Serbian aggression against Croatia and Bosnia?

Lorenzo Penya Laurentius at pinar1.csic.es
Tue Oct 24 09:25:51 MDT 1995


Yugoslavia again. Reflections on Bryan's comments. # 4
SERB AGGRESSION?
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      Both Bryan Alexander and Chris Burford have repeatedly argued that the
Serbs perpetrated aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and that their
aggression was that of a fascist, or social fascist, regime. Sometimes it
seems to me that it is the would-be aggression itself which is thus looked
upon as fascist. At other times it is the Belgrade regime which is being
called `fascist', whence its aggression is, by extension, also regarded as
such. I'll comment on so-called Serbian fascism in my next post.

      I fail to see how the Yugoslav troops could perpetrate any aggression
in Bosnia or in Croatia, which are legally, in accordance with international
law -- and particularly in virtue of long-standing international treaties
agreed upon by all the countries in the world --, integral parts of
Yugoslavia, and which, from a moral view-point, can hardly claim any valid
right to separation since they are solidly inhabited by people belonging to
the Yugoslav (i.e. Serbo-Croat) nation. If British troops operate in
Birmingham they are not committing any aggression there.

      When the Southern states illegally seceded, thus triggering the
American civil war, did US troops commit aggression against the secessionists
by attacking them? You only can call such an attack an `aggression' if you
assume the right to secession. The Southern states had no such right either
from a moral or from a legal view-point.

      Of course there are dubious and complex cases and also intermediate
degrees. At the time of the Indian independence did Indian troops or
Pakistani troops commit aggression against Kashmir? The diplomatic and
politic imbroglio created by the departing English colonialists was such that
many interpretations are partly grounded (from a legal view-point India was
probably right, from a moral view-point the matter was more difficult).

      When the Korean war began the Western propaganda media spoke of North-
Korean aggression against the South. Yet it seems to me odd -- to say the
least -- that Korean troops commit aggression while not leaving the Korean
territory, i.e. while not crossing the Korean international boundaries. The
Pyongyang regime may have been wrong in starting what they viewed as a
liberation movement aimed at the reunification and independence of their
country; their triggering of hostilities may have been ill-advised or ill-
fated. What it definitely was not was an act of aggression. Nor could the
South-Koreans commit aggression against the North. Nor do the Burma rebels
commit aggression against the zones occupied by the Rangoon regime if or when
they start a new counteroffensive operation. Any such operation may be
justified or unjustified, good or bad, praiseworthy or blameworthy,
reasonable or unreasonable. `Aggression' applies only to the sending of
troops which forcefully invade a foreign country, crossing established
international boundaries previously agreed upon through legal treaties.

      It is NATO which has perpetrated aggression against the Yugoslav people
by intervening in the Yugoslav civil war.

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