NOTHING IS FOREVER, Part I
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NOTHING IS FOREVER
U.S. Ambassador Warren Zimmerman's interview, Jan. 12, 1992, in the Croatian
daily 'Danas' ('Today')
Translated by www.emperors-clothes.com (6-1-00)
"We are aiming for a dissolution of Yugoslavia into independent states
peacefully." (Warren Zimmerman, US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Jan., 1992)
The following interview is important. Many have argued that the U.S. opposed
the breakup of Yugoslavia. Warren Zimmerman was US Ambassador to Yugoslavia
during the key period, when Slovenia and Croatia were fighting to secede. In
this interview he makes the real U.S. position quite clear.
A week before the interview a key event occurred. Europe recognized
secessionist Croatia and Slovenia as independent states. Balkans scholar Raju
Thomas refers to this as "a new method of aggression: Diplomatic Recognition."
"Surely then the real aggression in Yugoslavia began with the western
recognition of Slovenia and Croatia. The territorial integrity of a state
[Yugoslavia] that was voluntarily created and which had existed since
December 1918 was swept aside. In 1991, new state recognition policy proved
to be an inventive method of destroying long-standing sovereign independent
states. When several rich and powerful states decide to take a sovereign
independent state apart through the policy of recognition, how is this state
supposed to defend itself? There can be no deterrence or defense against this
form of destruction." (Raju Thomas, "Nationalism, Secession and Conflict:
Legacies from the Former Yugoslavia.")
The U.S. did not immediately endorse the European move. Does this mean the
U.S. opposed secession? I think the U.S. policy was two-faced. The U.S.
government paid lip service to peaceful solutions and withheld recognition of
Slovenia and Croatia, but at the same time, US officials and covert agencies
worked to dismember Yugoslavia in a manner aimed at producing a Bosnian
nation-state run by Islamic Fundamentalist proxies under the thumb of the US.
Zimmerman's interview in 'Danas' supports this view. Is the interview
accurate? If an Ambassador is seriously misquoted he would respond in order
to correct the record; but Zimmerman never denied or corrected any part of
the interview. There is no known reason to question its accuracy.
Moreover, subsequent US actions dovetail with the views expressed here. For
example, consider this from Zimmerman:
"It appears to us that he [Bosnian Islamic Fundamentalist leader Izetbegovic]
needs help in his effort to resist the partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I
believe it would be tragic if someone from the Croatian side would try
cooperating with Serbia in the dismemberment of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
Later, when the Bosnian Islamist leader Izetbegovic signed an agreement with
Croatian and Serbian leaders to peacefully partition Bosnia, Zimmerman met
with Izetbegovic and 'helped' by persuading him to renege on the deal and
demand instead a unitary Bosnian state under Islamist control. Izetbegovic
did renege, as Zimmerman asked, and this launched the Bosnian civil war.
It is important to remember when reading this interview that Zimmerman was
speaking for the most world's only Superpower. Whatever Zimmerman said would
be read carefully by all sides. He used the interview to encourage Croatian
chauvinism, Kosovo Albanian secessionism and Islamic Fundamentalism, the very
forces that Nazi Germany relied on in Yugoslavia in World War II.
Zimmerman said he was against destabilization but talk is cheap and every
diplomat knew that a united Yugoslavia was the key to stability in the
Balkans. He said pretty things about peace but he unleashed the forces of war.
Here's the interview.
'DANAS', 21 January 1992
NOTHING IS FOREVER
An Interview with Warren Zimmerman
Zimmerman: First of all, I have to point out that the US and the American
people exceptionally appreciate the Croatian people and sympathize with you
for all you have been through in the past few months. We know you have been a
victim of a Serbian and Army aggression, and in that situation you reacted
with great courage and dignity. I am not saying this as a compliment to the
fighting abilities of Croatia - though they are considerable - but I wish to
point out that a great deal of restraint was demanded of Croatia. I refer to
the lifting of the siege of military barracks, which was in our opinion one
of the keys to the possibility of a stable peace. This also goes for honoring
the cease-fires, which is always a critical issue. I would also point out the
agreement to the UN peace plan, which all the sides have accepted. In all
these matters, the people and government of Croatia showed its extraordinary
Jared comments: Zimmerman's reference to the secessionists' "restraint" is
false. While pretending to observe a cease fire, the secessionists provoked
and attacked Yugoslav troops in their barracks. Zimmerman lies throughout the
interview. His words are best read not as honest reporting but as evidence of
DANAS: Still, everyone wonders why the recognition has been delayed?
Zimmerman: I have to admit that at this moment the recognition of Croatia is
not on our agenda. But this does not mean that this temporary American
approach will be around forever. We have always tried to approach recognition
in a way that would contribute most to a permanent peace, and that same
approach has been taken by Cyrus Vance and Lord Carrington.
Jared comments: Obviously he is promising US recognition - just not yet.
DANAS: What does that mean in terms of time?
Zimmerman: I cannot tell you the exact date. But that is certainly something
to be kept in mind, and something we are thinking of, but we are also always
wondering what kind of benefit that would bring Croatia while the war is
still going on and while Croatia is still being occupied by enemy troops. We
thought the best way for the JNA [Yugoslav Army] to leave Croatia was the one
proposed by the UN, as it specifically states that the JNA must leave
Croatia. We also believe that we can do the most to make this plan work is if
we keep the possibility to pressure Serbia, Serbian and JNA leadership as
much as possible. We are doing that decisively, and I believe we are in a
much better position to do that now, as we have not recognized Croatia yet.
That way, we have preserved authority and credibility with Serbia and the
Army that we would not have if we had followed Germany and recognized
Croatia. I believe what we are doing is beneficial to achieving true Croatian
Jared comments: The US was withholding formal recognition not out of a desire
to hold Yugoslavia together but out of a desire to destroy it in the most
efficient and profitable way.
DANAS: So you wish to preserve your influence?
Zimmerman: Yes, but I also want to add that this does not mean in any way
that Serbia or the JNA have any right of veto in the American recognition
policy. This is not the case.
DANAS: Many claim that you generally support Europe, but at the same time
aren't too confident about the European policy?
Zimmerman: I wouldn't say so. I know that Lord Carrington believes that
recognition of Yugoslav republics that have requested it could be premature
in these circumstances. We have tried to clear a path that I believe could
lead to the result you want, which is a truly independent Croatia, free of
occupation and enemy forces.
Jared's comments: Zimmerman refers to the Army of Yugoslavia, a country to
whom he was U.S. Ambassador, a country which included Croatia, as an enemy
The "enemy" Army did not invade Croatia. It was present in Croatia just as it
was present in other parts of Yugoslavia. It was just as illegal for Croatia
to secede from Yugoslavia as it was for the southern states to secede from
the U.S. 140 years ago. The JNA would have been justified in waging total
war, just as President Abraham Lincoln waged total war; but the JNA did not.
Zimmerman: We very decisively told the Serbian and Army leadership that they
have to honor the obligations they accepted and completely leave Croatia. We
also said - and I think we have been able to do it with more authority since
we have not recognized Croatia - that the recognition of Croatia by European
countries cannot be the reason for Serbia or the Army to try reversing
Croatia's independence or imposing solutions on Croatia by force.
DANAS: This is maybe a personal question. You are the American Ambassador,
but it is hard to say which country you are the Ambassador to. Does
Yugoslavia still exist?
Zimmerman: That is a very good question, and a question that is very hard to
answer. We are now precisely in that situation where a world is dying and
another, different world is struggling to be born. In other words, it is a
transition and as I said many times before, our main concern in it is peace.
While these changes are going on, our foremost task is to contribute that
they happen in a peaceful, rather than violent, environment.
Jared comments: As subsequent events demonstrated, 'Peace' meant the US and
its proxy forces could do whatever they liked but the Yugoslav Army was not
allowed to fight back.
Zimmerman: It is inevitable that these changes are accompanied with
uncertainties. I am an Ambassador accredited with the government of
Yugoslavia. But at the same time, it is completely clear that we do not
recognize Branko Kostic, who usurped the right to speak on behalf of the
Yugoslav Presidency. Since he made that attempt I have not had any contacts
with him, nor do I intend to ever contact him. Most of the duties I perform
in Belgrade and Yugoslavia are reduced to relations with the Republics, which
my government considers extremely useful. There are many gray areas from a
legal standpoint, but this is natural in times of transition.
DANAS: Are you encountering the same difficulties while meeting with the
Zimmerman: I recently met with General Adzic, and I met with General
Kadijevic right before he resigned. I believe it is exceptionally important
to maintain contact with the Yugoslav military leadership, as they have to
know our position. And our position is clear: we believe that the Army is
primarily responsible for the war in Croatia.
Hence they have an enormous obligation to honor the UN peace plan, and to
show restraint in Croatia. And in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well, which is
turning into a dangerous place. If we werent talking to them, we would not
be able to tell them all these things.
DANAS: Many unconfirmed stories indicate that you prevented total war on
several occasions, using this type of influence?
Zimmerman: There is exaggeration in that. But I can say that the US has
always used the measure of influence it has to promote peace, not war. That
is why I say that we are most concerned with the possibility of a war
breaking out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We think it would be a horrible tragedy
which could have consequences on the situation in Croatia, which at the
present time looks promising.
DANAS: Does that mean you support Izetbegovics plan?
Zimmerman: Let me try to elaborate on our policy towards Bosnia-Herzegovina.
We firmly believe that the territorial integrity of every republic must be
preserved, and we clearly said to the Serbian government and the Army
leadership that we will never recognize any conquest in Croatia. Equally
important is the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is most
threatened at this moment by the Bosnian Serb leadership, which is attempting
to tear away a piece of it. We consider that extremely dangerous, and we said
so to the Army and the Serbian leadership.
Jared comments: Note how Zimmerman places matters upside down.
He speaks of maintaining the integrity of 'Bosnia' as if it were a national
entity. But historically a country called 'Bosnia' never existed. An
administrative unit called 'Bosnia' (similar to Rhode Island or South Dakota)
was created by the Tito government. That's it.
With this in mind, consider his statement that the US supports "the
territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is most threatened at this
moment by the Bosnian Serb leadership, which is attempting to tear away a
piece of it."
In fact, the Islamic Fundamentalist forces in Bosnia were trying to tear a
piece away from a real nation, recognized for 70 years - Yugoslavia. This
violated international law. The Islamists wanted to justify their secession
(that is, theft of territory) by holding a referendum. The Serbs boycotted
the referendum. The Islamists held it anyway, and won; but this violated the
Yugoslav constitution which required the approval of the three major ethnic
groups before extreme action could be taken. Moreover the secessionist
movement only existed based on foreign intrigue, personified by Mr.
Zimmerman. The Islamists would never have dared to push for secession without
the promise of outside (U.S.) help and in practice Mr. Zimmerman prodded
Islamist leader Izetbegovic into starting the Bosnian civil war.
The Bosnian Serbs had had grim experience with Islamic Fundamentalism during
W.W. II. Islamic Fundamentalists were important supporters of the Nazis in
Bosnia. They formed their own SS Division. They helped slaughter hundreds of
thousands of Serbs. The Islamist leader Elija Izetbegovic was a pro-Nazi
Islamic Fundamentalist youth organizer during the War.
Knowing the horror that would follow if foreign-backed Islamists once again
ruled Bosnia, the local Serbs wanted to stay with Yugoslavia. These Serbs,
mainly farmers, owned the majority of land in Bosnia. The Serbs wanted to
make sure that if Bosnian Islamists seceded the Serbs would not be forced to
live under their rule.
Zimmerman: As for Mr. Izetbegovic, we heard that some call him a Muslim
fundamentalist. We know what fundamentalism really does, as we were its
victims in Iran. That is why we do not believe that Izetbegovic is some sort
of fundamentalist. Actually, it seems like he is a moderate politician who is
trying to do the best in a difficult situation.
Jared's comments:The reasoning here is charmingly ostrich-like: Proof by
Rejection of Negative Consequence. 1) Fundamentalists are terrible. 2) It
would be terrible if Izetbegovic were a fundamentalist. 3) Therefore
Izetbegovic is not a fundamentalist.
Fortunately Izetbegovic wrote a book about his beliefs. It is called "The
Islamic Declaration" ("Islamska deklaracija"). Here's an excerpt:
"... The first and foremost of such conclusions is surely the one on the
incompatibility of Islam and non-Islamic systems. There can be no peace or
coexistence between the "Islamic faith" and non-Islamic societies and
political institutions. ... Islam clearly excludes the right and possibility
of activity of any strange ideology on its own turf. Therefore, there is no
question of any laicistic principles, and the state should be an expression
and should support the moral concepts of the religion. ..." (p. 22)
It is ironic that Zimmerman uses Iran as the example of what Izetbegovic is
not. Actually, Izetbegovic was especially fond of the Iranian
Fundamentalists. Moreover, the US encouraged Iran to smuggle arms and
terrorist trainers into Bosnia during the fighting, despite an embargo on
importing arms. When challenged about this at a Congressional hearing,
Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith confirmed that the US had indeed
approved the shipments.
Zimmerman: It appears to us that he needs help in his effort to resist the
partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I believe it would be tragic if someone
from the Croatian side would try cooperating with Serbia in the dismemberment
of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That would mean that Croatia is destroying the very
principle on the basis of which it won international support for its
DANAS: There are some very clear desires to that extent in Croatia.
Zimmerman: I read some hints to that effect in the Croatian press, so I have
to say that the dismemberment of Bosnia no matter who does it cannot win
the support of the United States. We would consider that a policy of
destabilization and a violation of international principles that could lead
to very unpleasant consequences in our relations.
Jared's comments:This is Theater of the Absurd. International law says
nothing about alteration of borders within a state. It only forbids the
destabilization inherent in altering national boundaries - which is precisely
what Zimmerman is supporting by insisting on the unimpeded creation of a new
state of Bosnia.
Zimmerman: I believe, therefore, that if there is a tendency in Croatia to
team up with Serbia in a break-up of Bosnia, that tendency must be overcome.
DANAS: American foreign policy is often based on two interlocking principles
a carrot and a stick. What would be a carrot and what would be the stick in
Zimmerman: That is a good question, and I will try to give a very specific
answer in regard to the war in Croatia. When the war is over and when Croatia
restores its full sovereignty upon the Armys withdrawal, that carrot and
that stick have to exist for the other side as well.
Jared comments: This is one of the best examples of the Orwellian rewriting
of reality, a special feature of the New World Order of which Zimmerman was a
key architect. Croatia had 'full sovereignty' only one time in history: that
was as the (Fascist-Clerical) Independent State of Croatia during the German
occupation of Yugoslavia.
Zimmerman: The stick would be that the United States or any other Western
country - to the best of my knowledge will never recognize any violation of
Croatias territorial integrity. In other words, the Croatian borders will
remain as they were before the war, there will be no changes of borders by
conquest. That stick would also be what I mentioned a moment ago. No one will
support any violent re-establishment of Yugoslavia.
Jared comments: Does this sound like the man is opposing the breakup of
DANAS: Any Yugoslavia?
Zimmerman: Any kind of Yugoslavia.
DANAS: Even the smallest one?
Zimmerman: We told Serbia and the Army clearly that we will not recognize
Serbia as Yugoslavias successor, that we will not recognize any so-called
Yugoslav government that is in fact just another Serb government.
That is why I do not wish to have any contact with Mr. Kostic, and why the
American government challenged the credentials of the Yugoslav delegation a
few days ago at the OSCE conference in Prague. But allow me to finish my
previous answer about sticks. Carrots are important, too, they form a part of
this reality. There are some problems with the rights of the Serb population
in Croatia. We do not think the way Serbia and the Army approached those
issues was justified, they went about it in a completely wrong way. But the
problem exists and I think that Croatia, if it wants a stable peace, should
be ready to grant a significant political autonomy to the Serb areas in
Croatia. We welcome as a good sign the fact that the Croatian assembly passed
the Minority Law, which is a great step along that road. I hope that Croatian
government will continue being so flexible, as it seems to me that a maximum
degree of political autonomy on the local level in Serb-inhabited areas will
be necessary. This is already a part of the UN peace plan on a provisional
basis, as well as Lord Carringtons plan, which counts on a longer time
frame. We think that every Serb leadership needs to be able to say that Serb
rights in Croatia are completely protected with international guarantees.
That would be in the interest of Croatia as well, as it would take a
significant problem off the agenda.
Jared comments: A number of points about this.
First, as we shall see below, the Croatian regime had launched a massive
campaign of terror against Serbian residents. Zimmerman is suggesting that
Serbia be induced to accept the breakup of Yugoslavia by dangling the carrot
of less violence towards Serbs in Croatia.
Second, Zimmerman avoids a discussion of the actual, day to day terror that
was being directed against Serbs in Croatia. Instead he expresses concern and
wishes and hopes for better treatment. The value of such US expressions of
concern became clear three years later when the US planned, led and provided
air cover for the eviction, carried out by the Croatian Army, of over 250,000
Serbs, mainly farmers, from the Krajina, which was claimed by Croatia. This
was the worst act of genocide in Europe since W.W.II.
To get an idea of the anti-Serb hatred whipped up by the Croatian government
throughout this period, read the following excerpt from a speech delivered by
Croatian President Tudjman after the anti-Serb campaign culminated in the
violent eviction of the Serbian population of the Krajina section. Here's
"There can be no return to the past, to the times when [Serbs] were spreading
cancer in the heart of Croatia, a cancer that was destroying the Croatian
national being." He [that is, Tudjman] then went on to speak of the
"ignominious disappearance" of the Serbs from Krajina "so it is as if they
have never lived here... They didn't even have time to take with them their
filthy money or their filthy underwear!" (From 'The invasion of Serbian
Krajina' by Greg Elich)
(CONTINUED , SEE NOTHING IS FOREVER, PART II
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