Breaking Yugoslavia: How the US Used NATO as its Battering Ram

Hits: 998

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 thekosare-albanians 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

Source: Counter Punch

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.

Save 

READ MORE!
What is the Concert of Powers in International Relations?
After the first decade after the Cold War, it became obvious that an idea of global governance is going to be impossible primarily due to an aggressive US foreign policy as Washington intended to become the world hegemon and global policeman. A turning point in the post-Cold War IR became the Kosovo War of 1998−1999, which resulted in the NATO’s occupation of the south-western region of Serbia based on an idea of „Just War“,[1] but in practice for the creation of the mafia state of the Kosovar Muslim Albanians.[2] As a direct consequence of the NATO’s aggression on Serbia and ...
READ MORE
Accusing Russia: Listening to History
The prophet Cassandra’s curse was that when she told the future, no one listened; history’s curse is that when it tells the past, no one does.The West has no shortage of charges it hurls against Russia, but most of them can be grouped into one of three categories: that Russia intervened in the American elections, that Russia is dragging the world into a new cold war, and that Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive and expansionist. Sometimes when charges are brought against you, the best witness you can call to your defense is history.Election InterventionThis history of Russia, America and political ...
READ MORE
“Fake Scholarship” and the Future of America’s University
Harvard University has established a modern version of the Catholic Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a list of prohibited online publications which are tagged as “fake” and “false”, broadly following the politically tainted “List” of censored independent and alternative media. As we recall the Catholic Church’s Index was a list of books “deemed heretical, anti-clerical or lascivious”.1  Ex Cathedra, Harvard has decided in one fell swoop that virtually the entire US based “Alternative Media” pertaining to tens of thousands of authors would be categorized not only as fake news, but fake science, knowledge and analysis. The Harvard Index however goes far beyond the Catholic Church’s Index which selectively banned books ...
READ MORE
Did the Cold War Ever Really End?
The official end of the Cold War era in 1989 brought during the first coming years a kind of international optimism that the idea of the „end of history“ really could be realized as it was a belief in no reason for the geopolitical struggles between the most powerful states. The New World Order, spoken out firstly by M. Gorbachev in his address to the UN on December 7th, 1988 was originally seen as the order of equal partnership in the world politics reflecting „radically different international circumstances after the Cold War“.[1] Unfortunately, the Cold War era finished without the „end ...
READ MORE
The U.S. Friendly Dictators
Many of the world’s most repressive dictators have been friends of America. Tyrants, torturers, killers, and sundry dictators and corrupt puppet-presidents have been aided, supported, and rewarded handsomely for their loyalty to US interests. Traditional dictators seize control through force, while constitutional dictators hold office through voting fraud or severely restricted elections, and are frequently puppets and apologists for the military juntas which control the ballot boxes. In any case, none have been democratically elected by the majority of their people in fair and open elections.They are democratic America’s undemocratic allies. They may rise to power through bloody ClA-backed coups ...
READ MORE
Trump’s National Security Strategy: The Return of “Great Power” Military Conflict
The new US National Security Strategy released this week and the speech delivered by President Donald Trump Monday to introduce it constitute a grim warning to humanity that US imperialism is firmly embarked on a road that leads to a nuclear third world war. While the document has largely been passed over in silence by the president’s ostensible political opponents in the Democratic Party and given relatively short shrift by the establishment media, more thoughtful ideologists of imperialism have noted the far-reaching changes presented in the document. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the historian Arthur L. Herman declared Trump’s National Security Strategy ...
READ MORE
Voting Discrimination in America
The Supreme Court’s acceptance of a case about the allocation of voting districts will have consequences far beyond the millions of U.S. taxpayers its ruling may deprive of representation. A decision that only counts voters, rather than all persons, will undermine the very foundation of the Republic. The American Revolution was fought over “taxation without representation,” and those who wrote the Constitution carefully apportioned taxation and representation among the states “according to their respective Numbers . . . of free Persons . . . and . . . three-fifths of all other Persons.” The authors clearly equated We, the People with ...
READ MORE
The Operation Barbarossa II File: But Who will Prosecute?
As some of you may remember I am compiling a criminal dossier on the western powers concerning, among other things, their preparations for Operation Barbarossa II, the term that I use for NATO’s build-up of forces in Eastern Europe threatening the security of Russia.In June, the BALTOPS 2017 NATO naval and air exercises were conducted in the Baltic Sea near Kaliningrad and the approaches to St. Petersburg simultaneously with the Saber Strike military ground exercises in Latvia and Lithuania.On July 11th NATO’s Sea Breeze naval exercises began in the Black Sea, threatening Russia’s southern flank. The NATO exercises are conducted ...
READ MORE
The Post-WWII Albania and Kosovo
Stalinist “Land of Eagles” As in neighboring Yugoslavia, the communist revolutionary guerrilla forces, established by the aid and crucially supported by the Yugoslav communists led by local Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha, took over the power in Albania in 1944.[1] From 1945 to 1948 Albania was under the strong influence of Titoist Yugoslavia and both counties being under the hand of J. V. Stalin. Yugoslavia lavishly supplied Albania with deficient material, mainly nutritious ones, like wheat, etc. As testified by the Montenegrin zealot communist and revolutionist Milovan Đilas, one of the leading Yugoslav politicians at the time, and a member ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Wants to Establish its Own Armed Forces
RT: Kosovo wants to establish an army and has received several Humvee armoured vehicles from the USA. Although there was official NATO restraint, how much is the establishment of a Kosovo Army a fixed development?Marcus Papadopoulos: Kosovo is, effectively, a NATO protectorate today – and has been ever since Belgrade lost control of this Serbian province in 1999. It follows, therefore, that the illegal entity which is the Republic of Kosovo will begin the process of creating its own armed forces so that, in time, Kosovo will gain entry into NATO.RT: The EU has rejected the introduction of Kosovo sanctions ...
READ MORE
Democratic Front of Montenegro will Continue to Fight Against NATO Membership
The opposition in Montenegro unanimously decided to boycott the local elections in Niksic, scheduled for March 12. This decision was made in protest against the political trial against the deputies from the Democratic Front (DF) Andrija Mandic and Milan Knežević. DF, Democratic Montenegro, Demos, civil movement URA, the Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party refused to participate in the elections after the Mandic and Knežević were deprived of parliamentary immunity. Andrija Mandic said that the prosecution was launched in order to weaken the Democratic Front. He added that he wants to raise the question about the legitimacy of the removal ...
READ MORE
Nixon and the Cambodian Genocide
The genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge began forty years ago this month. Their rise to power was inseparable from US intervention.On April 17, 1975, Khmer Rouge (KR) forces stormed Phnom Penh and reestablished Cambodia as Democratic Kampuchea — a supposedly self-sufficient, entirely agrarian society. Resetting the clock to “Year Zero,” the KR forced urban dwellers to the countryside, and began to “purify” Cambodia through a genocidal purge of intellectuals and minority groups. By the time the slaughter came to an end in 1979 — after Vietnam invaded Cambodia and removed the KR from power — some 1.7 million people (21 percent ...
READ MORE
Anne Frank of Kosovo Propaganda Hoax
One of the biggest and most outlandish US infowar and propaganda whoppers of the 1999 Kosovo conflict was the infamous NPR story of the ethnic Albanian Anne Frank. This seems like a mindless, unethical, immoral, and vicious, racist propaganda hoax today, using propaganda to destroy an entire people, Serbian Orthodox Christians. The Anne Frank infowar campaign was manufactured to support an illegal land grab in Kosovo, in support of a Muslim Albanian separatist and secessionist terrorist war against Serbian Christians. But at the time it was very popular and helped sell the US bombing of Yugoslavia in support of Albanian ...
READ MORE
Jürgen Elsässer: “The CIA Recruited and Trained the Jihadists”
In his latest book, “How the Jihad Came to Europe”, German journalist Jürgen Elsässer unravels the Jihadist thread. Muslim fighters recruited by the CIA to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan were used successively in Yugoslavia and Chechnya, still supported by the CIA, but perhaps sometimes out of its control. Basing himself on diverse sources, mainly Yugoslavian, Dutch, and German, he reconstructed the development of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants at the side of NATO in Bosnia-Herzegovinia. Silvia Cattori:Your investigation into the actions of the secret services makes a frightening report. We discover that since the 80’s the United States ...
READ MORE
Albanian Highlanders and Kosovo
South-East Serbia's province of Kosovo-Metochia (KosMet) is an autochthonous Slavic, in particular Serb, land. Now, the focal question became how this province became “disputed land”, and, in particular, what it has to do with ethnic-Albanians? In the following text, this issue is going to be considered in more details, from the geographical, (pre)historic, anthropologic, religious, and political points of view. We start with the geography, in particular, the physical geography of West Balkans.Kosovo Liberation Army, August 1998, Klechka village, KosMetThe region of Dinaric Alps It is known that physical and mental structures of a particular population are determined by many ...
READ MORE
U.S. Bombs Dropped in 2016
How incredible is this... The United States is technically not at war with any country right now but dropped more than 26,000 bombs in just 2016 and this under an "anti-war" President. We have an entire generation of Americans who have lived only under a system of "perpetual war". The time is long overdue to redefine these issues. Map of the US bombed states in 2016 with the number of dropped bombs Originally published on 2017-01-06 Author: Ben Swann Source: Ben Swann FB Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider ...
READ MORE
America’s Renegade Warfare
Seventy-seven million people in North and South Korea find themselves directly in the line of fire from the threat of a Second Korean War. The rest of the world is recoiling in horror from the scale of civilian casualties such a war would cause and the unthinkable prospect that either side might actually use nuclear weapons.Since the first Korean War killed at least 20 percent of North Korea’s population and left the country in ruins, the U.S. has repeatedly failed to follow through on diplomacy to establish a lasting peace in Korea and has instead kept reverting to illegal and terrifying threats ...
READ MORE
Trump and the Wolfowitz Doctrine
As President Trump affirms publicly his commitment to friendly relations with Russia at an economic summit in Hanoi, (the first President since Franklin Roosevelt to do so), the press backs the special prosecutor seeking to indict him, while NATO continues to ramp up its forces on Russia’s borders with Europe by bringing in tanks and other ‘defensive’ weapons. Although the United States was founded on Christian principles, and has one of the highest percentages of people practicing a religion of any Western country, most Americans seem not to realize that their country is building a case for nuclear war with the ...
READ MORE
The Balkans today
The Vlachs in Romania  The territory of Romania is considered by a significant number of the Balkan Vlachs as their real motherland (for the reason that it is the only state of the neo-Latin speakers in South-East Europe) or the national state of the Vlachs regardless on the fact that they are not originating from Romania. Outstandingly, the Romanian intellectuals (especially the linguists) and politicians expressed during the last century and a half a high level of attention to all neo-Latin speaking groups in South-East Europe claiming that all of them belong to the Romanian nationality. Accordingly, the leading theory about ...
READ MORE
Zoran Djindjic: The Quisling Of Belgrade
Tributes to Zoran Djindjic, the assassinated prime minister of Serbia, have been pouring in. President Bush led the way, praising his “strong leadership”, while the Canadian government’s spokesman extolled a “heralder of democracy” and Tony Blair spoke of the energy Djindjic had devoted to “reforming Serbia”. In western newspaper obituaries Djindjic has been almost universally acclaimed as an ex-student agititator who bravely led a popular uprising against a tyrannical dictator and endeavoured to steer his country into a new democratic era. But beyond the CNN version of world history, the career of Zoran Djindjic looks rather different. Those who rail against the ...
READ MORE
What is the Concert of Powers in International Relations?
Accusing Russia: Listening to History
“Fake Scholarship” and the Future of America’s University
Did the Cold War Ever Really End?
The U.S. Friendly Dictators
Trump’s National Security Strategy: The Return of “Great Power” Military Conflict
Voting Discrimination in America
The Operation Barbarossa II File: But Who will Prosecute?
The Post-WWII Albania and Kosovo
Kosovo Wants to Establish its Own Armed Forces
Democratic Front of Montenegro will Continue to Fight Against NATO Membership
Nixon and the Cambodian Genocide
Anne Frank of Kosovo Propaganda Hoax
Jürgen Elsässer: “The CIA Recruited and Trained the Jihadists”
Albanian Highlanders and Kosovo
U.S. Bombs Dropped in 2016
America’s Renegade Warfare
Trump and the Wolfowitz Doctrine
The Balkan Vlachs (4)
Zoran Djindjic: The Quisling Of Belgrade