified Germany’s elites from the start was to regain great power status – under cover of the EU if at all possible – then it was necessary to not only grow in strength economically and militarily, but also in terms of soft power. And the latter entails, among other things, some real or manufactured moral high ground. For the ambitions of reunified Germany’s governing elites, that obviously meant not only dissociation from the Nazi horrors – which post-war Germany had admirably done up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, to be sure – but the ability to project a similar type of guilt onto its former – and, it seems, future adversaries and past victims. First Serbia, and now, increasingly, Russia.

It has taken Germany almost three decades to feel that it has gained sufficiently high “moral ground” from which it could feel confident enough to launch its brazen, evidence-free campaign of accusing Russia of responsibility for whatever really happened to Alexey Navalny. Along the way, let us not forget, Germany not only openly supported the Euromaidan coup but joined the Western chorus of anti-Russian condemnation and sanctions-mongering in connection with Ukraine as well as with another highly suspect “the Russians did it” poisoning ploy, involving Sergey Skripal and his daughter – who seem to have been conveniently “disappeared” after the affair had served its propaganda purpose.

It is one thing for a country the size and wealth of Germany to seek its rightful place in the world. It’s quite another, however, to do it in such an aggressive and dishonest way, for that inevitably raises questions regarding the motives in play. If a country responsible for two world wars over the past century launches a deliberate campaign of falsehoods directed at its past victims, it is fair to conclude that it may be on the move again, or soon will be. Using other means, but with similar goals.


Originally published on 2020-10-30

Author: Aleksandar Pavic

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.

 
READ MORE!
Lavrov Exposes Neocolonialism in Western Poster Child Bosnia-Herzegovina
In light of Sergey Lavrov’s recent statements reflecting Russia’s disappointment with the West and the country’s intention to “stop judging ourselves on the basis of marks given by the collective West or individual Western countries”, it might have been expected that the Russian foreign minister’s mid-December Balkan mini tour would be a good chance to see how this new Russian awakening was going to be reflected in practice. Especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H), perhaps the most famous hamlet in the Potemkin village built by Western “humanitarian interventionism” during the, thankfully, relatively brief unipolar moment lasting approximately two decades after ...
READ MORE
UN Response to US Attack on Syria: Noble Words, Empty Deeds
The refusal of the United Nations to qualify the recent US airstrike against Syria as an act of aggression makes the Organization irrelevant – something Russia has been trying to prevent. It has become vulnerable to scathing criticism after demonstrating its impotence and inability to act. The continued paralysis is an eloquent example of the UN’s disengagement and lack of political will to fulfill its duty. The Organization’s image has suffered great damage. It still has a chance to rectify it by launching an investigation into what really happened in Syria. Article One of the UN Charter states that one of the purposes is ...
READ MORE
The Truth behind Israeli Propaganda on the ‘Expulsion’ of Arab Jews
Israeli propaganda about the “expulsion” of Arab Jews from Arab countries in the late 1940s and early 1950s continues without respite. Earlier this month, Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he “intends to submit a draft resolution requiring the international body to hold an annual commemoration for the hundreds of thousands of Jews exiled from Arab countries due to the creation of the State of Israel”, according to a report in Ynet.Israel’s fabrications about the immigration of Arab Jews to Israel are so outrageous that the country holds a commemoration on 30 November each year. ...
READ MORE
The History of the CIA
When I began reading the work of Douglas Valentine about six years ago, I had not read his books, only the articles that the US online journal Counterpunch had published. In fact I only began reading Counterpunch because of the accident of having been introduced to the two original editors of what was then only a printed newsletter. Later I was even able to publish a few pieces in that journal before its more famous founding editor’s demise. Why do I preface a book review with such personal observations? To that question I will return later. After reading numerous articles I ...
READ MORE
The Arctic Ocean is a Russian Lake
In 2007 a Russian submersible planted a flag on the sea floor at the North Pole. This sparked a flurry of pearl-clutching in the West and idiotic concerns for Santa Claus’ safety (but keep calm, Canada will defend him!) drowning out the rational comment of Christopher Westdal, a former Canadian Ambassador to Russia:In the Arctic, for a start, Mr. Putin is playing by the same Law of the Sea rules we endorse. The truth is that if we could have, we would have, long ago done much the same thing the Russians have just done. We were not amused, but ...
READ MORE
Never to Forget: 1999 – NATO’s War on Yugoslavia
On the occasion of 20th anniversary of the aggression of NATO Alliance against Serbia (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the FRY), on 22nd and 23rd March 2019 Belgrade was the venue of the International Conference under slogan NEVER TO FORGET, and title “Peace and Progress instead of Wars and Poverty”. The organisers of the Conference are the Belgrade Forum for the World of Equals, the Federation of Associations of Veterans of the National Liberation War of Serbia, the Serbian Generals and Admirals Club, the Society of the Serbian Hosts, in cooperation with the World Peace Council. Besides the participants from Serbia, the Conference ...
READ MORE
Fall 1941: Pearl Harbor and The Wars of Corporate America
On December 7,  1941. Japan’s Attack on Pearl HarborMyth: The US was forced to declare war on Japan after a totally unexpected Japanese attack on the American naval base in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. On account of Japan’s alliance with Nazi Germany, this aggression automatically brought the US into the war against Germany. Reality: The Roosevelt administration had been eager for some time to wage war against Japan and sought to unleash such a war by means of the institution of an oil embargo and other provocations. Having deciphered Japanese codes, Washington knew a Japanese fleet was on its ...
READ MORE
Western Silence as 20,000 Neo-Nazis March in Ukraine
In one of the largest, if not the largest, Neo-Nazi demonstration in Europe since WW2, 20,000 facists marched through the streets of Ukraine’s capital Kiev last weekend under the silent gaze of the western media. Other than Russian state media RT and Sputnik News facists throwing Nazi salutes and parading in their tens of thousands in a European capital didn’t concern any of the major western news outlet. Nothing on BBC, France24, CNN, New York Times, The Guardian…the silence of the media lambs when it comes to a growing facists movement in Ukraine is deafening. The Ukrainian Nazis were honoring their ...
READ MORE
The Croatian National Revival Movement (1830–1847) and the Serbs (III)
Part IPart II The policy of language and political parties until the prohibition of the Illyrian name (1843)During the years of 1832–1836 the Hungarian assembly (Dieta) hold several sessions in Pozsony (Bratislava/Pressburg), where Croatia-Slavonia’s deputies, particularly count J. Drašković, fought for the introduction of the national (Croat) language in Croatia-Slavonia instead of the Latin or Hungarian, as well as for the Croatian state-historical rights (the so-called Croatian pravice) as they were claimed as such by the Croat political leadership. At the same time, in 1834 Ljudevit Gaj obtained a permission from the Habsburg Emperor Francis I (1806–1835) to publish the first ...
READ MORE
EXCLUSIVE: Unreleased Documents from Osama Bin Laden’s Archive!
The personal diary of Osama Bin Laden has been released by the CIA, along with the list of bizarre things on his personal computer found in his compound in 2011.However, not all documents found on that occasion are released by the CIA.Here you will find some of those unreleased documents from Osama Bin Laden's archives followed by his personal remarks: My favorite US DemocratKosovo Albanians are my favorite jihad soldiers in the ISIS in Syria and IraqMy favorite film-maker company: 20 Century FoxWhy Americans hate me and my Al-Qaeda?A global map of Al-Qaeda's terror interventions - top secret! Zbig and ...
READ MORE
100th Anniversary of Australian Beersheba Charge, UK Balfour Declaration & Palestinian Genocide Commencement
There are 3 Apartheid Israel-related centenaries this week, namely (1) the victorious 31 October 1917 charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba that led to conquest of Palestine by Britain and massive famine, (2) the nefarious and racist UK Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917  that gave Palestine to Zionists as a Jewish Homeland as an inducement to help keep Russia in WW1, and (3) commencement of the Palestine Genocide (2 million Palestinian deaths from violence, 0.1 million, or imposed deprivation, 1.9 million, since WW1). History ignored yields history repeated and genocide ignored yields genocide repeated [1]. Anniversaries are useful ...
READ MORE
Africa, Russia, United States Imperialism and the Bankruptcy of the International Criminal Court
As defections continue from the Rome Statute the Netherlands-based group says Washington may have engaged in torture A recent article published in the New York Times appears to suggest that the United States will be investigated by the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for committing torture against captives in Afghanistan. Surprisingly enough the ICC has almost exclusively focused its attention on alleged war crimes and acts of genocide taking place in Africa. Many of the cases have in effect served the interests of U.S. imperialism where governments which are targets for destabilization and regime-change are indicted by the prosecutorial institution in order ...
READ MORE
“Mafia State”: Kosovo’s PM Accused of Running Human Organ, Drug Trafficking Cartel
In another grim milestone for the United States and NATO, the Council of Europe (COE) released an explosive report last week, “Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo.”The report charged that former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) boss and current Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi, “is the head of a ‘mafia-like’ Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe,” The Guardian disclosed.According to a draft resolution unanimously approved December 16 in Paris, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights found compelling evidence of forced disappearances, organ trafficking, corruption and collusion between ...
READ MORE
Kosovo – Mafia – Fascism – Jihad
Hiding Genocide in Kosovo: A Crime against God and Humanity is not a typical book of the current events or international affairs genre. Nor is it a journalistic exposé. It is simply a book of stories, true stories of what has taken place in Kosovo since the end of the 1999 war: shooting, beheading, burning, bomb attack, maiming, rape, abduction, torture, desecration, theft, mutilation, and harassment. While Western policymakers (the U.S., EU, UN, NATO, OSCE, etc.) delude themselves that they are buying the goodwill of the Muslim world by the sacrifice of a small Christian community in Kosovo, the perpetrators ...
READ MORE
Russia-Gate Spreads to Europe
Ever since the U.S. government dangled $160 million last December to combat Russian propaganda and disinformation, obscure academics and eager think tanks have been lining up for a shot at the loot, an unseemly rush to profit that is spreading the Russia-gate hysteria beyond the United States to Europe.Now, it seems that every development, which is unwelcomed by the Establishment – from Brexit to the Catalonia independence referendum – gets blamed on Russia! Russia! Russia! The methodology of these “studies” is to find some Twitter accounts or Facebook pages somehow “linked” to Russia (although it’s never exactly clear how that ...
READ MORE
Install “Madam President”
“Reform always provokes rage on the part of those who profit by the old order.”  Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.,  The Crisis of the Old Order Who are the anti-Trump protesters besmirching the name of progressives by pretending to be progresives and by refusing to accept the outcome of the presidential election?  They look like, and are acting worse than, the “white trash” that they are denouncing. I think I know who they are. They are thugs for hire and are paid by the Oligarchy to delegitimize Trump’s presidency in the way that Washington and the German Marshall Fund paid students in Kiev to ...
READ MORE
NATO's destruction of Belgrade in 1999
Amply documented, the bombings of Yugoslavia are not strictly aimed at military and strategic targets as claimed by NATO. They are largely intent on destroying the country’s civilian infrastructure as well as its institutions.According to Yugoslav sources, NATO has engaged around 600 aeroplanes of which more than 400 are combat planes. They have flown almost 3,000 attack sorties, “with 200 in one night alone against 150 designated targets”. They have dropped thousands of tons of explosives and have launched some 450 cruise missiles.The intensity of the bombing using the most advanced military technology is unprecedented in modern history. It far ...
READ MORE
The Balkan Vlachs (1)
“To talk of the pure origins…of any ethnic populating the Balkan Peninsula is neither justified nor serious nor scientific” (E. Ivanova, “’The Ethnic’ Conflict”, Iztok-Iztok, № 2, 1991, p. 64) Introduction This text has set itself the tasks to present historical development and current economic, cultural and political position in the Balkan societies of one specific ethnolinguistic group of the Orthodox religion - the Vlachs[1], who speaks some form of Romanian language and is called by their neighbors by different names Koutsovlahs,[2] Aromanians, Armanians,[3] Grammostens,[4] Karakachans, Cincars,[5] Arnauts, Uruks, Macedo-Romanians, Chobans,[6] etc. This pastoral ethnolinguistic group is a good example of successful peaceful ...
READ MORE
The Mladic NATO-Style Trial at the ICTY: A Stain on Civilization
“All that is a lie. This is a NATO-style trial.”The defiant words of General Mladic to the judges of the NATO controlled ad hoc war crimes tribunal for Yugoslavia rang out loud and clear the day they pretended to convict him. He could have added ‘but history will absolve me” and a lot more but he was thrown out of the room by the chief judge, Orie, in his condescending style, as if he was dealing to a truant schoolboy, instead of a man falsely accused of crimes he did not commit.The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, echoed the ...
READ MORE
A Special Relationship Born in Hell: The US Should Cut all Ties with War Criminal Israel
If you want to understand what the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States really means consider the fact that Israeli Army snipers shot dead seventeen unarmed and largely peaceful Gazan demonstrators on Good Friday without a squeak coming out of the White House or State Department. Some of the protesters were shot in the back while running away, while another 1,000 Palestinians were wounded, an estimated 750 by gunfire, the remainder injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.The offense committed by the Gazan protesters that has earned them a death sentence was coming too close to the Israeli containment fence ...
READ MORE
Lavrov Exposes Neocolonialism in Western Poster Child Bosnia-Herzegovina
UN Response to US Attack on Syria: Noble Words, Empty Deeds
The Truth behind Israeli Propaganda on the ‘Expulsion’ of Arab Jews
The History of the CIA
The Arctic Ocean is a Russian Lake
Never to Forget: 1999 – NATO’s War on Yugoslavia
Fall 1941: Pearl Harbor and The Wars of Corporate America
Western Silence as 20,000 Neo-Nazis March in Ukraine
The Croatian National Revival Movement (1830–1847) and the Serbs (III)
EXCLUSIVE: Unreleased Documents from Osama Bin Laden’s Archive!
100th Anniversary of Australian Beersheba Charge, UK Balfour Declaration & Palestinian Genocide Commencement
Africa, Russia, United States Imperialism and the Bankruptcy of the International Criminal Court
“Mafia State”: Kosovo’s PM Accused of Running Human Organ, Drug Trafficking Cartel
Kosovo – Mafia – Fascism – Jihad
Russia-Gate Spreads to Europe
Install “Madam President”
NATO War Crimes: NATO’s “Humanitarian” Bombings, the Balance Sheet of Destruction in Yugoslavia (1999)
The Balkan Vlachs (1)
The Mladic NATO-Style Trial at the ICTY: A Stain on Civilization
A Special Relationship Born in Hell: The US Should Cut all Ties with War Criminal Israel
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share