Once again, U.S. air and naval forces are preparing strikes on Serbia’s army and police for refusing to stand down in Kosovo. And, once again, Americans are deeply ambivalent about intervention.
“Either we get in there with a NATO force, or we get the hell out,” said an exasperated Sen. John Warner after Yugoslav strong man Slobodan Milosevic showed two NATO generals the door.
Warner advocates intervention. But Americans sense that, despite our disgust at the latest massacre and Milosevic’s thuggery, no vital U.S. interest exists there. The Serbs do not threaten NATO; they have not attacked Americans; they are fighting to hold onto a province that is the birthplace of Serbian nationhood. Whose flag flies over Kosovo’s capital has never been critical to us.
Defense Secretary Bill Cohen asserts that NATO’s “credibility remains on the line.” But who put it there? Before the 1990s, most Americans had never heard of Kosovo. And where does President Clinton get the authority to launch air strikes — acts of war — against a sovereign nation whose troops are putting down a rebellion on their own soil?
If we attack Serbs inside their own country, do Serbs have a right to attack us in ours? Why has Congress not demanded to know where we are going here, before we are ensnared in a war?
As the Kosovo Liberation Army has been accused of terrorism and seeks independence from Belgrade, which the United States opposes, why make our Air Force the air arm of the KLA? The KLA clearly wishes to drag NATO in as its shield against the Serbian army. But why should we accommodate the KLA? What is in it for us?
America’s fear is of a Balkan war, and one scenario runs thus: Kosovo, 90 percent Albanian, breaks free of Serbia to unite with Albania. The Albanians in Macedonia then attempt to break free to join them. Macedonia disintegrates; Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria all tear off a chunk. Having lost Kosovo, Serbia seeks to reunite with its kinsmen in Bosnia, smashing the Dayton accords. With Muslims in Bosnia under siege and Greece grabbing territory, Turkey enters the war.
Such a Balkan conflict would be horrific, but Balkan wars broke out in 1912, and again in 1913, without any great power intervening. Only in 1914, when Russia and Austria each saw its “credibility on the line” and clashed over Serbia, did World War I erupt, one of the worst disasters of Western civilization. History’s lesson: If you wish peace, stay out of the Balkans.
Before we use air power, that night stick of the New World Order, we should ask: What is it we hope to accomplish? To punish Milosevic? To convince him to send his army back to the barracks?
But if he complies and U.S. intervention brings independence to Kosovo, which then attempts to unite all the Albanians in the Balkans, leading to Macedonia’s collapse, do we intervene with U.S. troops to guarantee everyone’s territorial integrity?
Air strikes in Kosovo might be like those air strikes in Vietnam in 1965, the first bold step into the Big Muddy.
What is happening in the Balkans today is the continuation of the deconstruction of the Ottoman Empire, the “Sick Man of Europe” of the 19th century, and of the Hapsburg Empire, which collapsed in 1918. The centrifugal force in this struggle is virulent nationalism.
Slovenes wish to be ruled by Slovenes, Croats by Croats, Serbs by Serbs, Muslims by Muslims, Albanians by Albanians. All have shown a willingness to fight, to die and to see their own suffer and die in considerable numbers rather than submit to what they hold to be alien rule, either religious or ethnic. The past decade of atrocities and reprisals has hardened hatreds all around.
But why is this America’s conflict? If, as Bismarck observed, the entire Balkans were not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier, why do they justify an American military intervention?
If NATO will commit 100,000 troops to Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia indefinitely, it can probably maintain the status quo. But NATO Europe doesn’t have the troops, and Americans don’t believe the Balkans are worth that heavy a commitment.
So we arrive at Warner’s alternative: Get out, let the Balkan peoples settle their own quarrels, but be there to aid the innocent victims rather than add to their roster with air strikes and murderous sanctions that inflict suffering and death on people who never did us harm.
Of the German squadron pressing him at Manila Bay, Adm. George Dewey said, “They are too pushing and ambitious; they’ll overreach themselves someday.” They did, and so will we, with our constant compulsion to intervene in every foreign quarrel.
By Patrick J. Buchanan
Note: First published by GR in February 2015 in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Terror Attacks.
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One such example was a recent event in Washington. According to Carden:
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Another NATO Intervention?
Less than a dozen years after NATO bombed Yugoslavia into pieces, detaching the province of Kosovo from Serbia, there are signs that the military alliance is gearing up for another victorious little “humanitarian war”, this time against Libya. The differences are, of course, enormous. But let’s look at some of the disturbing similarities.
A demonized leader
As “the new Hitler”, the man you love to hate and need to destroy, Slobodan Milosevic was a neophyte in 1999 compared to Muammar Qaddafi today. The media had less than a decade to turn Milosevic into a monster, whereas with Qaddafi, they’ve been ...
The West has a black history in the middle east that must be recognised. In 1916, Arabs joined the allied forces but deceived.The victorious western powers divided the region as they wished without any consideration to the peoples’ will. Then completed this crime by planting the state of Israel, which since day one spread state terrorism throughout the region.
The West supported Israel and defied the international law set by the West. Our part of the world continued to live in a climate of war, militarisation and tension because of this. In this respect, the West practised and still the most ...
Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.
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Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this ...
Post-colonial empires are complex organizations. They are organized on a multi-tiered basis, ranging from relative autonomous national and regional allies to subservient vassal states, with variations in between.
In the contemporary period, the idea of empire does not operate as a stable global structure, though it may aspire and strive for such. While the US is the major imperial power, it does not dominate some leading global political-economic and military powers, like Russia and China.
Imperial powers, like the US, have well-established regional satellites but have also suffered setbacks and retreats from independent local economic and political challengers.
Empire is not a fixed ...
March 16, 2017, was the 49th anniversary of the My Lai Massacre, located in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. It was Saturday morning, March 16, 1968, when approximately 115 U.S. Army soldiers of the Americal Division’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, landed in helicopters just outside the village of My Lai 4. Over the course of the next four hours, these American soldiers, and their Military High Command, who were flying overhead in helicopters observing the massacre, took part in a horror show far beyond the human imagination. They took the term, “War Crimes,” and added a butcher shop to ...
The US, Britain and France trampled international law to launch missiles against Syria, claiming to have “evidence” of the government’s use of chemical weapons. That evidence is based on terrorist lies.
After a week of outrageous tweets and proclamations by POTUS Trump, which included continued accusations that Syria’s president ordered a chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma, east of Damascus, with Trump using grotesque and juvenile terminology, such as “animal Assad,” the very evening before chemical weapons inspectors of the OPCW were to visit Douma, America and allies launched illegal bombings against Syria. The illegal bombings included 103 missiles, 71 of ...
The EU and NATO are evil institutions. These two institutions are mechanisms created by Washington in order to destroy the sovereignty of European peoples. These two institutions give Washington control over the Western world and serve both as cover and enabler of Washington’s aggression. Without the EU and NATO, Washington could not force Europe and the UK into conflict with Russia, and Washington could not have destroyed seven Muslim countries in 15 years without being isolated as a hated war criminal government, no member of whom could have travelled abroad without being arrested and put on trial.
Clearly, the presstitute media ...
The world is lectured frequently by the United States of America — the One Indispensable Nation — about how to behave, on the grounds that, as President Obama declared, «from London and Prague, to Tokyo and Seoul, to Rio and Jakarta... there is a new confidence in our leadership».
He didn’t mention Amman, Baghdad, Beijing, Beirut, Caracas or the capitals of so many other countries in which the majority of citizens, according to the Pew Research Centre and other pollsters such as Marketwatch, regard the United States as an aggressive and malign manipulator of world affairs.
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton went further than President Obama in glorifying ...
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Transcript of presentation by the author at the Conference of Independent Journalists’ Association for Peace, Vienna, Austria, May 2015.
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