A Book Review: George Szamuely: “Bombs For Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War On Yugoslavia”, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013

George Szamuely.  Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia.  Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013 (Distributed in the U.S. and Canada by the University of Chicago Press).  Paper.  Pp. 611.

In Bombs for Peace, George Szamuely, a senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute at London Metropolitan University, has produced a revealing and sharply argued analysis of Western intervention in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  The primary focus of the book is on Western diplomatic and military interventions, which played a crucial role in the breakup of Yugoslavia and the plunge into conflict.  Continued intervention fueled deeper conflict, as the United States repeatedly smashed every prospect for peaceful settlement until it could impose its control over the region.

The author places these events in a wider policy context, exploring how Western leaders capitalized on conflict in the Balkans to reorient NATO into an offensive organization suited for out-of-area operations.  From participation in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to the bombing of Libya, NATO’s aggressive role is firmly established.  Feeding the public with simple-minded morality tales, Western leaders distracted attention from their real goals.  “NATO,” Szamuely writes, “under constant U.S. prodding, seized on the crisis in Yugoslavia to transform itself from a defensive alliance into a global superpower, a coalition of powers that would purport to use force to secure peace and stability, a protagonist in other people’s conflicts yet also a referee.  NATO could nonetheless not admit publicly that it had now become a war-making machine.  So it came up with an ingenious formula. . . . Humanitarian war was to become its credo.”  Non-Westerners rightly perceived NATO’s humanitarian war doctrine “as a fraud, a smokescreen to confuse the public, a mélange of wild exaggerations and deceptions to justify intervention in the affairs of small, weak states or in complicated conflicts on behalf of certain protagonists and against others.”

In his opening chapter, “Yugoslavia: Destroying States for Fun and Profit,” Szamuely lays bare the myriad diplomatic maneuvers by U.S. and Western European officials that guaranteed the destruction of the state and made war inevitable.  Western intervention was consistently one-sided and heavy-handed, aimed at the demise of Yugoslavia, the last remaining socialist nation in Europe.

Having successfully backed the secession of Slovenia and Croatia, the West then threw its support behind the separation of Bosnia-Hercegovina.  After encouraging Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegović to renounce the Lisbon Agreement that he had just signed, an accord that would have prevented war from breaking out, the United States then sabotaged the London Conference.  Quoting an approving Western media report that applauded war and derided peace negotiations, Szamuely responds: “Thus the perfect expression of that peculiar, yet fashionable, moral sentiment: continued war, more killings, more destruction of towns and villages, more displacement of populations, more detention camps, more refugees were preferable to an agreement that — perish the thought — ‘might silence the guns for a time.’  Heroism comes easily to those for whom it’s vicarious.”

As the war dragged on in Bosnia, the United States repeatedly derailed peace negotiations and blocked ceasefires.  Countless lives were lost to serve the dubious goal of imposing U.S. control over the region.

When Croatia launched Operation Storm against the Krajina region, it killed 2,500 and expelled 200,000 Serbs, dwarfing in size any single act of population removal that had taken place in Bosnia.  The Croatian forces that launched the operation were well armed with Western weaponry and had the backing of the United States, which had prepared them with military training.  U.S. warplanes provided support by bombing a Krajina Serb airfield and destroying radar installations, allowing Croatian planes free rein to bomb and strafe columns of fleeing civilians.  “U.S. officials were delighted,” Szamuely writes.  “Here was a massive humanitarian disaster that the humanitarian interventionists could celebrate.”  He goes on to quote approving statements made by several U.S. officials.

Bosnia marked NATO’s first military engagement.  In the largest of its bombing campaigns in that war, NATO launched widespread attacks against Bosnian Serb sites in support of Croatian cross-border and Bosnian Muslim offensives in 1995.  U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke met with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, and urged him to extend his forces’ assault in neighboring Bosnia: “I would hope that you can take Prijedor, Sanski Most, and Bosanski Novi.”

The end of the war in Bosnia accomplished the Western goals of military occupation and political and economic control over the newly minted state that became a colony in all but name.  From the Western standpoint, there remained the problem that Yugoslavia, then comprised of Serbia and Montenegro, with its socialist-dominated economy was still in place.  A new pretext would have to be invented for war, and that was found in Western support for the secessionist Kosovo Liberation Army.  “For NATO, Kosovo was to be the test of its new post-Cold War strategy of offering military solutions to non-military problems,” Szamuely points out.

Szamuely details the maneuvers by U.S. diplomats at peace talks in Rambouillet, shortly before the NATO bombing campaign, in which they steered the outcome towards war.  The inescapable conclusion is that U.S. leaders wanted war.

The bombing of Yugoslavia provided a lesson for future interventions.  The absence of evidence to buttress wild and exaggerated propaganda claims is no impediment.  “Nothing succeeds like success.  And the measure of success is the lack of NATO casualties.  Small wonder, then, that in 2002 and 2003 U.S. and British officials and their media boosters disdainfully ignored the intelligence that raised serious doubts about Iraq’s WMDs.  The Kosovo experience had taught them that failure to find evidence to support the claims used to launch an armed attack would be quickly forgotten amid the scenes of public rejoicing and ecstatic military parades.”

That scenario was to be replayed in Libya, where Western accusations of an imagined impending massacre provided the self-justification for bombing.  “Yet, as in Yugoslavia, the Western powers made no attempt to ascertain whether a crime had been committed or was about to be committed. . . .  The NATO powers were determined to start bombing as soon as the Security Council passed its resolution.  Any delay might have led to a peaceful resolution of the crisis, an outcome the powers were as anxious to avoid in 2011 as they were in 1999.”

Szamuely is devastating in his critique of U.S. diplomatic measures leading up to NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia.  These maneuvers are essentially unknown to the Western public, including those on the Left who continue to cleave to the notion of U.S. leaders’ veracity and good intentions in regard to attacking small nations.  Only through an act of willful blindness could such a belief be sustained in the face of the mountain of evidence that Szamuely marshals.

Laced with lacerating humor, Bombs for Peace is particularly effective in its deconstruction of Western rhetoric.  Time after time, Szamuely quotes Western leaders’ words and takes them apart and subjects them to scathing logical analysis.  With sweeping eloquence, Szamuely argues his points in a compelling and authoritative manner, exposing the mendacity of the proponents of war.

The official mythology is that NATO intervention stopped the wars in the Balkans.  “As usual,” Szamuely notes, “the media were more than happy to go along with this story.  Yet the only wars the NATO powers had brought to an end were those they themselves provoked and subsequently prolonged.”

The Western role in the Balkans is an object lesson that provides the template for many of the West’s subsequent interventions and wars, and Bombs for Peace is essential for understanding the nature of that relationship.  “The complacency and arrogance of NATO’s leaders was extraordinary,” observes Szamuely.  “To people who had been subjected to Western colonial rule — most of the non-Western world — NATO’s self-satisfied assumption of a new global mission sounded an awful lot like the old ‘white man’s burden.’  NATO was the old imperial club, back together again with a plan to ensure continuing rule over the world’s backward people.”

Prodigiously researched, Bombs for Peace is graced with the elegant prose style typical of the author, and with his long-held passion for justice.  It is so beautifully written that it is hard to put down, and constitutes a damning exposé of Western policy.

Bombs for Peace: A Review
By Gregory Elich


About the reviewer: Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and the Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute.  He is a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language.

Source: MRZINE

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!
Zbigniew Brzezinski: U.S. Imperialism, Capitalism and Fascism
If you want to know the untold history of the U.S.A., then a good place to start is with the history of US imperialism in Asia from the mid-19th century until today. Not only will that reveal the history of the criminality of US foreign policy, but it will also reveal the true nature of U.S. capitalism, imperialism, fascism and U.S. wars of aggression: past, present and future. For centuries the U.S. has preached that it believes in democracy, freedom and self-determination, but its actions towards other countries speak louder than words. Internationally the U.S. is a predator and a bully. ...
READ MORE
Finland’s Nazi Past and the SS Martti Ahtisaari
At the time of the illegal NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 when Martti Ahtisaari was the President of Finland, his government sought to commemorate and to honor Finland’s Nazi SS volunteers from the Holocaust. This offers irrefutable evidence of Ahtisaari’s direct links for support of Nazism and Nazi revisionism. If Ahtisaari had bothered to check the decisions of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals, he would have found that that court held that all Waffen SS troops were war criminals guilty of war crimes and guilty of committing crimes against humanity, namely the mass murder of Jews. Ahtisaari lacks even ...
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
The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know
This article  by Professor James Tracy first published in August 2015 is of particular relevance in relation to the “fake news” campaign directed against the alternative and independent media. In a bitter irony, the media coverup of  the CIA’s covert support to Al Qaeda and the ISIS is instrumented by the CIA which also oversees the mainstream media. Since the end of World War Two the Central Intelligence Agency has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis. CIA publicists and journalists alike will assert they have few, ...
READ MORE
Ukraine: Fascist Dictatorship Masquerading as Democracy
For the first time since WW II, overt fascists hold real power in Europe. Radicalized ultranationalists. Anti-Semites. Hate-mongers. Cold-blooded killers. Whitewashing high crimes. A puppet regime. America’s newest colony. Mocking democratic values. Violating fundamental rule of law principles. Unaccountably. Western leaders won’t explain. Nor will the media. Hard truths are buried. Ukraine’s government usurped power forcibly. Putschist rule has no legitimacy. Especially regimes waging war on their own people. Murdering them in cold blood. Committing horrendous human rights abuses. Tolerating no opposition. Ruling by intimidation. Force-feeding neoliberal harshness on impoverished people. Making life unbearable overall. More on this below. On December 4, Wall Street Journal editors published ...
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
America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation
"We are a peaceful nation," claimed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in an interview with Katie Couric late last year. Carson voiced a view that is held by many in our society. Like most people around the world, we naturally like to think of ourselves as a peace loving country. Unfortunately, the record does not bear this out. It, in fact, indicates something quite opposite: The United States has had a long and bloody history of aggression and war making. A survey of history shows that America has either been involved in armed conflict or conducted some form of military operations during 223 ...
READ MORE
The “World’s Policeman” Retires on Disability
Ever since the end of World War II, the United States, rightly or wrongly, but most of the time, wrongly, has fancied itself as the «world’s policeman». Even a disastrous and costly military intervention in Southeast Asia did not deter the United States from acting as the chief arbiter of what governments were «in» and which were «out» as evidenced by Central Intelligence Agency interloping in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Haiti, and Colombia. Two military interventions in Iraq and a U.S.-led military campaign directed against Yugoslavia were not enough to pry the United States from its self-appointed role as the ...
READ MORE
Declassified Documents Reveal Pentagon’s 1950s Planned Nuclear Holocaust
GR Editor’s Note Publicly available military documents confirm that pre-emptive nuclear war is still on the drawing board  of the Pentagon. Compared to the 1950s, the nuclear weapons are more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for pre-emptive nuclear war.   Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books. Should we be concerned?  Blowing up the planet through the use of nuclear weapons is fully endorsed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who believes that nuclear weapons ...
READ MORE
Why Trump is Wrong About North Korea
When I think about North Korea, what first comes to my mind is a mist over the calm and majestic surface of the Taedong River near Pyongyang. Next I always recall two lovers, locked in a tender and almost desperate embrace, sitting side by side on the shore. I saw them every day, while taking brisk walks at dawn. Now I don’t know for sure whether they were real or just a product of my fantasy; a sad and gentle reminder of all that has been already lost, as well as of all that should have happened but never really ...
READ MORE
A Nature of the US and the American Foreign Policy
“If the Nuremberg Laws were applied, then every post-war American President would have been hanged”  Noam Chomsky Eurasia Henry Kissinger, one of the fundamental figures in creating and maintaining the US policy of global hegemony during the Cold War,[1] was quite clear and precise in his overviewing the issue of the American geopolitical position, national goals, and foreign policy. His remarks can be summarized in the following points: The US is an island off the shores of the large landmass of Eurasia. The resources and population of Eurasia far exceed the resources and population of the US. Any domination by any single state ...
READ MORE
Russia vs. America
GR Editor’s Note Moscow is accused of doping as part of a US dirty tricks campaign to prevent Russia from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. What is the record of the US with regard to doping? The main sports organizations including the NFL, MLB, and NBA have allowed unusually relaxed policies for performance-enhancing drug testing and punishment. The USADA is the US government agency responsible for the implementation in the United States of the World Anti-Doping Code, Yet, the record suggests that the USDA does not actively intervene in “big money sports” and often turns a blind eye ...
READ MORE
Why didn’t Washington Dissolve NATO after Collapse of USSR?
NATO has expanded dramatically after the collapse of its primary rivals, the USSR and the Warsaw Treaty Organization, Canadian Professor Michael Jabara Carley notes, posing the question whether NATO was founded as a defensive or an offensive alliance. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance aimed against the Soviet Union, was established on April 4, 1949; and only seven years after the formation of NATO the Warsaw Treaty Organization was established bringing together eight nations (versus 15 NATO member-states). So, who was the real “aggressor”? What alliance was an offensive one? “There has been much discussion recently of NATO in the mainstream and alternate media. Why was ...
READ MORE
The Kosovo “Powder Keg”
While all eyes have been on the U.S. presidential campaign, such foreign-policy hot spots as Syria, Iran and Pakistan, and the increasingly frosty relations between the United States and China, a simmering problem in the Balkans threatens to come to a boil. The most serious clashes to date involving angry Serb inhabitants of the northern portion of Kosovo and international Kosovo Force (KFOR) peacekeeping personnel erupted on November 28. Thirty German and Austrian soldiers were injured, some by small-arms fire and Molotov cocktails, when KFOR troops tried to remove roadblocks that Serb residents had erected. Those barricades have been the most ...
READ MORE
Weapons of Mass Destruction
  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
NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949
In 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, U.S. president George H. W. Bush through his secretary of state James Baker promised Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that in exchange for Soviet cooperation on German reunification, the Cold War era NATO alliance would not expand “one inch” eastwards towards Russia. Baker told Gorbachev: “Look, if you remove your [300,000] troops [from east Germany] and allow unification of Germany in NATO, NATO will not expand one inch to the east.” In the following year, the USSR officially dissolved itself. Its own defensive military alliance (commonly known as the Warsaw Pact) had already ...
READ MORE
The West vs Russia: Towards the End of a Pax Americana?
A peaceful dissolution of the USSR according to the agreement between Mikhail Gorbachew and Ronald Reagan in 1988 in Reykjavik brought a new dimension of a global geopolitics in which up to 2008 Russia, as a legal successor state of the USSR, was playing an inferior role in global politics when an American Neocon concept of Pax Americana became the fundamental framework in international relations. Therefore, for instance, Boris Yeltsin’s Russia capitulated in 1995 to the American design regarding a final outcome of the USA/EU policy of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia in November 1995 (the Dayton Agreement) followed by even ...
READ MORE
Mass Murders of Serbs in Kosovo Town of Pec in 1998
During the Albanian Muslim secessionist and separatist war in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, Kosovo Serb civilians were targeted for murder and expulsion. December 14, 2010 marked the 12th year anniversary of the mass murders of six Kosovo Serbs in 1998 by Kosovo Albanian secessionists and separatists. The cold-blooded murder of the six youths was a horrific and shocking mass murder. The killers were Albanian Muslim separatists, suspected members of the KLA, which U.S. special envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard described in 1998 as “without any question, a terrorist group”: “I know a terrorist when I see ...
READ MORE
Will Washington Kill Us All?
Did you know that Washington keeps 450 nuclear ICBMs on “hair-trigger alert”? Washington thinks that this makes us “safe.” The reasoning, if it can be called reason, is that by being able to launch in a few minutes, no one will try to attack the US with nuclear weapons. US missiles are able to get on their way before the enemy’s missiles can reach the US to destroy ours. If this makes you feel safe, you need to read Eric Schlosser’s book, Command and Control. The trouble with hair-triggers is that they make mistaken, accidental, and unauthorized launch more likely. Schlosser provides ...
READ MORE
Hating Russia is a Full-Time Job: Neocons Resurrect Tribal Memories to Fan the Flames
Having just returned from a trip to Russia, I am pleased to report that the Russian people and the officialdom that I encountered displayed none of the vitriol towards Americans that I half expected as a response to the vilifying of Moscow and all its works that pervades the U.S. media and Establishment. To be sure, many Russians I spoke with were quick to criticize the Trump Administration for its hot and cold performance vis-à-vis the bilateral ties to Moscow while also expressing mystification over why the relationship had gone south so quickly, but this anger over foreign policy did ...
READ MORE
Zbigniew Brzezinski: U.S. Imperialism, Capitalism and Fascism
Finland’s Nazi Past and the SS Martti Ahtisaari
Jürgen Elsässer: “The CIA Recruited and Trained the Jihadists”
The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know
Ukraine: Fascist Dictatorship Masquerading as Democracy
Kosovo – Mafia – Fascism – Jihad
America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation
The “World’s Policeman” Retires on Disability
Declassified Documents Reveal Pentagon’s 1950s Planned Nuclear Holocaust
Why Trump is Wrong About North Korea
A Nature of the US and the American Foreign Policy
Russia vs. America
Why didn’t Washington Dissolve NATO after Collapse of USSR?
The Kosovo “Powder Keg”
Weapons of Mass Destruction
NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949
The West vs Russia: Towards the End of a Pax Americana?
Mass Murders of Serbs in Kosovo Town of Pec in 1998
Will Washington Kill Us All?
Hating Russia is a Full-Time Job: Neocons Resurrect Tribal Memories to Fan the Flames
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu