Projections and Projective Identifications
Martti Ahtisaari, the Chairman Emeritus of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a globalist think tank sponsored by the US, asserted that all Serbs were “guilty as a nation” for seeking to prevent the secessionist/separatist Greater Albania movement launched by Albanian ultra-nationalist terrorists in 1998. He told the Serbian Kosovo negotiating team that “you are guilty as a nation.” This is an example of the racist concept of “collective guilt” typically applied to a group of people based on shared characteristics to punish that group. It is one of the most primitive and barbaric human conceptions ever devised. Anti-Semitism is based in the concept of “collective guilt”. Jews are alleged to have killed Jesus and to have rejected Christianity, therefore, all Jews are guilty, all Jews are criminal, and this murder of Jesus shows their criminal worldview, a conspiracy to destroy and enslave all Christians. Collective guilt is one of the most pernicious and dehumanizing concepts ever devised to ensure “justice”. Adolf Hitler was a major proponent of collective guilt and collective punishment. But how is Ahtisaari’s barbaric and primitive racist concept to be understood and explained? By this racist statement, Ahtisaari unwittingly slipped up and revealed his true motivations and intentions. It was what we can call a Freudian slip.
There is a universal human psychological mechanism that seeks to dispose of negative aspects of one’s own self and to transfer them onto others. This mechanism is known as projection. The mechanism of externalization is a cruder form of psychological projection wherein negative images of ourselves are projected onto others and certain images of others are internalized. There are different levels of projection. As adults develop, their perceptions of others, their thoughts of others, and their emotions for others, become ingrained and fixed in the conscious and subconscious. Projections become rigid and fixed over time.
In conflict scenarios, such as ethnic and religious and political conflicts, members of one group seek to define their own identity by externalizing or projecting unwanted or negative parts of themselves onto the enemy. They are projecting onto the enemy their own unwanted thoughts, guilt, knowledge of past crimes, anxiety, fear, shame, frustration, negative perceptions and immoral wishes and desires. It is never we who are guilty of anything, but always the other, them, the “guilty” enemy. Projections and externalizations onto an opposing group demonstrate a primitive and infantile psychological mechanism that divides the world arbitrarily between “us” and “them”. Adolf Hitler did it. He divided the world between the “good” Aryans and the “evil” or “bad” Jews and Slavs and Gypsies. The result is a bipolar dichotomy between “good” and “evil”. It is a simplistic Manichean division of the world into “black” and “white”. Not only is it an infantile mechanism. It is also a primordial and primitive one. It is an oversimplification that can easily cross into psychopathology. Invariably, we are “good,” and they are “bad” or “evil”. It is a division between the good and moral “Us” and the evil and immoral “Them”, the Other. This is the fundamental psychological mechanism for enmity, for war, and for racism. You need projection and a dichotomy to have racism and to have war. Wars come and wars go. But the primeval mechanisms for war and for racism and for ethnic and religious enmity never change. This can be called the psychology of war and racism, or the psychopathology of politics.
Transference and Counter-Transference
Projections, transference, and counter-transference are important concepts in understanding war and racism and ethnic enmity.
Transference consists of possessing attitudes, emotions, feelings, images, perceptions, and thoughts about a person or a group in the present that are based on or derived from past experiences with and feelings toward others in one’s childhood, such as parents, siblings, teachers, and other authority figures. These past experiences leave a residue or memory in the subconscious. An intense transference can occur called transference neurosis. This results in a counter-transference on the part of those who interact with the person.
Ethnic and religious and political and national issues spark in us all raw emotions; they touch on fundamental questions of identity and meaning, on who we are. Notions of identity and meaning impact on our fundamental conceptions of ourselves. When threatened or challenged, we develop anxiety and fear and guilt. Anxiety is lessened when we regress to a primitive or primordial state of psychological projection. When we project our worst subconscious fears, anxieties, and guilt onto an enemy, our psychological tension is lessened. It feels good to transfer our subconscious anxiety onto an enemy, a “guilty” other, or a threatening stranger.
What is it that Ahtisaari is projecting onto the Serbian people, the criminal “Enemy”, or “the Other”? Ahtisaari, like his Albanian proxies, has a very well concealed Nazi past, a racist and genocidal past. Finland was one of Nazi Germany’s closest allies during the Holocaust. Finnish Nazi SS troops were one of the most committed and zealous Axis soldiers for Adolf Hitler. Finnish support for Adolf Hitler resulted in the deaths of Jews and Russians during the “Continuation War”. Ahtisaari’s father, Oiva, was a Nazi soldier during World War II, seeking to make the Nazi New Order in Europe a reality for all. Oiva Ahtisaari only obtained Finnish citizenship in 1929. The Ahtisaari family originally came to Finland from southern Norway. The Norwegian surname of Adolfsen was changed only in 1935. Ahtisaari has morphed his national or ethnic identity from Norwegian to Finnish. Any such “conversion” entails anxiety and guilt, a loss of certainly and equilibrium. He is like the fanatical new religious convert, seeking to hide his uncertainty, doubt, and anxiety by an overzealous display.
During World War II, Finland was not part of the “free world”, but one of Adolf Hitler’s closest Nazi allies. Adolf Hitler made a visit to Finland on June 6, 1942 to meet the Finnish President Risto Ryti and Carl Mannerheim, the commander of Finnish forces during the war. Both Heinrich Himmler and Gottlob Berger regarded the Finnish SS troops as the most committed and fanatical Nazis. It is this Nazi past that Ahtisaari is hiding. Ahtisaari is thus projecting his own concealed Nazi past onto the Serbian people.
His birth in Vyborg is important in understanding his worldview. This was a city originally settled by Swedish settlers. Its Swedish name reflects its Swedish origins. But Finnish ultra-nationalists changed the name to the Finnish Viipuri. The Russians retained the original Swedish name for the city. It later became incorporated into Russia. Today it is a part of Russia, north of St. Petersburg. The Swedish city of Vyborg was settled initially by Swedes and today is a part of Russia, but the surrounding area is a region where Karelians predominate. Karelians are described as a “Baltic-Finnic tribe”. Vyborg thus is a multi-ethnic city settled by Swedes, Russians, Germans, and Finns. No one group can claim it as their own. But this is just what Finland did after World War I. It was seized by Finnish military forces and annexed to Finland. To whom does Vyborg belong? How do you resolve this question? The parallels to Kosovo are obvious.
Kurt Waldheim, the UN Secretary-General, appointed Martti Ahtisaari as UN Commissioner for Namibia in 1977. In 1978, Ahtisaari was appointed Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim’s special representative for Namibia. Martti Ahtisaari also served as Under Secretary-General of the UN for Administration and Management under Kurt Waldheim. Kurt Waldheim has a connection to the former Yugoslavia. In 1942, Waldheim was an intelligence officer in the German Army during the Kozara anti-guerrilla operation by Axis forces. Thousands of civilians, mostly Serbian civilians, men, women, and children, were killed in the action. Waldheim is reported to have received a special award by the Ustasha NDH regime in Croatia for his role in the operation. No personal involvement of Waldheim in war crimes has been shown. Waldheim was, however, photographed reviewing the Nazi SS Division Prinz Eugen in Montenegro in 1943 and meeting with SS commander Artur Phleps. Waldheim worked under Alexander Lohr in “Southeastern Europe”. Lohr was subsequently tried for war crimes, convicted,Â and executed in Belgrade. In 1947, Waldheim was placed on the list of suspected war criminals by Yugoslavia and the UN. In 1987, Waldheim was placed on a US watch list and barred entry into the US, following controversial allegations that he had covered-up his role during World War II.
During World War II, Finland was willing to ally itself with Adolf Hitler and to form a Nazi Waffen SS Battalion “Nordost” and to join the 5th Waffen SS Division “Wiking” in order to annex Vyborg/Viipuri. Psychologically, Ahtisaari is conflicted about Vyborg/Viipuri. He sees himself as a victim of Soviet and later Russian “oppression” and “repression” and displacement. He sees himself as impotent. As a Finn, he experienced first-hand the concept of “Finlandization”, the political impotency of small and weak nations, the Baltic equivalent of Balkanization. The ICG, in fact a front for the US, is a way for him to engage in his thwarted power fantasies and delusions. The US allows him to play out his little power game. Martti Adolfsen gets to be Adolf Hitler, just like his father and his Finnish countrymen during the Holocaust. Martti gets to threaten Belgrade with annihilation in 1999 just like Hitler threatened Prague in 1938 and 1939. Martti gets to bomb and to flatten Belgrade like Hitler did in 1941. Martti gets to detach Kosovo from Serbia and to create an “independent” Kosova, just like Hitler did in 1941. Martti gets to act out his psychological delusions and neuroses. Of course, everyone knows he is a puppet with the US pulling the strings in this farce. The Serbian Orthodox people are surrogates for the Russian Orthodox people. The Slavs are to blame for Vyborg. This accounts for his anti-Serbian and anti-Slavic racism and bigotry and prejudice. In the 1930s, Jews were responsible for Bolshevism and Communism and Trotskyism. There is a transference here. Ahtisaari is projecting the Vyborg scenario onto Kosovo. He is a frustrated ultra-nationalist who is acting out this frustration in his racism against the Serbian people.
Ahtisaari identifies with the Albanian population in Kosovo, who, like the Finns, during World War II were allied with Adolf Hitler in creating a Greater Albania. Both Albanians and Finns have Nazi pasts. Both want to take over territory that does not belong to them under international law. Ahtisaari, absurdly, identifies with the “victims” and the likewise impotent Albanian people. Only in this way can he act out on his subconscious obsessions. He turns a blind eye to the Serbian victims in Kosovo. They don’t count. They don’t exist. The plight of the Serbian people is suppressed and repressed in his conscious and subconscious. Just like Pec became Peja and Jakovica became Jakova, so too, Vyborg may still become Viipuri again. This is what motivates Ahtisaari.
The Triumph of Racism and Self-Interested Bigotry
It is important to seek to understand the nature of all conflict and the mechanisms and rituals through which ethnic groups in conflict interact.
Such understanding loosens the rigid positions on both sides to a conflict and elucidates hitherto hidden aspects of the relationship and brings them to the surface where they can be analyzed, discussed, and resolved. There are psychological “poisons”, such as unconscious perceptions, fixations, traumas, and obsessions, that need to be removed. The conscious and unconscious motivations of actors to conflict are usually overlooked and minimized. Such understanding allows for the removal of conscious and unconscious resistances to adaptive change and to a fair and just resolution of conflicts. Effective diplomacy and a fair and lasting resolution to the Kosovo conflict require that the sources of bias and prejudice and coercion be eliminated. Ahtisaari demonstrates a crude racism and racial prejudice that can only lead to future conflict.
Originally published on 2006-11-08
Author: Carl K. Savich
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Author’s note and Update
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