Thursday, July 26, 2007


When Boris Yeltsin died in April, I almost wrote about it. Instead, I figured I couldn't do a better job than Justin Raimondo and decided differently. But in the draft I had put together was a thesis that at the time seemed far-fetched: that the 1999 NATO attack on Yugoslavia was what a straw that broke the camel's back, and soured Russia on the rising American Empire. I now regret not publishing that, because it has just been corroborated - and by none other than the most famed Soviet dissident!

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in an interview to Germany's Der Spiegel, says this:

When I returned to Russia in 1994, the Western world and its states were practically being worshipped. Admittedly, this was caused not so much by real knowledge or a conscious choice, but by the natural disgust with the Bolshevik regime and its anti-Western propaganda. This mood started changing with the cruel NATO bombings of Serbia. It's fair to say that all layers of Russian society were deeply and indelibly shocked by those bombings. The situation then became worse when NATO started to spread its influence and draw the ex-Soviet republics into its structure. [...] So, the perception of the West as mostly a "knight of democracy" has been replaced with the disappointed belief that pragmatism, often cynical and selfish, lies at the core of Western policies. For many Russians it was a grave disillusion, a crushing of ideals.

When Austria-Hungary threatened war with Serbia in 1914, Russia backed Belgrade. Not because it could handle a war at that point, or because such a course of action was in its best interest - arguably, neither was the case - but because in 1908 it had stood aside and allowed Vienna to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina in clear violation of the 1878 treaty that was supposed to create peace in the Balkans.

For modern Russia, 1999 was another 1908. They don't want another 1914. But the American Empire is acting like Austria-Hungary, even to the point of having an Austrian-born, Serbophobic U.S. ambassador in Belgrade...

Of course, the analogy only goes so far; even so, the Empire ought to realize that Moscow is really serious this time. As is Belgrade, custom-made polls notwithstanding. It is now clear that the 1999 war "lost Russia." Somehow, the worshipful embrace of Albanian peasants seems a bad bargain in comparison.

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