Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Belgrade Paralyzed

Another excellent analysis from Srdja Trifkovic of Chronicles was posted on their website today. His visit to Serbia left him with an impression that the Belgrade authorities are "paralyzed." To which extent that paralysis comes from ineptitude, malice, a wrong reading of the situation or a combination of all three is up for discussion, but doesn't alter one whit the fact that Serbia is "the most threatened and the most poorly defended polity in today’s Europe."

Trifkovic identifies six key issues, each a killer in its own right:
  1. intended amputation of Kosovo;
  2. centralization of Bosnia and abolition of the Serbian autonomy there;
  3. ongoing separatism in Montenegro, contrary to the wishes of most of its people;
  4. ongoing threats and pressure from the Hague Inquisition;
  5. economic destruction caused by bad government policies;
  6. "white plague"- birthrates so low, the nation is slowly dying out.
The first five, at least, are government-related, and can be resolved in that arena. The last problem is more intractable, and can only be countered with a societal and cultural revival - but one can argue (and I do) that the climate for it would be right once the burden of tyranny is lifted from the people's shoulders. Of course, they themselves ought to do some of the bloody lifting... but I'm getting off-topic.

Trifkovic mentions a climate in which "Internecine squabbling prevails ... with different groups, political parties, and influential individuals acting as free agents, or—some Belgraders suspect—as foreign agents."

"Even where nefarious motives appear to be absent, ineptitude prevails," he continues, citing the recent trip of President Tadic to Libya, which lacked even the elementary preparatory work:
"The art of improvisation at which the Serbs excel saved the day in this particular case, and a number of potentially lucrative contracts were initiated in Tripoli; but that is clearly no way to run a country."

Trifkovic is not as harsh on Tadic as I've sometimes been, though my own take is somewhat confounded by the President's behavior; one minute he is making a coherent argument, the other he's saying something unbelievably stupid. For all I know, Tadic's intentions might be entirely honest and honorable, but he keeps screwing up. Trifkovic suggests his advisors could be to blame:
"[Tadic's] team of advisors does not inspire full confidence that his positions will be uniformly consistent in the future. It includes some highly capable analysts... but it also includes at least two active supporters of the postmodern 'pro-Western' paradigm whose values are flawed, who have been personally bankrolled by 'the international community' and whose loyalty to their country is at best suspect."

On the government front, PM Vojislav Kostunica (a personal friend of Trifkovic's) is routinely sabotaged by "former" Dossies of the G17-Plus, who control the government's economic policy (which clarifies issue 5 above):
"[Miroljub] Labus and his chief party colleague, finance minister Mladjan Dinkic, are consistently undermining cabinet unity by ostensibly agreeing to a certain position at ministerial meetings and then promptly proceeding to advocate a different, often completely contrary position, in public utterances and media interviews."

Curiously, he does not mention Vuk Draskovic, the charlatan in charge of the Foreign Ministry who seems to forget he's also a junior partner in Kostunica's coalition. Draskovic has been doing far more damage than Tadic lately, and unlike the president, hasn't done anything good to atone for it. That's a strange omission in an otherwise brilliant analysis.

Anyway, Trifkovic proposes a way out of the present conundrum would be for Kostunica to bring the Radicals into the government. IMHO, there's about a 30% chance that could work the way he says, with Kostunica successfully tempering the Radicals' rhetoric and getting credit for it. I think it's much more likely that Serbia's foreign detractors will jump on the opportunity to further demonize the "ultranationalists," not to mention the orgy of white-hot fury pouring out from the Jacobins and globalists within Serbia, and the demagogic effect it (most unfortunately) has on a lot of otherwise decent people.

And yet, as Trifkovic notes, what's the alternative? Continuing along the present course is obviously leading into disaster. What Trifkovic deliberately terms a "radical turn" could actually make things better. The Empire and the quislings certainly demonize the Radicals furiously, almost as if their coming to power is a real threat - not to Serbia, as they keep saying, but their own plans for it.

I don't think the Radicals would be a panacea, but I am also disinclined to see them as Nazis incarnate. The Empire, on the other hand, has done plenty to invite just such a comparison. And the quislings - who often boast of Jacobinism and compete in foulness - may have the right, but certainly have no standing, to make value judgments.

Trifkovic's analysis pretty much corroborates my own, which was based - in absence of access to government officials and diplomats - on interpreting media reports and a little bit of personal observation, when I was in Serbia around Christmas. Hell of a thing to be right about, though.

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