Saturday, February 28, 2009

Proof in the Pudding

Three weeks back, I wrote about the predictions made by Russian academic Igor Panarin, one of which was that the U.S. is heading for a breakup.

Two days ago, there was a piece on LRC by Will Grigg (of Pro Libertate), concerning the comments made by AG Eric Holder about racial politics in America. Grigg points out the agenda behind the race politics:

It would obviously be to the advantage of our rulers for Americans to think of ourselves as members of ethic collectives that they define for their purposes. The most obvious of those purposes would be simply to keep us divided and inconsolably hostile toward each other. This process, as Holder probably understands, begins with supplying a racial subtext for discussion of practically every public issue of consequence. As the economic decline accelerates, the temptation to racialize our grievances will become more seductive to an ever-greater number of people.

Unscrupulous, power-hungry governments exploiting identity politics to grab power in the aftermath of an economic implosion - now that sounds eerily familiar. That's Yugoslavia all over again.

Continues Grigg:

The unalloyed truth is that our rulers intend to make helots out of all of us, irrespective of race, creed, or color, and to that end they are eager to exploit the potential for conflict created by those divisions.

Perhaps the best we can hope for would be that the Regime will press too hard, too soon, causing the "union" to disintegrate with relatively little violence. Since there is, quite literally, not enough wealth in the entire world to service the Regime's financial obligations, the bleak reality is that the entity calling itself the United States of America simply cannot survive in its current form.

Isn't that precisely what Panarin said? Sounding very much like me from three weeks ago, Grigg concludes:

If the Obamunists employ the same heavy-handedness in race agitation that they've displayed in wealth redistribution, the crack-up may come much sooner – and be much uglier – than any of us expect.

Now, I've seen Panarin's gloomy predictions dismissed as envious ravings of an America-hater. Such people will no doubt dismiss Grigg - who passionately fights for key American ideals such as liberty - as a "kook," the same way they mocked Ron Paul for caring about the Constitution (After all, it's "just a goddamned piece of paper," right?).

Think about it for a second: defending liberty and upholding the country's founding document is considered weird and objectionable, while belief in a secular Messiah and the omnipotent government is mainstream. That convinces me, more than ever, that Panarin and Grigg may be right, and their detractors are mistaken.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Inquisition's Pyrrhic Victory

When the Hague Inquisition convicts a Serb, that's non-news, kind of like "dog bites man." When it acquits a Serb, however, that is news on par with "man bites dog."

That was my first reaction to the headlines concerning today's verdict in the case of "Kosovo six" - the political, military and security leaders of Serbia, surrendered to the Hague Inquisition by the quisling regime in Belgrade. Most headlines focused on the fact that Milan Milutinovic, former President of Serbia (1998-2002), was acquitted of all charges. Oh, and by the way, the deputy Prime Minister, Defense Minister, two top military commanders, and the internal security chief were all convicted of "a broad campaign of violence directed against the Kosovo Albanian civilian population."

See what they did there? Right now, agencies like AP are bemoaning the "blow to prosecutors who three years ago lost their chance of convicting former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of similar crimes." Nothing is made of the fact that key officials of the Serbian government have all been convicted of a conspiracy to expel Albanians from Kosovo. Yet. Oh but it will be, and soon.

Milutinovic's acquittal was as deliberate as the conviction of the other five. By acquitting him, the Inquisition convicted the late Slobodan Milosevic. As "judge" Bonomy - who was brought in to take over the Milosevic "trial" after the death of "judge" May - put it, "In practice, it was Milosevic, sometimes termed the 'Supreme Commander' who exercised actual command authority over the (Serb army) during the NATO campaign."

Such arrogance. Such stupidity. "Supreme Commander" is the literal translation from Serbian, but refers to the concept known in the U.S. as "Commander in Chief." In other words, in time of war, the President is the supreme commander of the military. Bonomy basically concluded that water was wet, and found sinister implications in that!

As for the arrogance... did he, or did he not, use the expression "NATO campaign"? Because the elephant in the room when it comes to any discussion of Kosovo in 1999 is the fact that the alleged crimes Serbia is accused of supposedly occurred during the so-called NATO campaign. So why did NATO start the campaign, again? There's a hole in the causal loop here one could drive the entire carrier battle group through: if Serb forces committed atrocities against Albanians (as the ICTY asserts) during the NATO "campaign" that was supposedly provoked by atrocities against Albanians... but not before that "campaign," then how could the "campaign" have been about preventing or punishing crimes that had not happened yet?

At which point it becomes obvious that the "campaign" was, in fact, an unprovoked war of aggression.

Now consider this: the ICTY issued its "indictment" of Milosevic during the NATO "campaign." But the "Tribunal" flat-out refused to investigate NATO:

"...the Prosecutor has announced her conclusion, following a full consideration of her team’s assessment, that there is no basis for opening an investigation into any of the allegations or into other incidents related to the NATO air campaign. Although some mistakes were made by NATO, the Prosecutor is satisfied that there was no deliberate targeting of civilians or unlawful military targets by NATO during the campaign." (emphasis added)

Read the press release I linked. What it says is that the ICTY asked NATO officials if they had committed any crimes. NATO said, "Who, us? Never." And the ICTY then said "Well, OK then." That was it.

The purpose of today's verdict was threefold: to legitimize the NATO aggression from 1999 (i.e. NATO action was necessary and appropriate because the Serbs were engaging in a criminal conspiracy to murder and expel Albanians); to buttress the "Independent State of Kosovo," proclaimed last February but so far recognized by only 55 governments; and to brand Serbia as the aggressor and criminal, rather than the victim of NATO's aggression, occupation of Kosovo and the ethnic cleansing of its citizens that followed.

Yet I am not surprised by the verdict at all. Not because the charges are true (I personally believe they are entirely bogus, but that's beside the point, really), but because a different verdict would have been impossible. The ICTY is located on the territory of a NATO member. Most of its funding comes from NATO member governments (predominantly the U.S.). It relied on NATO to get access to sites of alleged atrocities, secure and protect local witnesses, even arrest suspects. The very purpose of this bastard court is to provide a quasi-legal context to the tragic Balkans wars of the 1990s by blaming everything on the Serbs. It's not just that Serbs make up the majority of the "indicted"; but that the entire Serb political, military and security leadership has by now been put on trial. Croats, Muslims and Albanians accused of atrocities, even on the spurious grounds of "command responsibility," are nonetheless tried as individuals. Serbs, however, are all supposed to be part of this phantom "joint criminal enterprise," evil masterminds behind the bloody Balkans wars.

I won't call this verdict "shameful", even though it is, for that would imply the Hague Inquisition has some sort of moral code. It does not. It is a perversion, created for the sole purpose of manufacturing political cover for aggressive outside interference in the Yugoslav wars of succession. It has neither moral nor legal authority to try anyone, no matter what he may or may not have done in the course of the wars.

Today's verdict is the latest (but probably not the last) in a long line of insults and injuries aimed at Serbia, even - especially - after a U.S.-backed coup ousted the government of Slobodan Milosevic from power in October 2000. The current regime, utterly devoted to licking Imperial boots, will do nothing to protest or contest this atrocity. It will collaborate with the Empire in the diabolical plan to brand the Serbian people as aggressors and war criminals, justify the terror bombing of their cities, murder of their children, and seizure of their land. If the Serbs have any dignity left, they need to deal with their quislings appropriately, and soon.

What may seem like a triumph for the Inquisition and the Empire is entirely irrelevant to the big picture, though. The Empire's catalog of crimes is hefty enough even without this latest travesty. It is already drowning in its own iniquities, its fate already sealed and merely unfolding as the world watches. And though they have forsaken their own history, culture and traditions, its leaders would do well to recall the words of Thomas Jefferson: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Better late than never

Eight-plus years after his overthrow and three years after his mysterious death in the Hague dungeons, Slobodan Milosevic is finally getting some credit. Writes Slobodan Antonic (Serbian original here, all emphasis mine):

Slobodan Milosevic has made many mistakes in his time. But his legacy to Serbia comprises at least three things:
  1. the Dayton Agreement, guaranteeing the existence of the Bosnian Serb Republic;
  2. UNSCR 1244, as proof of Serbia's ownership of Kosovo, and
  3. Constitutional defeat of separatism and restored Serbian sovereignty in Srem, Banat and Backa [i.e. "Vojvodina"].
While the first two are under assault by powerful foreign factors, with Serbia able to defend them only to a limited extent, the third is being undermined primarily from within, by Serbian political forces. Most incongruously, one of these forces is the provincial leadership of Milosevic's own Socialist Party!

It is a historical irony that Milosevic's own party has embraced EUphoria, championed the [separatist] Vojvodina Statute, and joined Canak, Jelko Kacin and other true "Serbian friends" to hammer the last nail into the coffin of Milosevic's national legacy. We can criticize that legacy for the things it wasted and the potential it failed to live up to. It could have been, and perhaps should have been, far greater. But it is what it is. It is what we have today, and what we must defend. However minuscule, it is still far greater than anything Serbian leaders have done after 2000. And far greater than anything the Socialists have done after Milosevic.

Speaking of 2000, I remember a speech Milosevic gave on the eve of the CIA/NED "revolution" that deposed him. October 2, 2000 it was, when he spoke on Serbian television, warning about the quisling character of DOS:

Its boss is the president of the Democratic Party. For years he has collaborated with the military alliance that attacked our country. He could not even hide his collaboration. In fact, our entire public knows that he appealed to NATO to bomb Serbia for as many weeks as necessary to break its resistance.

So the 'democratic' grouping organized for these elections represents the armies and governments which recently waged war against Yugoslavia.

At the behest of these foreign powers our 'democrats' told the people that they would make Yugoslavia be free of war and violence, that Yugoslavia would prosper, the living standard would improve visibly and fast, that Yugoslavia would rejoin international institutions, and on and on.

Honored citizens,

It is my duty to warn you publicly, while there is time, that these promises are false.

He may have been wrong about other things, but about this, he was right.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

At the Movies

Apropos my comment yesterday concerning a German Haguesploitation film, reader Deucaon asks:

Back to Bosnia
Beautiful People
Behind Enemy Lines
The Enclave
The Hunting Party
Life Is a Miracle
No Man's Land
Pretty Village, Pretty Flame
Shot Through the Heart
Welcome to Sarajevo

Have you seen these films? Are any of them accurate (in any regard) in your opinion?

I have to admit, this is the first time I've heard about some of them. So let's take them in order.

"Beautiful People" - Never seen it, but this review suggests it's not ham-fisted manichean propaganda. As for authenticity, I've heard of plenty of refugees from different ethnic groups getting into fights in their adoptive homelands, and the heroin addict kind of sounds like the author of "My war gone by, I miss it so". Other things, like the rape story or the reporter's "Bosnia syndrome" may be exaggerated for dramatic effect, but they are there for symbolism.

"Behind Enemy Lines" - Utter rubbish. The only American pilot ever shot down over Bosnia was Lt. Scott O'Grady, and he flew a single-seater Air Force F-16. He spent several days in the forests of western Bosnia until the Marines located him and airlifted him out, without any interference by the Bosnian Serbs. In the movie, however, it's a Navy plane, the pilot dies, and the navigator survives to avoid deadly pursuit by rabid Serbs so he can deliver proof of an atrocity patterned after the Srebrenica story. I'm not going to waste words on such rubbish except to note the sheer idiocy of it.

"The Enclave" - Dutch miniseries spinning the story of Srebrenica from the standpoint of Official Truth. If the Dutch want to embrace the myth that casts them as evil enablers of genocide, who am I to stop them? Though judging by the troops that volunteered to testify for Karadzic's defense, maybe they've finally had enough.

"Grbavica" - Even if Jasmila Zbanic made a very artistic film, there is no denying that its main function is propaganda. Zbanic herself spoke about "raising awareness" and spearheaded an effort to get government subsidies for women who claimed to be rape victims.

As a sidebar: The whole "systematic rape" story, exploited endlessly by peddlers of atrocity porn, has never been substantiated. Of course there were rapes; no one denies there were rapes, or that this is repugnant. But organized on a large scale? Balkans wars were fought in an atmosphere of near-complete breakdown of society, closely resembling the Hobbesian "state of nature." Obviously, people capable of murdering their neighbors with glee, slitting throats, slicing off body parts and burning villages would not shirk from non-consensual sex. It would be interesting, however, to compare the supposed "mass rapes" of Bosnia with the numbers of women sexually assaulted by U.S. troops in Iraq - or, say, Okinawa (where there has been no war for almost 54 years).

Another issue are the "rape children." Bosnia was a very secularized place. Generations that had grown up in Communist schools were socialized in Communist morals - where abortion wasn't dirty or sinful, but practical. Only the very old were religiously observant, until the war and its aftermath (no atheists in foxholes, etc.). So I find it exceptionally hard to believe that many women would actually choose to keep rape-conceived children. Especially if they went to the West as refugees (see "Beautiful People," above). Perhaps that may have happened in some cases, for whatever reason, but as a widespread phenomenon it is simply unlikely. If someone has actual data to the contrary, I am prepared to revise my opinion, though.

Continuing on...

"The Hunting Party" - A horrid flop no one watched, and with good reason. Every time Hollywood tries to do a Bosnia story, it takes the already incredulous reality and makes it less believable by exaggerating it and changing it to seem more real.

"Life is a miracle" - Any Kusturica film is an exercise in "magical realism," where reality is just a convenient starting point for art and storytelling. However, there were more than a few inter-ethnic love stories (and even more inter-ethnic breakups) to base this on.

"No man's land" - This would have been a fantastic stage piece. Every time the film dwells on the two soldiers - the Serb and the Muslim trapped in the booby-trapped trench - you can feel the drama and the energy. Every time it tries to look like a Hollywood production - with the hapless Western journalist, the checkpoints, the clueless UN and the video clips of "news" - it goes off into hack territory. It's almost as if Tanovic made a tasty anti-war drama cake, then ruined it with the clumsy frosting of Muslim propaganda.

"Pretty village..." - If anything, this film is too realistic. Dust, mud, blood, rain, twitchy lighting of rural Eastern Bosnia, they are all here. Some characters may feel stereotypical, but they capture the archetypes (the mad machine-gunner, the slutty nurses, the "peace" protesters, the Army officer) that were all too real. It may simplify certain things, and contrive others for the purposes of storytelling, but for all its flaws it is still the most "accurate" of the lot.

"Savior" - Again, filled with contrivances, from the American protagonist to the events he encounters on his journey. And yet it depicts the Bosnian war with brutal honesty: Serbs rape Muslim women, Muslims rape Serb women, both sides kill children with impunity. Villainy is all around. That is enough for some to dismiss it as "Serb propaganda" (Serb director and actors, but American writer and producer - Oliver Stone, no less), but that's what happens when one strays from the manichean formula of "Serbs evil/Muslims good." I also want to point out that even though this film features a "rape baby" as the pivotal plot device, the circumstances of her birth and her fate actually make sense both within the context of the story and within the context of the war at large.

"Shot Through the Heart" - Based on a supposedly true story of two friends (a Serb and a Muslim) who end up as opposing snipers in Sarajevo, this HBO production is remarkable insofar as it admits there actually were Muslim snipers. Then again, it presents the Muslim as a marksman who merely fights the evil Serb, who is "terrorizing" the city by killing women and children. If you really want to watch a Hollywoodized sniper movie, go see "Enemy at the Gates."

"Warriors" - I was unfamiliar with this BBC series. Apparently, it focuses on the British peacekeepers caught in the middle of a nasty war between Muslims and Croats in central Bosnia. I have no idea how accurate it may have been.

"Welcome to Sarajevo" - This was actually the first movie about Bosnia to be filmed on location, and just after the war ended. Unfortunately, while locations may have been somewhat authentic, the story was not. There really was a journalist who tried to help some orphans, and managed to evacuate one in particular - but the orphanage was nowhere near the front line, and the orphan in question was a Serb (in the movie, she's a Muslim; can't have your victims mixed up, right?). The filmmakers ruined a perfectly good story of genuine humanitarianism by bending it to fit the incongruous "Serbs evil, Muslims good" dogma. Typical.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Hague Goes Hollywood

Couple of years back, the Berlin film festival went crazy over Jasmila Zbanic's "Grbavica", a propaganda flick about the Bosnian war that harped on the theme of (alleged, fictitious) mass rapes of Muslim women. This year, a German director is tapping into the Bosnian atrocity porn, with a film described as "critical" of the Hague Inquistion (ICTY), but in fact another exercise in mendacity and propaganda.

Reuters reports: "German Bosnia film takes critical view of tribunal." Sounds intriguing, right? Except the story is described as one of a "determined prosecutor....struggling against time pressure and Serb nationalists." Huh? But wait, there's more:

In "Storm," the prosecutor's investigation of rape and murder charges is hindered by a powerful network of nationalist Serbs and then foiled by her own poorly prepared case. But just before it collapses, a witness to the rapes comes forward.

The trial is short-circuited by a behind-the-scenes deal involving the judge, the Serb's defense counsel and the prosecutor's pragmatic boss.

Let me see if I get this. The heroic Prosecutor knows that these evil Serbs (is there another kind?) are guilty of horrible murders and systematic mass rapes, but there's just no darn evidence for it. I mean, why else would the case be "poorly prepared"? Does that imply she's incompetent? Oh no, no, the heroic Tribunal is probably just short of money, or something, and you know, having to actually prove these charges is just so damned inconvenient... And then, of course, there's a "powerful network of nationalist Serbs" - which is probably based on the equally chimeric "joint criminal enterprise to create an ethnically pure Greater Serbia". That would be the alleged grand conspiracy every single Serb politician, soldier, policeman and whoever else they finger is automatically guilty of until proven innocent, never mind that it actually doesn't exist.

But never fear! For our heroine will be saved by the Last Minute Miraculous Plot Device (i.e. the witness)! And then, just to be properly postmodern and angsty (it is, after all, a German movie - so optimism is verboten), the righteous victory is thwarted at its moment of triumph by Lawyer Show Trope #37, the "pragmatic boss" making a deal with a wicked defense counsel.

The director, Hans-Christian Schmid, said "his film was fiction but was based on elements of cases he studied." Oh it's fiction, all right. Because none of these elements bear any resemblance to anything that's happened at the Inquisition.

So, again, how is any of this actually critical of the ICTY? Oh sure, right, the incompetent (kind of?) prosecutor we're supposed to root for, and the evil "pragmatic" boss who cuts deals with war criminals. Right. Except, you know, the deal-making boss is a complete and utter fabrication, as are the Serb lawyers and the "nationalist network." The only thing that even remotely rings true is the "poorly prepared" indictment - but even then that's supposed to be a charming character flaw of the woman we're supposed to like.

This isn't art, this is propaganda. The "criticism" amounts to accusing the Tribunal of not persecuting (not a typo) the Serbs hard enough - an accusation anyone even casually familiar with the Inquisition's opus over the past decade and a half would find utterly absurd.

Almost every single Serb who was seized ended up convicted, bullied into false confessions, or dead. Meanwhile, "commanders" of the terrorist KLA are acquitted, as are Muslim warlords who've openly boasted of their butchery to the cheering Western press.

Of course, had he tried to make a movie about the ICTY's epic failure to convict Albanian or Muslim warlords, Schmid wouldn't have received any funding. Had he somehow completed the movie anyway, it would have gone straight to DVD, rather than garner attention and praise at film festivals. But that's somewhat of a moot point, because it didn't even cross Schmid's mind to try, now did it? Everybody knows only the evil Serbs are criminals. And besides, note how the case at hand is about mass rape? Mass rape always gets media attention. Bleeding-heart interventionists in the West really love themselves some mass rape to get them in the proper mood of righteous indignation. Never mind that it's fiction, it's good fiction. In their minds, it should be true, and therefore it is. Kind of like Schmid's flick.

But for all the shlock, tropes, cliches, racist stereotypes resurrected from Nazi propaganda and pure old horse manure, this little piece of Tribunal propaganda just had to go that extra inch, and add insult to injury by adopting the very name of a Croatian military operation that ethnically cleansed hundreds of thousands of Serbs in 1995.

I understand the Germans have a vested interest in declaring the Serbs genocidal; they probably think having someone else labeled that way would somehow water down the stain on their character that remains from WW2. And it would also provide a handy justification for German crimes against the Serbs back then, just in case the Serbs ever bring them up. But even so, this Scheisse is just too much.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Whither America?

Igor Panarin believes that the United States is doomed. Within the next two years, he says, this country will cease to exist, much like the USSR. Is this ex-KGB analyst, dean of the Moscow Academy of Diplomacy and a guest of the Davos economic forum a prophet, or a crank? His predictions attracted attention of the Wall Street Journal, which reported on them with marked incredulity. Other commentators, such as Doug Bandow, also gave Panarin little credence.

Now, it is entirely possible Panarin is engaging in projection. Having witnessed the dissolution of the USSR, he sees parallels in the current U.S. situation that might not really be there. For that matter, I have been viewing the situation in the U.S. through the prism of my experience with the end of Yugoslavia, and the Bosnian War. Fractured society, a credit-fueled boom that turned into a disaster when the bills came due, the same "it can't happen here" conviction that blindsided many Bosnians... do I see them here? Absolutely. This is why I tend to take Panarin a bit more seriously than most people. If current trends continue, then I really do think this country is headed to perdition. I am far less certain of what shape that perdition might take than Igor Panarin, however. It is one thing to posit likelihoods, and quite another to speak of exact timelines and even territorial divisions.

In a recent exclusive interview with the premier Serbian weekly NIN on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, Panarin compared the new president to the last leader of the USSR (translations mine):

The new American president is a very good speaker, and reminds me a lot of Gorbachev. His role is very similar, to soften the dissolution of the USA as much as possible. If the attempt to rescue the financial system fails, he can be the scapegoat: it's his lack of experience, etc. It would be USSR-like scenario, except it took us six years to collapse, and the USA will do it in 18 months. Things move faster these days...
He impressed me, too, in the beginning: he spoke well, and very reasonably. But I kept watching and he kept repeating the same things. He offered nothing new. He kept reminding me of Gorbachev. When Gorbachev came to power, many thought it a good thing - myself included. But after just six months, it became obvious that the words were all well and good, but the actual effect was the country's collapse.

He went on to explain how the USSR fell apart because Gorbachev had racked up foreign debt and bankrupted the state. (Yeltsin's henchman Yegor Geidar explained this in some detail in a paper he wrote for the American Enterprise Institute a couple years back.) So, in his mind, the crushing government debt will destroy the U.S. analogously.

The wrinkle here is that American debt is held in American-printed dollars; so long as the rest of the world maintains the dollar as the global reserve currency, the Fed will be able to print money and "create wealth" out of thin air with impunity. Where do you think those billions for the so-called "stimulus" are coming from? But if Washington keeps printing money, sooner or later it will reduce its worth below the level acceptable to foreign buyers. I don't know what that level might be; it depends on a variety of facts and perceptions and is essentially subjective. But any economic theory says that such a point must exist. And once it's reached, the U.S. dollar will be worth about as much as its Zimbabwean namesake.

One of the things Panarin only mentions in passing, but which I consider crucial, is the Americans' mental state. Modern politicians are fond of invoking the line about how "all men are created equal" from the Declaration of Independence, forgetting that the rest of that sentence, lifted almost entirely out of Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government, talks about the "unalienable Rights...[of] Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" (or, as Locke put it, property). Whereas European governments of the time were still built around the medieval concept of a monarch being in charge of the landed gentry that lorded over the serfs, with some free citizenry thrown in, America was supposed to be the land of the free - i.e. those who owned property and did not depend on laboring for someone else. (Obviously, the whole slavery thing was a glaring fly in the ointment, but keep in mind that the Founders by and large considered the slaves less than fully human). Even if one was reduced to what Marx would call a proletarian - with no property but himself - the "American dream" was always to save up enough to buy one's own farm or shop, to be one's own boss.

Most people in today's America work for someone else, though. Most productive assets are owned by big businesses, which became big by collaborating with an ever-expanding government. And the government regulates and taxes everything to a degree where no one is actually free, and people in effect live and work at the government's sufferance. Now I know many will disagree with this assessment; small business owners who have to spend time and money making sure they are in compliance with the ever-expanding body of regulations and tax codes, however, know exactly what I mean.

So, from a country of free farmers and small businessmen, America has become a nation of regulated wage slaves. Worse yet, this economic transformation has gone hand in hand with a cultural and societal change. The growth of cities and the development of suburbs and highways has fractured and scattered families. In many places across the U.S. there is no longer a sense of community. Even regional identities have suffered due to migration patterns. Racial and linguistic identity politics aren't helping, either. And while this social atomization may seem like a fine thing to the government, as it promotes conflict and therefore enables control and encourages dependence (on the government, as the "solution"), it sows the seeds of misfortune for when the government eventually goes under.

Do Americans even have shared values anymore? What might those be? Self-reliance? Individualism? Liberty? Hardly, anymore. It seems that pursuit of money and the belief in government omnipotence are the only things America's diverse inhabitants have in common. That's a mighty thin fabric for a nation. Once money evaporates in a cloud of inflation and the government is shown to be impotent, what's left?

When someone asked me, a couple years back, whether I thought U.S. would have another civil war, I replied, "If and when it happens, there won't be anything civil about it." Yes, it's a pun. And yes, it's gallows humor. But look at it from my perspective: the American equivalent of what happened to Bosnia - and that's under the charitable assumption that things here would not turn out far worse - would be 150 million refugees and 6 million dead. I don't want to see that happen. No one in their right mind would.

And that is why I take Panarin's predictions seriously, if with a chunk of salt. While it may not happen as soon as he thinks, or in the manner he laid out, the end of the U.S. is both possible and increasingly likely. If and when it happens, I pray only that it resembles the Czech/Slovak "velvet divorce," or even the relatively bloodless Soviet model (where conflicts were confined to the periphery), rather than the bloody and tragic demise of Yugoslavia. I've lived through that already. Once was enough.