Friday, March 12, 2010

Follow the Money

In the latest installment of the saga of Ejup Ganic, we read he was bailed out by "Diane Jenkins," born Sanela Catic, "former Bosnian refugee who became the wife of Britain's highest paid banker." Forgive me if I doubt the account in the Daily Mail that gives her middle name as "Dijana"; Bosnians, whether Muslim or Christian, simply don't have middle names.

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. A mystery bottle blonde bombshell bails out the war crimes suspect, only to be revealed as a poor little refuge girl who struck gold by becoming the bride of London's richest bankster? Hollywood, eat your heart out.

While we're on the subject of money, here's something I've been meaning to mention for almost a month now, but never got round to. You see, frantic clamoring by investors in the Bank of Collective Serbian Guilt (hat tip to Chris Deliso for this memorable phrase) to have the "international community" get involved in Bosnia again is always justified by the alleged necessity to impose reforms and create a "functional state". They won't deny that Bosnia has sucked in enormous amounts of foreign aid (though they won't mention it either, unless pressed), but their explanation is that all of it was wasted because those evil Serbs (who else?) are blocking the central government from functioning properly and making the best use of it.

The only problem with this is that in Bosnia itself, centralization is championed by people who have by far the most abysmal record of governing their own affairs. So when they demand they get to govern everyone else's, why the surprise when everyone else is not exactly inclined to agree?

Let's leave aside for the moment the question of values and principles, and the paradox of federated and subsidiary governments such as the UK, Germany and the United States of America (or should that be United State?), whose representatives want for Bosnia a degree of centralization unacceptable in their own countries. And let's not dwell at this point on the fact that the de facto international protectorate in place since 1996 has provided a powerful disincentive for Bosnian communities to actually work out the differences over which they waged a war and continued to bicker about after the armistice. The fundamental issue at stake is whether the communities can live together in peace, or if one would try to lord it over the others. When you have three communities deeply mistrustful of each other, the very last thing you want to do is give them a powerful central government to fight over. Yet that is precisely what the Empire is trying to do.

Of the three communities that live in Bosnia, only the Muslims desire a centralized government. In part, this is because they believe Bosnia ought to be a nation-state, with them as the "nation", while Serbs and Croats are simply interlopers with "spare homelands". They also believe their suffering during the war entitles them to things. But beneath the rhetoric and emotions, this agenda is also driven by a very real financial motive.

You see, the Muslim-Croat Federation is broke.

During the war, the Islamic world sent countless amounts of money to the regime of Alija Izetbegovic, to support the holy war against the alleged "genocide" of Muslims at the hands of Serbs and Croats. Very little of that money ever reached the Muslim civilians; some was spent to equip the military, but most was simply appropriated by Izetbegovic's cronies. After the war, a river of financial aid came from the West. It was calculated at one point that Bosnia had received more foreign aid per capita than all of Western Europe under the Marshall Plan. But while the Marshall Plan funds went into resurrecting the economy, the Bosnian aid was like pouring water into the desert. It simply vanished.

Oh, some of it went to rebuilding the war-torn housing and roads. Much went to a plethora of non-governmental organizations organizing seminars about tolerance and peace and whatever. A lot went to fund elections every year, then every two years, or support a gargantuan bureaucracy within the Muslim-Croat Federation (eleven sets of governments. ELEVEN!). Some surely ended up paying for a host of new mosques and their imams. The rest lined the pockets of government officials and "businessmen" who became tycoons thanks to government connections and support. But hardly anything went into producing anything of value. Bosnia had a lot of industry prior to the war. Now it has almost none.

As governments throughout the world are becoming aware, it is easy to come up with new welfare and entitlement programs when the money is flowing in. But what do you do when it dries up? Cutting the entitlements can often result in angry mobs in the streets.

The Federation government was reminded of that in October 2009, when a host of war veterans shut down the capital for a day, protesting the announced 10% cut to their benefits. Besieged, the government caved in to their demands, even though the cut was required by the IMF as one of the conditions for a new loan that would go towards servicing the budget obligations. Yes, you heard right - Bosnia is borrowing money to cover welfare bills.

This isn't to say that the Serb Republic is in a stellar shape. But it has a more sensible tax structure and isn't being dragged down by welfare payments. For years, Muslim politicians (Croats have very little say in the Federation) bribed their voters and lined their pockets with someone else's money. Now that the money spigot is drying up, they can't cut back on the bribes, or the masses will get nervous. So they want to punt the problem up to the central government. No doubt they plan to have it distribute tax revenue "fairly". And not surprisingly, the Serbs and Croats are having none of it. Their refusal is neither selfish nor spiteful, but rather a rejection of this scheme for plunder - robbing Peter and Paul to pay Mustafa, if you will.

May as well ask "Diane Jenkins" and her bankster husband to bail them out.


kapetan Mile said...

......and today i read that tadic & co. dont mind if ganic is sent to trial in bosnia instead????? might as well send him to bora bora. he has got to be the biggest elected moron of all times. When nato bomb serbia a bunch of us went every day protesting here in canada in support of serbia. i feel now it was a waste of my time. Serbia will get what they deserve and that wont be much.

CubuCoko said...

Bear in mind that Tadic and his government weaseled his way to power. Most of Serbia didn't, in fact, vote for them. Granted, way too many people did.

Still - I wish I could say I'm surprised by this statement. Putting Ganic on trial in Belgrade would absolutely interfere in the ongoing project of destroying Serbia, being implemented by Tadic & Co.