Sunday, May 08, 2005

Vuk Draskovic's Private Politics

It wasn't enough for the maverick Foreign Minister of Serbia-Montenegro to attack Serbia's security service in a Financial Times interview back in April. Now he's gone and asked NATO to intervene and "overhaul" Serbian security. Here's the leader of a Reuters article from May 2:
Serbia and Montenegro called on NATO to help overhaul Belgrade’s security services on Monday, saying this would boost efforts to transfer top war crimes fugitives like Ratko Mladic to The Hague tribunal.

The agency presumes Draskovic is Serbia, since foreign ministers usually represent their countries in foreign media. But for a long time now, Draskovic has represented only himself. Driven by a pathological obsession with secret services, and convinced that a grand conspiracy of spies tried to kill him twice, he continued to focus on his personal agenda, rather than his job.

Remember, back in April he told told Financial Times that the Serbian security service (BIA) knew the whereabouts of Ratko Mladic:
"It is only logical that the security services know where Mladic is. They know if he is in Serbia, and they know if he is not. They are paid to know …"

The Hague Inquisition and its partisans rejoiced. BIA chief Rade Bulatovic rejected the insinuation, calling the FM irresponsible and his claim "not based on evidence." And that was that. In any other country in the world, Draskovic would have faced at least censure, and certainly a parliamentary inquiry. Government officials throughout the world have been forced to resign over far more innocuous remarks. Yet official Belgrade didn't even give him the proverbial slap on the wrist. Emboldened by this kind of impunity, Draskovic took it to the next level with this recent statement to Reuters.

Fortunately, an Alliance spokesman rightly dismissed Draskovic's logorrhea, saying that Serbia-Montenegro "already has a programme of cooperation which offers quite a lot of what PfP offers to partner nations." While this means NATO is far more involved in Serbia than it should be, it also means Draskovic's sycophantic rants are recognized as such.

It appears that Draskovic is following closely in the footsteps of his Dossie predecessor, the treacherous Goran Svilanovic, whose most recent initiative involved agitation for an independent, Albanian Kosovo as part of the "Independent commission on the Balkans." He, too, pursued private agendas as Belgrade's foreign minister, and never got called to account for it. In any case, Draskovic ought to be sacked. Even a Montenegrin separatist - something Podgorica proposed just recently - could hardly do worse as his replacement.

Horrifying and embarrassing as they are, Draskovic's antics are just the tip of the iceberg. At this point, one has to wonder what goes through the mind of Serbian PM Vojislav Kostunica, who was behind the appointments of both Svilanovic and Draskovic, and whose government currently survives thanks in no small part to support from Draskovic's party. His other major coalition partner, Miroljub Labus of the G-17 Plus, is also known for usurping government authority for the sake of personal agendas. As a matter of fact, it seems every two-bit politician associated with the current government has a greater role in policy-making than Kostunica, who is hardly ever heard from. A year later, it's come down to "meet the new DOS, same as the old DOS."

UPDATE: I remain convinced Draskovic is clinically insane, but if so, he must be bipolar. I just heard reports that on Sunday, he said that a good model for Kosovo would be South Tyrol (here's the interview in question). In that part of Italy, the "Austrian majority has practical sovereignty, while the Italian minority has special rights." Now, the Albanians have rejected this proposal (they say they won't accept anything short of independence), but it still makes a surprising amount of sense. This leads me to believe that when he isn't ranting about the secret police, Draskovic may have a thought or two worth listening to. And that makes all this so much more tragic, doesn't it?

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