"Slobo" etc.

John Cox hazel_motes52 at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 15 09:58:29 MST 2002

>Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 11:38:01 -0500
>From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
>Subject: Re: Questions about "Slobo"

>The western liberal and social democratic intelligentsia have totally
>bought into the demonization of the Serbs. Except for people like Elich,
>the late Sean Gervasi, Diana Johnstone and Michael Parenti, you get the
>picture of a marauding bunch of Serb thugs who seek nothing in life except
>to oppress other nationalities. On January 30 Milosevic quite correctly
>pointed out that some 350,000 Serbs were expelled from Kosovo under UN

The number was probably closer to 200,000, as the pre-1998 population was 
less than 350,000--"Slobo," like Parenti, is a little fast-and-loose with 
his figures--but obviously the point is correct, that the post-bombing 
ethnic cleansing of Serbs and Roma-Sinti from Kosovo elicited little 
righteous indignation (or even notice) from the left-liberal intelligentsia. 
But of course the "international community" was immune by this time to 
humane considerations for the Serbs, who, like the 11 million Germans who 
were expelled from Czechoslavakia and elsewhere at the end of WWII-- about 
1.5 million being killed in the process--had been deemed collectively 

>Diana Johnstone:
>The current campaign to demonize the Serbs began in July 1991 with a
>virulent barrage of articles in the German media, led by the influential
>conservative newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). In almost
>daily columns, FAZ editor Johann Georg Reismüller justified the freshly,
>and illegally, declared "independence" of Slovenia and Croatia by
>describing "the Yugo-Serbs" as essentially Oriental "militarist Bolsheviks"
>who have "no place in the European Community."

The role of Germany in supporting the far-right Tudjman party, draped in the 
colors of the war-time Ustashi fascists, is not very well known here in 
Germany, from what I can tell. Tudjman was not only fortunate to have the 
support of Germany and the United States (some of his militias were trained 
by a U.S. outfit that is run by ex-high-ranking U.S. officers, and that 
works closely with the Pentagon), but he was canny enough to avail himself 
of the services of certain high-powered public-relations firms, such as 
Rudder-Finn. Thus the single biggest ethnic cleansing operation of the 
1991-95 wars--the expulsion of 300,000 Serbs from Krajina--was little 
noticed in the "democratic West."
The demonization of the Serbs was not always as unanimous or as thorough as 
many of us remember it, though. Clinton, Major, Albright and others 
contented themselves for some time with ignorant commentaries about "ethnic 
strife going back centuries" etc. As late as 1996, Douglas Hurd was meeting 
with Milosevic to negotiate political and economic deals, and "Slobo" had 
not been written off as a possible partner in the efforts of the 
imperialists. I think that it was not always so easy for the U.S. and 
British to discern exactly on which side their interests lay, and, related 
to this, who was going to win, so there was some back-and-forth in the early 
and mid-90s. The ridiculous Vance-Owen plan was calculated to prolong the 
warfare, in part to give the imperialists more time, while further bleeding 
the country.
>Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 11:38:42 -0500
>From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
>Subject: Forwarded from John Enyang
>John Cox wrote:
> > Milosevic's aversion to the IMF/World Bank could well have
> > been motivated by a desire to avoid scrutiny, as well as competition;
> > the devastation of the wars of the 1990s also rendered Yugoslavia
> > somewhat less attractive to international investors than, for example,
> > the Czech Republic.
> >
>This is completely back to front. In other words it's shot through with
>bourgeois ideology.
>The best, in fact the only way to AVOID scrutiny is to bow to the dictates
>of Western capital and its instruments such as the WB/IMF.

Okay, my apologies for so shamelessly promoting "bourgeois ideology" on the 
listserv. The point was that the corrupt clique around Milosevic may have 
believed that their control--and ownership--of substantial portions of the 
economy could have been threatened, and with little benefit, as the 
destruction and instability of several years of war did not help to attract 
investment. I offered this as one possible explanation for "Slobo's" 
new-found distaste for international capitalism in the late 1990s. (I'm 
starting from the assumption that the oft-asserted opposition of Milosevic 
to the IMF had some source other than socialist principle, or desire to 
defend the standard of living of his people, but I'm willing to be convinced 
otherwise by evidence.) Of course the World Bank and IMF thrive on 
corruption etc., but perhaps the shadowy Karic Brothers, to take one 
example--some old friends of Milosevic who controlled much of Serbia's 
foreign trade--were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of some nosy 
bureaucrats from Washington appearing on their doorstep.

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