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  • 43


     
    Truths and Misconceptions
    Opinion; Posted on: 2007-08-23 07:27:33 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Empire's Rotten Serbia Policy

    by Nebojsa Malic

    In the August 2007 issue of Chronicles magazine, historian Srdja Trifkovic argues persuasively that the U.S. has painted itself into a corner with its Kosovo policy; a small patch of land in the Balkans, insignificant to American interests in Europe or the Middle East, has been made into a test of the American Empire and its ability to impose its will on the world a test that the Empire cannot pass.

    For years, U.S. policymakers have based their actions on the premise that Serbian leaders will yield to pressure and surrender Kosovo to ethnic Albanian separatists. Now it is becoming obvious that this assumption was wrong all along. The harder Washington presses for the separation of Kosovo, the more adamant Serbia is to defend it. Furthermore, the issue of Kosovo is eroding the already precarious public support in Serbia for joining the EU, while the support for NATO is nearly nonexistent.

    The first U.S. ambassador in the post-Milosevic Serbia, William Montgomery, did something unusual at the end of his mandate in 2004. Instead of moving on to another assignment, Montgomery bought a villa near Dubrovnik, in southern Croatia, and became a columnist for the Belgrade daily Danas (Today). His columns, a strange mix of personal insight and official propaganda, have become quite popular with the readers of Danas primarily "liberal-democrats" and the "human rights" crowd.

    The August 19 column, titled "Ten Inconvenient Truths about Serbia," received a lot of media attention in Belgrade. It could well be the perfect example of America's twisted thinking about this central Balkans country: a mixture of projection, false premises, ignorance, arrogance, and an inkling of truth.

    False Premises

    Montgomery opens his commentary by asserting that the "overwhelming majority" of Serbs suffers from a "disease" of nationalism. They have a different perception of the past two decades than "the rest of the world," and this "emotion" is preventing any sort of reform or a more "realistic" look at the past. Instead, he argues, there is "a vision of Serbia as an innocent victim of malevolent outside forces and bearing no responsibility for the ills which have befallen it."

    While it is true that the Serbs don't subscribe to the CNN version of their history, thanks to incessant propaganda and brainwashing, the dominant public opinion actually blames Milosevic for the calamities of the past 20 years including the NATO aggression and the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Croatia and Kosovo under U.S. and NATO auspices. Serbs do regard themselves as victims, but of Milosevic, not outside forces. They still regard the Empire as essentially benevolent which, given the American and European support of neo-Nazis, Islamic militants and terrorists so long as they opposed the Serbs, can only be classified as Stockholm syndrome.

    Montgomery was one of the key players in organizing the Serbian opposition in the months preceding the 2000 coup, funneling "suitcases of cash" to various anti-Milosevic groups. Now, however, he acts surprised that the Serbs wanted to live better, rather than accept the blame for all the Balkans ills. Policies and demands of the West since 2000 "were based on the false premise that the Serbian people had repudiated nationalism," he complains.

    False premises? There's a lot of that going around.

    Full Article
    News Source: Antiwar.com

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