[Marxism] Clinton, Kerry and Kosovo
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jun 24 08:51:39 MDT 2004
Counterpunch, June 24, 2004
Clinton, Kerry and Kosovo
The Lie of a "Good War"
By DIANE JOHNSTONE
For U.S. politicians, if all wars are good, some are better than others.
Democrats prefer Clinton wars and Republicans prefer Bush wars. But in
the end, they almost unanimously come together to support all wars. The
differences concern the choice of official rationale..
To suggest subtle criticism of the Republican war against Iraq, while
making it clear that they are by no means opposed to war as such, the
2004 Democratic election campaigners can be expected to glorify the
Kosovo war. The prominence of General Wesley Clark in the Democratic
camp makes that quite clear.
John Kerry's foreign policy adviser Will Marshall of the Progressive
Policy Institute, author of "Democratic Realism: the Third Way", points
to the exemplary nature of the 1999 "<U.S.-led> intervention in Kosovo".
It was "a policy consciously based on a mix of moral values and security
interests with the parallel goals of halting a humanitarian tragedy and
ensuring NATO's credibility as an effective force for regional stability".
The "humanitarian" rationale sounds better than the "weapons of mass
destruction" or the "links to Al Qaeda" which never existed. But then,
the "genocide"from which the NATO war allegedly saved the Albanians of
Kosovo never existed either.
But while the WMD deception has been exposed, the founding lie behind
the Kosovo war is still widely believed. It effectively distracts from
the very existence of the what Marshall calls the "parallel goal"of
strengthening NATO. Aside from the crippling material damage inflicted
on the targeted country, the Kosovo lie has caused even more irreparable
damage to relations between the Serb and Albanian inhabitants of Kosovo.
The situation in that small province of multiethnic Serbia was the
result of a long and complex history of conflict, frequently encouraged
and exploited by outside powers, notably by the support to Albanian
nationalism by the Axis powers in World War II. Each community accused
the other of plotting "ethnic cleansing" and even "genocide". But there
were reasonable people on both sides willing to work out a compromise
solution. The constructive role of outsiders would have been to calm the
paranoid tendencies in both communities and support constructive
initiatives. Indeed, the Kosovo problem could have been easily managed,
and eventually solved, had the Great Powers so desired. But as in the
past, the Great Powers exploited and aggravated the ethnic conflicts for
their own purposes. In total ignorance of the complex history of the
region, sheeplike politicians and media echoed and amplified the most
extreme nationalist Albanian propaganda. This provided NATO with its
pretext to demonstrate "credibility". The Great Powers have in effect
told the Albanians that all their worst accusations against the Serbs
were true. Even Albanians know who know better (such as Veton Surroi)
are intimidated and silenced by the racist nationalists backed by the
The result is disastrous. Empowered by their official status as unique
victims of Serb iniquity, the Albanians of Kosovo -- and especially the
youth, raised on a decade of nationalist myth -- can give free rein to
their cultivated hatred of the Serbs. Armed Albanian nationalists
proceeded to drive the Serbian and gypsy populations out of the
province. Those remaining do not dare venture out of their ghettos.
Albanians willing to live with the Serbs risk being murdered. Ever since
the NATO-led force (KFOR) marched into Kosovo in June 1999, violent
persecution of Serbs and Roma has been regularly described as "revenge"
-- which in the Albanian tradition is considered the summit of virtuous
conduct. Describing the murder of elderly women in their homes or
children at play as acts of "revenge" is a way of excusing or even
approving the violence.
Last March 17, following the false accusation that Serbs were
responsible for the accidental drowning of three Albanian children,
organized mobs of Albanians, including many teenagers, rampaged through
Kosovo destroying 35 Serbian Orthodox Christian churches and
monasteries, some of them artistic gems dating from the fourteenth
century. Well over a hundred churches had already been attacked with
fire and explosives in the past five years. The objective is quite
clearly to erase all historic trace of centuries of Serb presence, the
better to assert their claim to an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo.
The self-satisfaction of the "international community" was severely
shaken by the March violence. The occasional KFOR units that tried to
protect Serb sites found themselves in armed clashes with Albanian mobs.
In the wake of the rampages, Finnish politician Harri Holkeri resigned
two months before expiration of his one-year renewable mandate as head
of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) supposed to administer the province.
He was the fourth to get out of the job as fast as he could. Apparently
on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Holkeri lamented to a press
conference that UNMIK has no intelligence service of its own, and had
received no prior hint of the March pogroms. In short, the mass of
international administrators, military occupation forces and
non-governmental agencies have no idea what is going on in the province
they are theoretically running. Indicating his awareness that the only
role left for UNMIK was that of scapegoat, Holkeri warned of "difficult
days ahead". That is a safe prediction.
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