Friday, August 26, 2005

Against the "Strategic Class"

In the run-up to the 2004 U.S. elections, I pointed out the lack of difference between a Democratic and a Republican empire, drawing a parallel - as all too few have - between the Bushite "War on terrorism" and the Clintonite "Humanitarian crusade."

Now it seems that some Democrats are finally coming to understand that their "strategic class" (as Ari Berman of The Nation masterfully put it) is just as imperialist, if not more, than the neocons. Berman actually lays out a whole hierarchical pyramid of imperialists on the Democrat side, starting with Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton in the Senate, through Richard Holbrooke, Mad Madeleine Albright and Jamie Rubin in the gray diplomacy, down to think-tanks like the Council of Foreign Relations (strangely, not mentioning the ICG) and pundits like Thomas "give war a chance" Friedman.

But Berman is unable to answer his own question - "Why is the assumption of interventionism dominant in Washington's foreign policy discourse?" - because of a logical handicap. As Justin Raimondo explains this morning:
...there is a "simple answer," and it is the natural tendency of the Washington elites to assume the efficacy of government action as the solution to all problems. The "strategic class" is founded, after all, on the premise that the U.S. must intervene – militarily and otherwise – in the affairs of other nations in order to secure its own "national interests." The question isn't whether or not to intervene, but what strategy ought to underpin our intervention. (emphasis added)

The unspoken argument is that both the Democrats' "strategic class" and the Republican neocons are working hand-in-hand, complementing each others' efforts, to destroy what is left of the American republic and replace it with an American Empire.

Raimondo - no Democrat by any stretch of imagination - holds out hope that the Democrats will find some way to reclaim their Jeffersonian heritage; that, by challenging not just this war but imperial intervention in general they will manage to argue themselves out of their menshevik ideology. Perhaps he is being too much of an optimist. Individual redemption is possible - I went from a Communist Pioneer to an anarcho-capitalist libertarian, though the road wasn't easy. But collective redemption of an entire party? It's almost easier to believe the present-day Republicans will resurrect the Old Right...

The best I can hope for at this time is that the Democrats' Balkans policy, recently co-opted by Bush II, will become associated with the catastrophe in Iraq, and scrapped by the time the next election comes around.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Antiwar Verse

Rudyard Kipling's poetry, though good, was in the service of promoting the Empire of the day - in his case, the British. Richard Cummings of writes Kiplingesque verse against the empire of the day - in this case, American.

Here is just a sample, to whet your appetite:
The bombs that you dropped
Left Fallujah in rubble,
For the stench there can't be any words.
But no one could tell
In this bloody hell,
Were they Sunnis, or Shi'ites or Kurds?
Read the whole thing here.

If I had any poetic talent whatsoever, I would try to try to adapt this to the Balkans; but beyond "Were they Muslims, or Croats, or Serbs?" nothing comes to mind.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Missing the Plot

I was reading today's LRC, and I caught this fantastic quip by the always wise Bill Bonner:
"Watching the news is a bit like watching a bad opera. You can tell from all the shrieking that something very important is supposed to be happening; but you don't quite know what it is. What you're missing is the plot."

If there is a better description of mainstream news nowadays, I've yet to hear it. Of course, the "plot" that does emerge from all the shrieks of deliberate (or sometimes not) disinformation is the Official Truth, a shoddy work of fiction that is nonetheless taken at face value by the masses simply because they cannot conceive being lied to on such a grand scale. But just because one cannot grasp something, that something is no less real.

(Off-topic here, I was thinking of posting an apology for the relative paucity of posts lately, and the absence of Balkan Express, but then I realized I'd already said, right in the beginning, that I'll post as often - or as little - as I felt necessary. So I'll just chalk it all up to August heat exhaustion and move along.)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

"Shoot the first Serb..."

According to the Belgrade daily "Srpski Nacional," the commander of Zagreb riot police, one Zvonimir Vitjak, threatened the Serb soccer fans planning to attend a match between Belgrade's Crvena Zvezda and a Croatian team.

"We'll shoot the first Serb who tries to make trouble. There will be no mercy for Belgraders, if they so much as think of disturbing the peace here... No matter how many Serbs come, we are ready to meet them," Vitjak is quoted as saying.

He added, "We all remember the Serb who carried the photo of Draža Mihailović on Jelačić Square. I promise I will personally deal with every Serb that gets a similar idea... I don't care that this is a European game. I will do anything to preserve the dignity of all Croats." (all emphasis added)

This racist drivel comes on the heels of last week's celebration of the August 1995 ethnic cleansing of Serbs. It's an illustration of the extent to which Serbs are hated in Croatia. Vitjak wasn't warning Zvezda fans, or hooligans, he was warning Serbs. He wasn't speaking of upholding the law, but of preserving Croatian "dignity."

Earlier this year (March), a riot in Zagreb targeted athletes, journalists and fans from Serbia after a handball game between a home team and Belgrade's Partizan. No arrests were made. Somehow I don't think Mr. Vitjak was too concerned with Croats who were "disturbing the peace" by beating up Serbs. After all, probably considering it a patriotic duty, it's what he would do.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Help fund

I'm sure all the faithful readers of Balkan Express have already donated to, to help keep it going for another quarter. I mean, they do provide far more in the way of news and opinion that your mainstream media, and charge nothing for it but what you give of your own volition. That alone is far more honest than the mainstream media, who take your money, then tell you lies - and lots of them.

You want lies? Go somewhere else. You want the truth - if you can handle it! - read And if you don't think the truth is worth a couple of dollars, then frankly, I don't even want to know you.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Whipping Boy

It has long been obvious that the Serbs are the Empire's designated culprit in the Balkans. But it now appears they are becoming the whipping boy for just about everything, including the troubles the Empire is having with the jihad. At least some in Serbia are aware of this, and may yet be able to put an end to the thugs in power, who slavishly race to please the Empire by beating up on their own, already battered, people.

War of Values

Željko Vuković

Večernje Novosti, 30 July 2005

What would happen if 2/3 of Serbia's Muslims were considering emigrating to another country, fearing Christian Serbs? And if they documented their fear by the fact that one in five of them had endured some kind of assault or humiliation in the past week? And if the official figure of 1200 incidents of attacks on Muslims in Serbia were an understatement of reality, which ranged from insults to mosque-torchings and even murder?

Why, the democratic-humanist lynch mobs would rise instantly to protect the endangered and frightened Muslims from the aggressive, primitive Serbs. Maybe the new Draskovic-Sheffer pact could save us from another merciful bombing, but we would certainly not escape harsh economic sanctions and other collective punishment. Because when the democratic, humanitarian West hears that its Balkans Muslims are getting hurt, it cries and rages and knows no mercy.

Only, the Muslims who are considering emigration and fear assault and humiliation don't live in Serbia, but in the UK! They fear not Serbs, but those very same Brits who so conscientiously care for Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo. Of course, the British will never be collectively blamed, let alone punished, for these assaults on their fellow Muslim citizens. The people to pay the price will again be - the Serbs!

Oh yes. Because every time the Western powers clash with Muslims, whether at home or in Iraq, Afghanistan or another Muslim country, they crack the whip over Serbia. To show the world that their military interventions and intolerance are not driven by hatred of Islam and Muslims in general, they decide to help the Muslims of the Balkans.

That is why the British foreign secretary, during the week when British Muslims dared not step out of their homes, made a quick hop to Potocari to tell the world how the British sympathize with Bosnian Muslims and would do everything that the crimes against them are not forgotten or unpunished. Meanwhile, the British viceroy in Bosnia, Paddy Ashdown, has pushed for abolishing the Serb Republic, as that would be the best proof of how much his country and the West care for the wishes and needs of the brotherly Muslims.

This is why London and Washington are stubbornly keeping silent abouot Al-Qaeda and other "holy warriors" in Bosnia and Kosovo. But they think of Serbs as soon as a terrorist bomb explodes on their doorstep! Only a few hours after the London explosions, the British media were reporting the explosives used were purchased in Serbia. They have yet to report that the two British-Muslim organizations suspected of terrorist attacks in London and ties to Al-Qeada, have been active in Bosnia and Kosovo for years.

Were Serbs to become more pacifist than Gandhi, it would change nothing. They would still remain the nation whose chastising is supposed to paint the false picture of Western hegemons' democracy and humanism.

So, whenever there is news of a terrorist attack in some Western country, or if a Western power starts to deal with its own, or non-Balkans Muslims, the Serbs should beware; they are about to suffer next.