sexta-feira, 30 de julho de 2004

Empire's Failure in the Balkans

Nebjsa Malic
"(...)Stopping genocide" sounds great, until it is discovered the genocide was a fabrication. The gullible may be fooled by photos of people cheering and throwing flowers at the occupation troops – as many Albanians did in Kosovo – until someone points out that they cheered the 1941 Axis invasion with the same enthusiasm.

The claim that American intervention in the Balkans demonstrated good will by defending Muslims has utterly failed to impress the Muslim world. (...)

Setting logic and principle aside, for the sake of argument, one fact dooms the proponents of the Democratic empire as surely as lies about Iraq ought to doom their Republican counterparts: none of the highly praised interventions in the Balkans actually worked.
Bosnia is a protectorate misruled by a foreign tyrant. Kosovo is a concentration camp for non-Albanians, and a haven for slavers, drug- and gun-runners. And Macedonia is a simmering cauldron of resentment. (...)
Defending Disaster

The next "successful" intervention, in Kosovo (1999), has been tainted from the start by the naked aggression it entailed, brazen lies used to justify it, and the ethnic cleansing that took place once NATO occupied that Serbian province. Supporters of the Empire persistently ignored the terror that has ravaged Kosovo since 1999, again pretending there was "progress" where there manifestly couldn't be any. Then the pogrom of March 17-18 took place, with some 60,000 Albanians attacking Serb villages, churches and monasteries in an organized fashion, often unhindered by NATO troops or UN police. Faced with such a damning indictment of their occupation, what do the Empire's partisans do? Lie and deny, again.

Four months later, with the pogrom already forgotten in Washington and Brussels, Human Rights Watch, a frequent apologist for intervention, issued a report condemning NATO and UNMIK for failure to protect the Serbs from attacks. Apparently, it takes four months to state the obvious. Not that it made any difference: NATO and the UN rejected HRW's criticism out of hand. Besides, HRW only demanded a restructuring of the occupation, not its end.

Visiting EU dignitaries continue to spout nonsense about Kosovo. Just this week, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot said he was "shocked by the March events, but … encouraged by reconstruction."(...)

Doomed to Failure

It is evident from looking at Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia – to take just these three – that Empire's intervention in the Balkans is not a success, but rather a disaster. The Pax Americana imposed on the region in the last decade is unnatural, based on lies and violence. It has had a considerable corrupting effect on people already suffering from Communism and chauvinism. The results are in plain view: poverty, apathy, despair, lingering hatred, violent crime and widespread delusions.

Some may argue that the solution lies in fine-tuning the intervention; however well-intentioned, they would be wrong. The best thing the Empire can do for the Balkans would be to leave. A true peace must be made by consenting parties, and as long as the Empire is around to back any of them, there will be no political will for a settlement of any kind.

Ninety years ago, a once-potent European empire embarked on a project of conquering the Balkans. On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and started a chain reaction that became World War One. What followed is sometimes described as the "suicide of European civilization," resulting in a century of protracted agony. It was certainly the end of Austria-Hungary, and its Hapsburg emperors.

Attempts to force an artificial order upon the Balkans – or anywhere else, really – are doomed to fail. The more this pressure forces things to bend to its will, the more violent the blowback will be. History has shown this time and again. Does anyone really need another demonstration?"
Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo, and contributed to the Independent. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia and Serbian politics.

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