The Mixed Motives behind NATO's War against Yugoslavia- Diana Johnstone

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Tue Mar 27 15:49:40 MST 2001

Deception and Self-Deception:

The Mixed Motives behind NATO's War against Yugoslavia

        by Diana Johnstone (7-09-00)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

        First my thanks to the Institute for kindly inviting me to take part in this
conference. My subject relates to lies and deception, and this very
morning when I turned on BBC television I heard another lie: the
description of people marking the anniversary of the start of the NATO
bombing by protests as "supporters of Milosevic". Personally, I am
certainly not here to support Milosevic -- Yugoslav politics are the
business of the Yugoslavs, not my business. I am here to express
solidarity with the people of Yugoslavia who have been unjustly subjected
to bombing, economic sanctions, political isolation and slander, and with
all the people in the world who want peace and the rule of international
law. My presence here is in protest against the cruelty of the self-styled
humanitarians who wield enormous economic and technological power
without a trace of wisdom or compassion, whose wealth and military
might have brought them to the state of mind which the ancient Greeks
called hubris.

"Humanitarian Intervention"

        Aggressive wars and imperial enterprises usually cloak themselves in
noble pretexts. Each pretext must seem plausible in its own historical
period. The notion of "humanitarian intervention" grew out of a
combination of contemporary factors: the drastic decline of progressive
political thinking at the end of the Cold War, the decline of the protective
role of the weaker national governments, the rise of "non-governmental
organizations", the multiplication of internal armed conflicts often along
ethnic lines. In the early nineties, it was being theorized by one of the
most prestigious of United States "think tanks" the Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace. In 1992, the Carnegie Endowment published a
book entitled Self-Determination in the New World Order, which
foreshadowed the policy of the Clinton administration in Kosovo, since it
was the product of a team of policy-makers who went on the design that
        In the post-Cold War world, the Carnegie Endowment study noted,
"groups within states are staking claims to independence, greater
autonomy, or the overthrow of an existing government, all in the name of
self-determination". In regard to these conflicts, "American interests and
ideals compel a more active role".
        So allow me to quote: "As of mid-1992, neither the United States nor
the world community has reached a point where humanitarian calamities
resulting from self-determination claims or internal repression
automatically trigger collective military intervention to accomplish strictly
humanitarian objectives. But humanitarian intervention will become
increasingly unavoidable."
        What is noteworthy here is that the United States policy-makers
proposed "collective military intervention", and not any sort of diplomatic
or political solution, as the inevitable outcome of "self-determination
claims", which could be expected to meet with "internal repression". And
already in 1992, this military action was labeled "humanitarian
        The statement that "humanitarian intervention will become
increasingly unavoidable" was a self-fulfilling prophecy in the unusually
literal sense that those who made it helped it come true. The 1992 book,
Self-Determination in the New World Order, was the product of a group of
foreign policy specialists brought together by the Carnegie Endowment
President to work out new policy options for the post-Cold War period.
That president was Morton Abramowitz, a former U.S. ambassador to
Thailand who has specialized in intelligence matters, and who went on to
be a champion of the U?K and an advisor to the Kosovo Albanian
delegation at Rambouillet; Abramowitz has since become president of the
influential Council on Foreign Relations. He is also on the board of the
International Crisis Group, the Brussels-based think-tank that formulates
policy options for the "international community" in Bosnia and Kosovo,
and is financed by both Western governments and private foundations,
notably the Soros foundation. The Abramowitz group of specialists that
pondered the theory of "humanitarian intervention" in the early 1990s
included Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke and Leon Feurth, who is
the foreign policy advisor to Albert Gore, now vice president and leading
candidate for the presidency to succeed Clinton. The authors of the book
I have cited on Self-Determination in the New World Order were Morton
Halperin, head of State Department policy planning under Madeleine
Albright, and David Scheffer, who is Albright's special envoy for war
crimes issues.

rest available at:

Macdonald Stainsby
Rad-Green List: Radical anti-capitalist environmental discussion.
Leninist-International: Building bridges in the tradition of V.I. Lenin.
In the contradiction lies the hope.
                                     --Bertholt Brecht

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