Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Without A Doubt

The choice of Martti Ahtisaari to lead the "negotiations" over the fate of occupied Kosovo should have been yet another warning sign to anyone in Serbia still in possession of a shred of sanity. The Finn was not only instrumental in "negotiating" a ceasefire in 1999 that NATO proceeded to treat as unconditional surrender, he proceeded to serve on the board of the International Crisis Group along with Gen. Wesley Clark. Even without Clark, the ICG has established itself as a violently Serbophobic supporter of Imperial intervention in the Balkans, and its platform of independence for (Albanian) Kosovo, separatist Montenegro and centralized Bosnia has been adopted as official US policy back in May.

Given all that, there should be absolutely no doubt as to what "status" he - or more accurately, the interests he represents - will work towards when the "talks" start next year. After Rambouillet, the bombing, and the occupation (with its ethnic cleansing and plunder), can anyone still seriously believe the "international community" (i.e. the Empire) will not award Kosovo to the Albanians? Of course, since the Empire wants to keep Albanians in its thrall, the process won't be quick, straightforward or simple; there will be many strings attached. But the intent is clear, beyond reasonable doubt.

Ahtisaari himself dropped another clue yesterday, telling reporters in Pristina how he could envision Kosovo as self-sufficient. "I think there is in the future the possibility for sustainable economic development," he's quoted by Reuters. Kosovo has abundant natural resources, and "(e)veryone wants to create conditions in which these can be properly exploited."

This is so self-explanatory, it doesn't need further comment. What does, however, is the idiotic "logic" of the witless quislings in Belgrade, who instead of making their case for Kosovo on grounds of law, sovereignty and principle prattle on about "preserving stability" and "endangering democracy" and how and independent Kosovo would not be self-sufficient.

Ahtisaari has just done a hatchet job on that last "argument," while the previous two are entirely vacuous to begin with. "Stability" and "democracy" are whatever the Empire says they are. Why would every report on Kosovo mention the "90% Albanian majority" if not to create the impression their desire for independence is democratic? (democracy = majority rule) As for stability... who is it that threatens violence and bloodshed if they don't get their way, Serbs or Albanians? Right. So, keeping the Albanians from getting medieval serves the interests of stability far better than not sticking it to the Serbs. They aren't likely to go on a rampage, set roadside and suicide bombs, or assassinate people, after all.

Ahtisaari's slip - or was it? - about Kosovo's abundant resources should be the final tip-off to everyone with even a single functioning brain cell as to what the "international community" intends to do. The real question now is how to stop it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Freedom, Real and Imagined

From an article by Joseph Sobran, titled National Socialism Comes to America:

"Americans are still permitted to do a great many things, though not as many things as their ancestors could take for granted. Fine. But permission isn’t freedom. The privilege of a subject isn’t the right of a free man. If you can own only what the government permits you to own, then in essence the government owns you. We no longer tell the state what our rights are; it tells us.

Such is the servitude Americans are now accustomed to under an increasingly bureaucratic state. Permission, often in the form of legal licensing, is the residue of the old freedom; but we’re supposed to think that this is still “the land of the free,” and that we owe our freedom to the state, its laws, and especially its wars. The more the state grows — that is, the more it fulfills the character of national socialism — the freer we’re told we are."

These past several weeks, while I wasn't posting on the blog, I've been thinking about the American bureaucratic state and comparing it to the Socialist Yugoslavia of my youth. Back then, people had a distrust of government born out of many failed promises, and decades of experience with "gaming" the bureaucratic system to provide themselves and their relatives the services (monopolized by the state, and therefore both unreliable and shabby) they needed. We understood we were better of than Soviet client-states and even the USSR itself, but few fully realized the reason for that was a higher degree of economic liberty. To further complicate things, much of our "prosperity" was a result of easy credit, fueled by IMF and World Bank loans.

Now I look at the country where I've lived for almost 10 years, and I see the same state-supremacist thinking I grew up with in Socialism, the same credit boondoggles that preceded my country's downfall, the same bureaucratic incompetence that we used to joke about, then circumvent (something not easily achieved here). Add to that the gargantuan military, the National Security state, and a dictatorial Emperor - um, President, yes - and a population 10 times that of Yugoslavia in 1991, and the problems that killed my country are that much more amplified in this one.

But hey, people believe they are free - even though that word has lost all its meaning for them long ago. If you're completely oblivious to something, you can't really miss it when it disappears, right?