Russia, April 5, 1999
101 Reasons why NATO's war sucks.
April 8 - 21, 1999 the eXile
101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks
By Mark Ames & Matt Tabbi
1. Now the Russians have one of our Stealth planes.
2. It wouldn't have seemed possible a few months ago, but this war has given Russia the opportunity to seize the moral high ground on the world stage. When the Serbs refused to give in, the West increased the ferocity of the air attacks, killing over 1,000 civilians thus far. In other words, we're doing what the Russians did in Chechnya, but whereas the West kept conspicuously quiet about the Russian mass slaughter, the Russian government and people have been shocked and vocally outraged by NATO's "barbaric aggression." And the worst thing of all is... they're right!
3. Trying to bring the Serbs to heel by making them suffer won't work; these people have too much practice at suffering. After their army was slaughtered by the Turks at the Battle of Kosovo Field in 1389, things started getting a little bit rough for the Serbs. Though many Serb uprisings were brutally suppressed, the Serbs slowly drove the Turks out, eventually "liberating" Kosovo in a series of blood-drenched battles. In 1914, the Serbs were overrun by the Central Powers. The Serbs lost one-fourth of their population during the war; two-thirds of its male population between the ages of 15 and 55 perished. World War Two was even worse. After being overrun by a Nazi blitzkrieg, the Serbs found themselves at the mercy of the Nazis' Croat puppet regime, the Ustashe, who killed over a million people in death camps so horrible they repelled even the SS. Meanwhile, the Serbs somehow managed to pin down eight divisions of Nazi infantry, the Italians, a Bosnian Muslim SS Division--and wage a bitter civil war against fellow Serbs. In all, one-fourth of the Serb population died during WW II. Toss in a respectable number of dead Serbs since the wars in Croatia and Bosnia started earlier this decade, and you get the idea: bombing will not scare these people.
4. Why do American troops have to go in at all? Why should kids from Ohio and New Mexico have to die in Kosovo? Kosovo is part of Europe, and every one of the big Western European countries has a huge, expensive army. Any one of these armies--French, Italian, German or British--ought to be able to take Kosovo on its own. After all, the ostensible goal of "preventing further instability in the region" is an end that would benefit any of these countries directly, while it benefits the United States hardly at all.
5. Even the Secretary of State isn't sure what we're doing in Yugoslavia. Madeleine Albright earlier this week said that NATO just wanted to "Send Milosevic a message." When a pool reporter pointed out that she had earlier said that the NATO goal was to STOP Milosevic, she hesitated and said, "That, too."
6. The Serbs were behaving with relative restraint in Kosovo last year (by Balkan standards) until we started bombing Serbia. Then they decided they had nothing to lose, and started driving Albanians out in earnest. Wasn't this what we were trying to prevent?
7. After the Gulf War, the US had everybody believing in air power again. The bombing of Serbia is going to destroy that belief. The USAF trains in Nevada, and the less a landscape resembles Nevada, the less effective American air power. Iraq looks just like Nevada; Kosovo looks more like Vietnam.
8. These endless comparisons of thugs like Milosevic to Adolf Hitler insult the public's intelligence and cheapen the special, awful legacy of WWII. Before America started calling Milosevic a new Hitler, it used the same tactic to demonize everyone from Saddam Hussein to Manuel Noriega to Osama bin Laden to the Ayatollah Khomeini to Fidel Castro--we at the eXile even found an American-owned newspaper in Africa which, in complete earnest, compared Kenneth Starr to the Fuhrer. Gore Vidal put it this way: "The CIA's demonizing process is fascinating, swift, unvarying. Each demon admires Hitler. Keeps a copy of Mein Kampf beside his bed." Hitler killed six million Jews; he made lampshades out of little children; he tried to take over the entire world. Milosevic is a monster, but he's not close to a record like that. Comparing Milosevic to Hitler proves that the U.S. government no longer trusts its citizens to make real moral distinctions.
9. In 1941, the Nazi puppet state of Croatia wanted to solve the Serb Question once and for all... not by mass expulsions, but by extermination. Out of 6.3 million people in the new Croat state, there were 1.9 million Serbs. Official documents show that the Ustashe government planned to exterminate or convert every one of them. Within weeks after the Nazi takeover, Croats set to massacring Serbs in a variety of ways, including a documented favorite trick: throwing Serb mothers with their children off cliffs, by the hundreds. By mid-1941, even the Germans started complaining. Here is a quote from an SS report: "The Ustashe units have carried out their atrocities not only against male Orthodox of military age, but in particular in the most bestial fashion against unarmed old men, women and children..." The Croats set up several concentration camps, including the infamous Jasenovic death camp, which is to Serbs what Auschwitz is to Jews . This camp is notorious not just because hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were killed there (Serbs claim a million Serbs were killed at Jasenovic), but because of the way they were killed: butchered with knives, like pigs. In all, the Serbs are said to have lost some one million people just to Croat death camps and massacres. If it is unthinkable that the Bundeswehr could be called in to bomb Tel Aviv in order to force the Jews to sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians, then why can we order German bombers to attack Belgrade with a clear conscience?
10. Serbs are now comparing NATO to the Nazis. Here's why. The Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia in April, 1941, began with the relentless bombardment of Belgrade, flattening most of the city before a ground invasion by troops from Germany, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria. Three of those four are now NATO members. Modern German bombers, ominously sporting iron cross Luftwaffe markings, are targeting Serb cities. And now, once again, Germans, Italians and Hungarians are preparing to invade.
11. The Gulf War left Western armies looking good. Kosovo is going to make us look very bad. Like the Israelis, the Americans and their allies in the Gulf War built a reputation fighting pitiful Arab conscripts who, as Sam Kinison said, would've surrendered to a video camera. ("Give up or I'll zoom!") Serbs are not Iraqis. They believe in their cause, know how to fight, and can operate in small units. Western armies don't do well against this sort of opponent.
12. The parallels of this conflict to World War I are so obvious, it's amazing that the West has chosen to ignore them. In 1914, a major European power (Austria-Hungary) declared war on Serbia after it refused to acquiesce to its demands; a group of similarly powerful nations bound by alliances (Britain, Russia) then decided to back Serbia; and in a flash, millions of people were dying all over Europe. Wasn't the whole point of that chapter in the history textbook to teach kids how not to start a World War--to learn to back off when a minor regional conflict threatens to escalate into an irreversible global nightmare?
13. Here's a trick question: which idiotic theory sucked America into Vietnam, and sucked the life out of the country for the next twenty years? Here's a clue: the theory's metaphor is based on a really shitty game that no one plays, the name of which was later picked up by an even shittier pizza delivery company that can only count on the most desperate, resin-scraping, munchie-jonesing dirtheads to order its pizzas. That's right: the Domino Theory! And guess why we're going to war with Serbia? You guessed again! The Domino's Pizza Theory! Hey, if tasted so good the first time, why not order another, huh? Albright sure is. Just read this excerpt from the Washington Post, dated Monday, April 5th: "Led by Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the commanders challenged in particular the 'domino theory' being pressed in interagency discussions by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright." ("Joint Chiefs Doubted Air Strategy" by Bradley Graham).
14. We've made an enemy of Montenegro, the strategically vital junior republic in Yugoslavia. In presidential elections last year Montenegrins elected Milan Djukanovic, an enemy of Milosevic who reached out to the West. His victory meant a majority of Montenegrins wanted to move away from Milosevic and towards the West. They opposed the crackdown in Kosovo and encouraged locals to desert units serving there. How did NATO exploit this division in Yugoslav society? Well, actually they bombed the shit out of Montenegro, to the point that now thousands are pouring into the streets daily in order to denounce NATO as the second coming of Hitler. Today, Montenegrins are solidly behind the Serbs and Milosevic.
15. How many Americans could find Kosovo on a map of the world? There should be entrance exams for warmongers.
16. Because Nostradamus predicted (or so they say) that the third World War would start in the Balkans, every crystal-gazing New Age American moron, as well as every quack-cure-loving, horoscope-is-a-science believing, insufferably superstitious Russian will have a captive audience in the rational rest of us until this thing blows over, and we can tell them to shut up again.
17. The owner of the single biggest pro-war propaganda organ in the world, Ted Turner, is married harmoniously to Jane Fonda, who thirty years ago was running around in khaki shorts publicly embracing the Viet Cong. Apparently being a liberal means not having to say you're sorry, so long as your civilian bombing victims are white and taller than you are.
18. Journalists love wars. Even the most vacuous, uninspired accountant can wrap himself up in other people's tragedy and suddenly acquire depth. This is what happened in Bosnia. And it'll happen in Kosovo too, guaranteed. The Bosnian war nurtured some of the worst, most maudlin, dishonest "war journalism" of all time. We quote: "Tragedy and absurdity were moons circling the Bosnian war." (Peter Maass, Love Thy Neighbor). "Words are my tears." [Ibid.] "The typewriter keys went bang-bang-bang, like shots from an old revolver." [Ibid.] And of course what would a war book be without the dark sexual angle: "Sarajevo was a temptress, and it was hard to know which was more seductive, the half-mad look in her dark eyes, or the scarlet drops of blood on her extended hand." [Ibid.] Kosovo can expect to be taken to the mall for some makeup and a long black dress by every soulless Western journalist hunting for a metaphor.
19. Nuke Alert! Russian General Anatoly Kvashnin, Yeltsin's Chief of Staff, announced last week that Russia was prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons to stop NATO aggression.
20. In 1991, your Western passport made you a demi-god in Russia. Most Russians, particularly the younger ones, admired Westerners and listened to what we said: restructure your economy like so; keep Chubais in charge of things; NATO is a defensive organization whose goal is to unite Europe into one peaceable kingdom; we mean you no harm. And then the Russians woke up. They had to: we'd stolen their wives, their blankets, their sheets, their beds, the roofs over their heads... IMF advice destroyed Russia's economy faster than you can say "Gary Peach", millions have gone to their grave early, the country is fucked for at least a generation to come, and to top it all off, NATO is unilaterally scrapping the ABM treaty, enlarging NATO so as to completely surround and isolate Russia, and now, ruthlessly bombing Russia's oldest historical ally and slaughtering its citizens. It would be as if a victorious Soviet Union were to bomb London and destroy its bridges because they didn't allow Warsaw Pact troops to occupy Ulster. All this might explain why, over the past few months, the number of Russians who believe that they should fear a NATO attack has soared to 63 percent, up from the low twenties just a few months ago, according to a poll recently conducted by the Russian Center for Public Opinion and reported on CNN on April 3. Numerous expats, who at one time were treated like royalty here, are now complaining about "incidents" of being harassed by Russians. It's like we said: Does the West know how-ta make friends or what?!
21. We're going to be flooded with annoying Vietnam analogies from pompous leftists everywhere. And the worst thing is that they'll be right.
22. Has anyone thought about the peculiar logic behind NATO's "peace mission" in Kosovo? They dragged the warring parties to some two-bit pastry shop called Rambouillet, held a gun to their heads, and said, "If you don't sign our peace deal and allow us to protect ethnic group #1, then we're going to bomb and kill ethnic group #2!" After arm-twisting the Albanians into signing a deal that they didn't believe in, we carried out our threat. We bombed the Serbs on behalf of the Albanians, assuming, like Dr. Evil, that everything would go to plan. No contingency planning at all. For example, no plan on how to counter the obvious and natural reaction of the Serbs to take all of their Tomahawk-inspired fury out on a totally defenseless Kosovar population. NATO's reply? "They were going to do it anyway." In fact, CIA leaks show that Clinton was warned that bombing could spark mass ethnic cleansing.
23. NATO bombing is making a hero out of Milosevic. Similarly, there once was a guy named Dzhokar Dudayev. The Russians blamed him for all their problems in Chechnya. By 1994, Dudayev's popularity was declining. Then the Russians invaded, bombed, slaughtered... and Dudayev became a national hero. So the Russians figured all they'd have to do is kill Dudayev, and the war would be over. So they killed him, and made him a national martyr. And then got their asses slaughtered in Grozny, and had to surrender to the Chechens. So far, we've made Milosevic, whose popularity was shaky at best, into a national hero, an achievement which stands exactly counter to our stated objective.
24. If ethnic massacres bother us so much, why didn't we send troops to stop the massacre of a half-million Tutsi in Rwanda? Why did we back the Russian bloodbath in Chechnya? Why did the US defend Pol Pot when the Vietnamese interrupted his autogenocide? What's happening in Kosovo is a parking-lot scuffle compared to these horrors, so why are we going in?
25. The Albanian partisan group we're promoting, the Kosovar Liberation Army, has been identified by several sources as a mafia-backed gang of heroin dealers. According to a March 24th article in the Times of London, "police forces in three Western European countries, together with Europol, the European police authority, are separately investigating growing evidence that drug money is funding the KLA's leap from obscurity to power..." Police sources in Germany have made plain their suspicions: the sudden ascendancy of Kosovan Albanians in the heroin trade in Switzerland, Germany and Scandinavia coincides with the sudden growth of the KLA from a ragamuffin peasants' army two years ago to a 30,000-strong force equipped with grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons and AK47s.
26. The KLA seeks total independence for Kosovo from Serbia, and the creation of a Greater Albania incorporating parts of Montenegro and Macedonia. NATO is firmly opposed to that, pushing instead for Kosovar autonomy. Nearly every nation in the Balkans, from NATO ally Greece to Bulgaria, Rumania and Macedonia, also opposes any change in borders. However, the bombing and subsequent ethnic cleansing means that today, you couldn't find a single Albanian who would support our position of Kosovar autonomy within Serbia. Which is to say, we are opposed to the ultimate goal of the people we're ostensibly protecting, and closer to the position of the people whom we're bombing.
27. Every commentator agrees that the dangerous rise of far-right wing parties in Western Europe this decade coincides with refugee influxes. NATO was warned in-advance that its bombing could ignite a massive refugee flight. Now we've got refugees by the buckets, and quasi-fascist politicians like Jean-Marie Le Pen and Joerg Haider will only grow in power and popularity. In other words, NATO bombing of this supposed Hitler in Belgrade could help real Hitler devotees come to power.
28. The U.S. knowingly destroyed the biggest maternity ward in all of the Balkans. On April 3, Clinton and NATO, clearly frustrated at the ineffectuality of their surgical-strike air campaign, decided to get nasty by sending three cruise missiles into the Yugoslav and Serbian Interior Ministry buildings. Those buildings had long since been emptied--ever since Tito, Yugoslavia's basic war plan is based on decentralized partisan warfare--but there was a huge maternity ward full of people just 30 meters away. Now, think about it. It was no secret that a maternity ward was located next door to the target. It was no secret that the target had been emptied long before the strike. Kinda muddies up that whole moral high ground thing a little, doesn't it? Or did we intend to show, Kurtz-like, that we could play just as cold and mean as the next quasi-Hitler?
29. We'll have to listen to more crap from fat armchair hawks like Tom Clancy. They'll bore their wives and clog the internet with coaching metaphors and tech jargon. Clancy will also get another Waffen-Twerpen novel out of it, just when the dork had finally run out of scenarios. Do you really want that?
30. Last Tuesday, Bill Clinton give the entire world still one more visually compelling and obvious reason to loathe America when, at the very moment American bombs and missiles were raining down on Serb civilians at his order, he took the afternoon off to play golf. Then, as if that wasn't enough, some Americans saw fit to portray the Balkan war as a tiresome interruption in the President's golfing schedule. The Washington Post had the unbelievable balls to phrase it this way: "The president tried to return to a more normal schedule, playing golf in Virginia and preparing for two domestic [i.e. real] events Tuesday..."
31. A few decades ago, Bill Clinton didn't seem to worry too much about the fate of American POWs in Vietnam when he first burned his draft card, then snagglepussed his way across the Atlantic to smoke joints and beat off in bathroom stalls at Oxford. Now he may soon expect us to believe that he feels so outraged by the sight of those three bloodied American POWs that his administration would feel comfortable, and even duty-bound, to commit legions of college-age Americans to a savage ground war with no end in sight.
32. Arguments about Serb vs. Albanian demographics just invite analogies to the secession of Hispanic-majority parts of the US. This excites really horrible people like Pat Buchanan.
33. Name one Albanian!
34. If we lose this war, there will be Oliver Stone films about damaged vets, with collagen-lipped stars crying on Oscar Night as they vault to the stage to cop their award for playing paraplegic survivors. If we win, there'll be Chuck Norris movies where "Serbian" extras in fake moustaches get mowed down by a one-man American army. Even Stallone could return. Rambo in Kosovo--can we risk that?
35. Americans like ourselves who live abroad are now in considerably more danger than they were before as a result of a violent swing of opinion against our government's policies. In Moscow alone, our embassy has been attacked, and a bar has been busted up just because its name is "Uncle Sam's". The embassy in Montenegro was attacked by 2,000 protesters, who bombed cars parked outside the embassy grounds and set the first floor of the embassy building on fire-- forcing Marines to fight to secure the area. As a result, expats around the world are living out the old Woody Allen joke: "My draft status? I'm a C-6, which means that in the event of war, I'm a hostage."
36. Until a few weeks ago, Western men in Moscow could always count on being given special attention by that most precious of God's creatures, the Russian dyevushka. Nerds became lady-killers; chronic masturbators acquired fluffers; guys who hadn't been laid more than three times in thirty American years suddenly found themselves living like low-rent Sultans. Not now. Thanks to the NATO airstrikes, the White God has become the White Devil. All bets are off. If you do get lucky, expect to get reamed. Now that we're looked upon as duplicitous barbarians, expect all relationships to be like a game of 3-dimensional chess. The days of E-Z sex and multiple partners in a consequence-free environment are over, thanks to America's sexually-demented president. Now, dyevs don't swallow. They just spit. All because your stupid country had to go 'n' bomb the Serbs. Think about that the next time you're getting a skull shine, will ya?!
37. We bombed Serbia on Easter Sunday, needlessly offending about 500 million Christians worldwide. Now the Serbs are offering an Orthodox Easter ceasefire, which we've pledged to ignore with reckless abandon.
38. If we're doing this to score some points with the Islamic world, why invade Kosovo, which means nothing to Muslims? Why not liberate Jerusalem and blast the Israelis off the Dome of the Rock?
39. After a brief shift toward reason earlier this decade, when Americans slashed their defense budget in the wake of the Cold War victory and elected a President who at least made an attempt to pass national health insurance legislation, the defense budget is rising again, while the percentage of Americans covered by health insurance continues to decrease.
40. In 1809, the Turks built a tower in the town of Nis. It was made of the skulls of Serbs who had tried to rebel. The Turks first skinned and stuffed the heads as souvenirs, then used 1,000 skulls for the tower. This kind of thing has happened to the Serbs rather often. Remember it when you judge them.
41. Some more perspective on the American perception of unilateral Serbian aggression: in 1915, during World War I, the Serbian army, having been overrun by a combined Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian and German force, was forced to retreat through Kosovo. Over a quarter of a million Serb troops and refugees, weak from cold and hunger, passed through Albanian village after village, and they weren't exactly treated to Gatorade and crushed ice. An eyewitness account, published in 1920, records: "The Albanians killed those who had become isolated, chopping their heads off with axe blows. Then they seized the uniform of the dead man and, disguised as Serbian soldiers so as to allay any suspicion, they killed other unhappy men by luring them into ambushes." Of the quarter million soldiers and refugees on the run through Kosovo, over half died.
42. America is once again indiscriminately bombing civilian populations when its ostensible grievance is with one particular individual foreign tyrant, who could be killed and done with. We could just assassinate Milosevic, of course, just as we could have killed or captured Saddam Hussein, or Osama Bin Laden, or Manuel Noriega, instead of bombing and killing mass numbers of civilians in each of their respective countries and leaving them alive. But we won't assassinate Milosevic, because a 1974 law written in response to revelations of CIA excesses prohibits the assassination of foreign leaders. Which sounds like not such a bad law, on the face of it...But as far as the eXile is concerned, if you're committed to killing people, you might as well start with your real target--and stop once you've hit him. You kill fewer people that way, right?
43. The Brits. You know they couldn't care less about the Albanians. They're just tagging along for the chance to hurt somebody, like the smallest, meanest guy in a gang. And since their toy Harrier jets--expensive, useless '70's military exotica--can't handle guided weapons, they're loading them with cluster bombs, the cheapest, fastest way to maim large numbers of people indiscriminately.
44. The Greens Party of Germany has long been famous for its pacifism-- until this war. Today, the Greens Party is part of the coalition that rules Germany. The Green's platform had been total demilitarization and a withdrawal from NATO. When Green leader Joschka Fischer was named Foreign Minister, he decided, aw, to hell with it! Although he insists he's still a pacifist, he wholeheartedly backs the Luftwaffe's bombing of Belgrade. Fischer has sold out in every way possible. He no longer opposes nuclear power, no longer wants to tax energy, no longer wants to lower the speed limit to 100km/hr... hell, he doesn't even wear casual wear anymore, proudly trading in his trademark sneakers and leather jacket for brogan wingtips and a pinstripe suit. The unleashing of the tree-hugging lesbian nazi yuppie: just another reason to oppose NATO bombing.
45. Javier Solana, elected NATO Secretary-General in 1996, was the leader of a 1980s movement protesting Spain's entrance into NATO.
46. This bombing has done more to enhance the legitimacy of Russia's communist party than the combined effect of our entire public policy and private commercial presence here in Russia since 1991-and we screwed up a lot during that time. Russia's dispatch of ships to the Adriatic more or less officially puts the US and Russia in military confrontation again, a horrific blunder considering that we Americans spent forty years and hundreds of billions of dollars to achieve the neutralization of the Russian military threat. Now it's all back, for the sake of...Albania?
47. Tom Clancy is probably too old to draft. And it's such a pity, because no doubt he'd be the first to parachute into Kosovo with the Rangers if he could.
48. As if one ancient Nostradamus wasn't enough, the Clinton administration has willed two more neo-Nostradami into being by following almost exactly the plot of the box-office failure Wag the Dog in its bombing of Yugoslavia. Because they wrote and produced a movie about a scandal-plagued President who starts a war on behalf of an oppressed Albanian minority, Hollywood journeymen Barry Levinson and David Mamet have become the oracles of our age.
49. If we send ground troops, it will be a NATO operation, which means American troops will die under Eurotrash command. Do you want your cousin to walk into an ambush under Belgian orders?
50. The war is distracting the American public from a number of serious investigations of allegations of corruption in the Clinton administration, not the least of which being the reported acceptance of a $300,000 donation from China's Chief of Military Intelligence, Gen. Ji Shengde, into the account of Democratic Party fundraiser Johnny Chung (not to be confused with our Johnny Chen), which was then funnelled into the 1996 Clinton re-election campaign fund (April 4, L.A. Times).
51. This war has revealed the American media to be a more effective conduit for state propaganda than the state-controlled press of the Soviet Union. See PRESS REVIEW.
52. Educated Westerners are supposed to be opposed to imposing their moral rules on other cultures. The Balkans are a distinct cultural area, within which inter-ethnic war has always been the norm. This is the single most indisputable fact about Balkan culture. If what we're seeing in Kosovo is an expression of a basic cultural pattern, why are we entitled to judge it, let alone kill thousands of Serbs to stop it? What is the deal here--are we supposed to be cultural relativists only as long as nothing serious is involved? Are we supposed to give up on cultural relativism the moment another culture does something which makes us really uncomfortable? Or are we just going to drop the whole pretense of relativism and go back to simple Victorian arrogance, imposing the moral rules of the English-speaking world everywhere our navy and air force can reach? You can't have it both ways. Either you accept that other cultures have their own moral rules (some of which involve different ways of making war) which are not subject to our judgment--or you take up the white man's burden and recolonize in earnest.
53. NATO committed a series of rhetorical blasphemies to drum up support for the action. Here's one word they shouldn't have used, but did:
Genocide. (n) The systematic, planned extermination of a racial or ethnic group. (Greek: genos, race + -CIDE, Latin: caedere, to kill).
On March 29th, British Defense Minister George Robertson said: "We are confronting a regime which is intent on genocide," while German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping said on the same day that the Serbs were committing a genocide. Folks, in a genocide, you don't let a single refugee go. You kill every single one of them, either out of hatred or because you fear they might come back some day. The Serbs don't qualify.
Just so we don't forget, "genocide" means to kill everyone in a race. The Serbs are doing something else: savagely expelling a hostile ethnic group from territory it claims as its own. There are many precedents for this. In 1945, the Czechs expelled over two million ethnic Germans from the Sudetenland, causing horrific human tragedies in the name of ethnically cleansing their nation. No one called that a genocide. It was evil and horrible, but it wasn't a genocide. As of this past Tuesday, the UN was using words like "extreme brutality and ruthlessness," and "mass deportations" to describe the Serb actions, while Britain had toned it down to "brutal ethnic cleansing." This week, now that the West might be forced to take in refugees exactly because they've falsely raised the moral stakes so high, the word "genocide" has been dropped, meaning we can intern them behind barbed-wire at Guantanamo Bay with a clear conscience.
54. We have driven Ukraine back into alliance with Russia. Prior to this bombing, Ukraine was still officially in the running for acceptance into NATO--an expansion of the alliance which would have represented an enormous coup for the West, and a nearly insurmountable obstacle to any conceivable Russian aggression. Now Ukraine is back in the Russian huddle. Ukraine for Albania--even Al Davis wouldn't make that trade.
55. NATO's bombing violates both the UN charter and NATO treaty itself. Article 2, section 7 of the UN Charter expressly forbids UN intervention "in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state...." Both the United States and NATO are signatories to the UN Charter and bound by it under international law. By bombing Serbia without first getting Security Council approval, NATO broke the law. Making them war criminals. Not that we expect NATO to try itself in the Hague...
56. Every Serb has a rifle and knows how to use it. Serbs were trained in guerrilla warfare all through the Tito years, and there are bunkers, arms caches and shelters hidden all over Serbia. If NATO invades and occupies Serbia, the trouble will just be starting.
57. The United States insisted that the air force of Turkey participate in the attack, demonstrating a remarkable lack of both military wisdom and cultural sensitivity. Because its 14th-century massacre at the hands of the Turks represents the central event in Serbia's history, one which has imbued Serbs with a desperate craving for revenge that has not spent itself in 600 years, the U.S., by shoving Turkey into its ranks, has virtually guaranteed that Serbs will fight this war at a fever pitch of ethnic hatred, with maximum determination, resolve, and sacrifice.
58. The Kosovo attack has revealed America to be a country in a cultural abyss.
Nothing means much at all to Americans. But there are some things that mean everything in the world to the Serbs. And it shows. Consider this poem about Kosovo, written by King Nikola late last century:
Over there, o'er there, beyond those hills, Where the heavens bend the blue sky, Toward Serb fields, toward martial fields, Over there, brothers, let's prepare to go! Over there, o'er there, beyond those hills, One can find they say, Milos's tomb...Over there!... My soul will receive its rest When the Serb no longer will be a slave.
Contrast this to the one song most associated with American tragedy: the inevitable captured soldier's white trash family house, sickly trees in the front yard adorned with cloying yellow ribbons. Join hands and soak in the hallowed verse of Tony Orlando & Dawn:
Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree If you still want me It's been ten long years, if you still want me If I don't see a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree I'll stay on the bus Forget about us Put the blame on me If I don't see that yellow ribbon Ro-o-o-und that o-o-old oak tree!
59. The world hates America more than ever, as evidenced by a spontaneous series of anti-American demonstrations on a scale not seen since the seventies. Here's a small list of all the anti-American demonstrations since March 24th.
Formerly Western-leaning Montenegro last weekend brought out 30,000 demonstrators, or 5% of the republic's population, to rally against NATO and for Serbia Skopje, capital of Macedonia, was the scene of violent demonstrations on the first night of the bombing. Demonstrators burned vehicles and tried storming the embassy, forcing US ambassador Chrisopher Hill to hide in the basement. Riot troops broke it up. Security has since been beefed up by the addition of Macedonian police, 40 Marines and an American anti-terrorist squad. On April 1st, over 10,000 people demonstrated in Paris calling for a return to the peace talks, Patras, Greece saw 4,000 people chanting anti-U.S. and anti-NATO slogans, and in Prague, 300 Czech and Serb residents demonstrated against the air strikes. On March 31st, some 2,500 Serbs demonstrated in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana against NATO air strikes; approximately 3,000 people demonstrated in front of the U.S. Information Center in Podgorica, Montenegro, denouncing both the U.S. and the Montenegran governments. some 5,000 people pelted the U.S. consulate in Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, with stones, firecrackers, and eggs on the evening of March 29, in protest of NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia. It follows other major demonstrations last week in Athens and on March 28 outside the U.S. military base on Crete. On March 27, several thousand people, mostly supporters of the reformed communist party, PDS, demonstrated against NATO in Berlin. About 700-1,300 people demonstrated in The Hague and some of them were arrested for throwing rocks at the German embassy. In Italy, several thousand people participated in demonstrations in Milan and Rome. Also, about a thousand demonstrators demolished the U.S. embassy in Cyprus. In Romanian Timosoara, about 1,100 people, mostly Romanian Serbs and supporters of far-right Romania Mare party, demonstrated against NATO attacks. About a thousand Serbs also held a protest at the gates outside Downing Street in London. Not to mention Moscow...
60. Desperate to keep "democratic" Russia afloat and out of the hands of communist or nationalist extremists, the U.S. has been forced, once again, to engineer a loan to the Yeltsin government through the IMF. Since the Russian government has pledged to help the Serbs, the U.S. will therefore be pledging military assistance to its own enemies.
61. There is no compelling economic interest at stake for the United States in the Balkan conflict. Do you know anyone who bought a Yugo?
62. There are a lot of cheap, shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles floating around these days, many of them sold by the Afghans after delivery by the CIA. They work.
63. Carol J. Williams is covering Yugoslavia and the war for the L.A. Times.
64. The Clinton administration, as it has done several times in the last few years, will almost certainly use the Balkan conflict as the justification for a series of ambitious new "security" or "anti-terrorist" bills which will further scale back and threaten domestic civil rights. A counterterrorism bill passed in 1996 already enhanced the Federal government's fight against arbitrarily-designated foreign "terrorist" organizations by allowing the government to bar entry to any alien they say is associated with a terrorist group. Furthermore, in a provision which directly counters the individual American citizen's constitutional protection against the doctrine of guilt by association, the bill gives federal law enforcement officials the right to wiretap, search, perform surveillance upon, even prosecute as accessories any American shown to have supported any of the terrorist organizations on its list. It is worth noting, incidentally, that Nelson Mandela's ANC was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government throughout Mandela's incarceration. The 1996 bill also allowed for immediate deportations based upon secret evidence, a manifestly unconstitutional provision. Meanwhile, this year, on January 25, the Clinton administration announced that it would be sending to congress a broad new antiterrorist bill that would create a domestic military "commandante"--we're not making this up--under whom soldiers would serve in a role combating domestic terrorism. If it passes, this new anti-terrorism bill would repeal the Posse Comitatus act of 1878, which decreed that the government may not deploy members of the military as a domestic law-enforcement personnel. All of these measures were instigated, mind you, BEFORE the NATO attack began, before the U.S. embassies in Russia and Montenegro were attacked, before there was a real live enemy to threaten U.S. security. Are you ready for what's next?
65. NATO was formed to help Western Europe repel a massive conventional attack from the Warsaw Pact. Its armies are still configured for that task, and its most important purpose is to make it unprofitable for anyone even to contemplate attacking Western or Central Europe. NATO forces have no mandate to police little provincial skirmishes like those going on in Kosovo. NATO forces aren't likely to be very good at that sort of job, either. And when the NATO campaign in Kosovo fails, NATO will become too timid to act in a real crisis of the kind the alliance was designed to confront.
66. By needlessly making a show of our utter disrespect for Russians by leaving them out of the decision-making process prior to the bombing of their former satellite state, the United States forced Russia to either publicly admit to its geopolitical irrelevance, or else take a stand and defy the United States militarily.
67. From the vantage point of pure self-interest, the bombing is a disaster for foreigners doing business here in Russia. Now that NATO has made us all look like unpredictable cowboys who speak with forked tongue, forget about making money here. No one will trust you anymore, your "Made In The USA" is no longer a sign of distinction, and some may even be looking for sweet revenge. Bombing Russia's friends is bad for business.
68. Kosovo was the cradle of Serb civilization before it was cleansed by Turk invaders who dispersed the Kosovo Serbs throughout the Balkans. While the Albanians have been a majority for quite some time, it hasn't come without its spells of mass ethnic cleansing of Serbs. In 1941, after the Italians took control of Greater Albania, the Kosovo Albanians immediately set about slaughtering Serbs, forcing the Italians to intervene. It is estimated that 100,000 Serbs fled their homes in Kosovo in 1941 alone. Also, the Albanians have the highest birth rate of any people in Europe, while the Serbs seem to have been slaughtered at a greater rate than any people. This might help explain the ethnic imbalance between the two in what is claimed to be Serbia's heartland.
69. The KLA are diehard Marxist-Leninists who have been linked to Osama bin Laden, the terrorist we launched two ineffective missile attacks to stop. A January 21st article in the French newspaper Liberation claims that KLA frontman Adem Demaci is an unabashed disciple of Mao, and that the KLA leaders are all deep admirers of the late Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. Furthermore, in almost the only instance of American reporting on the KLA, the March 28th edition of The New York Times wrote that the KLA was "originally made up of diehard Marxist-Leninists, as well as by descendants of the fascist militias raised by the Italians in World War II." The U.S. has fought two lengthy shooting wars and one 45-year Cold War to contain communism; now we're fighting alongside them to depose a democratically-elected leader.
70. It sounds like an old issue, but it's still valid: the United States Constitution prohibits the use of military force without a 2/3 majority vote in both houses of congress, except in cases of emergency. That Presidents have in this half of this century done so in Korea, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan, among others, does not make it right or even legal. As congressman Tom Campbell (R-CA), a former Stanford law professor, said last week in voicing his objections to yet another "undeclared" war: "Previous constitutional violations do not justify subsequent ones."
71. Despite its moral posturing about Serb ethnic cleansing, NATO itself has provided air cover for the same kinds of atrocities it now accuses the Serbs of committing. In 1995, NATO planes, responding to what many now suspect was a Bosnian-government-staged massacre of Muslim civilians, attacked and crippled the Bosnian Serb army with punishing air assaults. At the same time, a massive two-pronged ground assault was unleashed on the Serbs both from Croatia into Serb-populated Krajina and from the Muslim-Croat alliance into Serb-populated regions of central and west Bosnia. Nearly all of Croatia's 600,000 Serbs were brutally expelled, fulfilling Ante Pavelic's Ustashe dream. Several hundred thousand more Bosnian Serbs were uprooted in the Croat-Muslim offensive within Bosnia. Altogether, in a matter of weeks, up to a million Serbs were ethnically cleansed. No one knows how many died.
72. The Serbs are one of the tallest, most beautiful European tribes. Somalis, too, are tall and elegant, as are the Tutsi, who actually call themselves `'The Tall People." Why are the most beautiful tribes being wiped out by the squat and ugly?
73. When President Clinton first asked Congress over three years ago to authorize sending American troops to Bosnia as part of SFOR peacekeeping troops, he promised they'd be home in six months. According to Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), "The years have passed, more than $20 billion has been spent, and our soldiers are still there. Very few seriously ask anymore when these troops are coming home - or even what it is they are supposed to be accomplishing."
74. The war marks the return of liberal warmongers. You thought they became extinct in 1968, but you were wrong. NATO head Javiar Solana was a Marxist, Socialist and anti-NATO demonstrator up to the mid-80s; Tony Blair leads the once-left-wing Labor Party; Clinton burned his draft card; Gerhard Schroeder is a Socialist, and his Foreign Minister a Greens Party sellout; French Premier Lionel Jospin is a Socialist; and vermicelli-spined hawk Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema heads the most left-wing government in Italian history. A horrifying bunch of Eurofags trying to pass themselves off as pinstriped "realists". In other words, meet the New Left, same as the Old Left. America has plenty of its own liberal war groupies, too. Ever on the Easter Egg hunt for an easily-defeatable Hitler to smash, America's liberals thought they'd found it in Milosevic. Now that the air war has failed (no duh!), they're crying for a ground war. Among the more conspicuous: Former avuncular nice guy Mark Shields, who now praises Clinton for showing "courage" in flouting popular opinion by bombing the Serbs, and called on him to prepare Americans for some serious slaughter. Other pampered liberals screaming to throw American kids into a Kosovo ground war include Sen. Joe Biden, Joseph Lieberman and Charles Robb. What these liberals never understand is that no matter how bravely they rattle America's military saber, they'll never, ever be feared or respected by anyone but their page boys.
75. Ask five people you know if they've heard how many Serbs have been killed or maimed so far in the bombing.
76. Then ask those same five people if they've seen the videotape of the three captured American POWs.
77. Poetry slams. They're going to pop up like herpes in every college town in the US, giving every English major the chance to compose a safely ambiguous rant against the horrors of war and perform it in front of other, likeminded people, increasing his/her chances of mating. These people should not be encouraged to breed.
78. Because the NATO action comes on the heels of a year-long sex scandal/impeachment process which tied up virtually the entire government for a year, the bombing campaign in Serbia means that the most powerful and influential nation in the world will continue to be paralyzed after having done virtually nothing of substance except bomb Iraq and provide fodder for blowjob jokes for the last 15 months.
79. Bill Clinton reportedly said "We can't lose this one" at a White House policy meeting a few nights into the bombing, providing an ugly insight into the extent to which Americans view the entire world, and their role in it, as a sports contest. This is just one more reason why the rest of the world has gradually come to hate America's guts--because military action is a game for Americans, who have nothing but their careers on the line, while for people in other countries-not just for Serbia, but for Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, even for Italy and the rest of the countries neighboring the Balkans- this is a life-or-death situation. How do you think people in these countries like to see Clinton fretting about losing "this one"?
80. Here's how you die in the kind of war we're starting: you're standing in the hatch of your APC as it rolls through a wooded valley in Kosovo when suddenly your head jerks to the right and pops like a zit, splattering your brains over the hood of the APC. About a second later, your crewmates hear the crack of a hunting rifle from somewhere in the woods. Your APC can't get up there. You call for air support, but the Apaches don't go in close to sweep the woods anymore because they've been taking too many hits from shoulder-fired SAMs. Your unit has two choices: do nothing, or blow the nearest Serb village to bits in reprisal. Either way, the Serbs get stronger and the NATO occupying army gets weaker.
81. In the sixties, Martin Luther King, Jr. told blacks to oppose U.S. involvement Vietnam because it was a war whose human cost was being disproportionally paid by the poor, i.e. by them. The same will be true if the U.S. commits to a ground war in Serbia, but the American black leadership apparently isn't what it used to be in terms of watching out for its own. Jesse Jackson, expressing his unequivocal support of The Man, said last week that the risk of American lives was acceptable because "the military is meant to be used". Meanwhile, the Final Call, the Nation of Islam's newspaper, came out Monday with an editorial which began as follows: "The fiercest battle being fought today is not the battle in Iraq, nor is it the fighting in Kosovo or Sierra Leone." So what was the most urgent and outrageous issue of the day, according to the Final Call? A political cartoon in the Village Voice, depicting, to the paper's horror, the Minister Farrakhan being attended to by Jewish doctors.
82. Why haven't Nobel Peace laureates Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Yassir Arafat, Desmond Tutu, and the rest spoken out more volubly against this war? For that matter, where are one-joke acts like Bob Geldof? Sally Struthers? Yoko Ono? If nothing else, this war has proven that it's passe to be a peacenik. Last week, at the California State Democratic Convention-the traditional Mecca of America's most fervent peace/love hippie anti-war political activists, the home to the delegate contingent that throughout the 1960s picketed national party meetings with chants of "Stop the Bombing"--the solidly pro-Clinton proceedings were only interrupted once, by a single heckler, who shouted at Tipper Gore, "Bring them Home!" before being dragged away. As for the rest of the participants, they were mostly ex-hippies and ex-lefties who in the process of becoming establishment players in the 1990s had acquired a new fluency in the language of elitist cop-outs-- and were on hand at the convention to show off their skills. "I never believed I'd have to go back and vote on airstrikes," wondered aloud Senator Barbara Boxer. "But human rights belong to everyone in the world," she added, and ought not to be denied "because of ethnicity, religion, or background." (Boston Globe, March 31, 1999)
83. We'll get tired of the whole mess and leave--and when we do, the Albanians will suffer alone. There won't be a single photo of their suffering in any of the Western media, because they will be old news.
84. Does anybody miss the Mekong Delta? We lost that and managed to survive. We'll lose Kosovo for the same reason: we don't care about it, and the people we're fighting do.
85. If there is a ground war, it will almost certainly inspire the production of at least one grossly over-funded, falsely soul-searching film about a crippled war veteran that will star a healthy, nautilus-trained hunky tanned American actor. Coming Home and Born on the Fourth of July were only appetizers...Are you ready for Brad Pitt in a wheelchair? Leo De Caprio with "Kosovo syndrome"? Keanu Reeves as a blinded field surgeon, shown thirty feet tall in theaters all around the globe, confidently mispronouncing "Kosovo Polje" with a hard "j"? You'd better be. These are our next ambassadors to the world.
86. America's top brass was against the bombing. According to the April 5th edition of the Washington Post, the American military's top command argued against Madeleine Albright's reasoning that "losing" Kosovo would eventually destabilize the entire Balkans. They also said bombing Serbia would likely lead to a sharp escalation in the war against the Kosovo Albanians.
87. Slobodan Don't Surf! There are no beaches in Serbia.
88. What's all this "we," anyway? Are you planning to join up in time to take part in the first wave of the attack on Kosovo? If not, then drop the "we" stuff. One of the worst verbal consequences of the war is that people who have no intention of volunteering to fight in Kosovo will use the pronoun "we" to describe the NATO forces, saying things like "We kicked some ass!" when discussing the war. Anyone using "we" to describe the NATO forces in Kosovo should be forcibly inducted and sent to the front.
89. Now that Ukraine and Belarus have been forced back into alliance with Russia, the three countries are talking about redeploying nuclear weapons which were withdrawn to Russia in Ukraine and Belarus.
90. Among all the announced and expected year 2000 U.S. presidential candidates, none-- with the possible exception of semi-lunatic right winger Pat Buchanan--are against this action. In this sense, the bombing proves how few real political choices Americans have. Not only can President Clinton commit troops without bothering to secure full congressional approval, he can do so without having to worry about dissent within his party obstructing Al Gore's path to the nomination.
91. Even U.S. toadies like Yegor Gaidar are against this thing.
92. We've just about smoked our last pack of cruise missiles, and our bag of stealth planes is dented. Guess who's paying for the next trip to the store?
93. Inevitable Pulitzer Prizewinning photo of weeping worn-torn Albanian civilian.
94. America cares so much about Albanians, they're taking in 20,000 refugees-and putting them in a barbed wire compound on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba...
95. The Germans initially pledged to accept 40,000 Albanian refugees. Now they say they'll only take 10,000.
96. In contrast, tiny Macedonia has been saddled with over 130,000 refugees. Its prime minister, Llubco Georgievski, accused NATO of dumping the whole refugee problem on Macedonia and called NATO "completely irresponsible" this past Tuesday for ignoring warnings that NATO airstrikes would trigger a humanitarian disaster.
97. There is a great deal of evidence that points to pre-ordained war strategy on the part of the Clinton Administration. An August 12, 1998 analysis by the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee (RPC) noted that "planning for a U.S.-led NATO intervention in Kosovo is now largely in place.... The only missing element seems to be an event - with suitably vivid media coverage - that would make the intervention politically salable, in the same way that a dithering Administration finally decided on intervention in Bosnia in 1995 after a series of 'Serb mortar attacks' took the lives of dozens of civilians - attacks which, upon closer examination, may in fact have been the work of the Muslim regime in Sarajevo, the main beneficiary of the intervention."
"That the Administration is waiting for a similar 'trigger' in Kosovo is increasingly obvious," observed the RPC report.
During the negotiations at Rambouillet, American negotiators very openly entreated the KLA representatives to just sign the damn agreement so that all the blame would be put on Serbia, and bombing could commence. The day after the war began, the London Telegraph reported that General Clark, NATO's supreme military commander, "received his activation order for hostilities last October....The supreme commander does not need new permission from politicians or diplomats whenever he wishes to change tactics, or increase or scale back operations."
98. The KLA may have duped the United States and Serbia both to serve its own Machiavellian domestic agenda.The guerrilla tactics of Marxists like the KLA call for the terrorist group to kill enough enemies (in this case, ethnic Serbs) in order to trigger reprisals so terrible that life for the average Kosovar becomes unbearable, thereby radicalizing the situation. Now that the situation is suitably radicalized, KLA military police are now forcing, at gunpoint, male Kosovar refugees into service, according to an April 1 Associated Press wire. The KLA is even forcing refugees in Albania and Macedonia into service. In other words, the U.S. bombing and the subsequent Serbian reprisals against Albanians have both perfectly served the KLA's domestic agenda, providing it with defenseless refugees to fatten its rolls. This is yet another example of why the "ethnic cleansing" issue is not as black and white as the American press would have you believe.
99. Despite all of the above, the U.S. hopes to increase the influence of the KLA. On March 26th, the Global Intelligence Report claimed that "several foreign policy-makers, including Senators Mitch McConell, R-Ky. and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., are reportedly promoting the idea of increased support for the KLA." Yep, we sure know how to pick 'em.
100. The strength of the KLA would seem to belie President Clinton's claim that the Serbs planned to ethnically cleanse Kosovo this spring "all along anyway." The KLA only appeared in February of last year. They announced themselves by launching terrorist attacks on Serb police and villagers. By early-mid summer, some estimates were that the KLA had controlled up to two-thirds of Kosovo. The big powers only got involved when the Yugoslav forces retaliated and retook most of Kosovo, which is, after all, internationally recognized as an integral part of Yugoslavia. Furthermore, although the operation was by no means civilized, the number of casualties-roughly 800 dead total on both sides during last year's battles-was remarkably low compared to the opening months of the Bosnian war, when it's estimated by some that tens of thousands were slaughtered and raped.
101. "America does not need to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy...America... well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extraction, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force... She might become dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit." - John Quincy Adams; Address, 4 July 1821
12 April 1999, Johnson's Russia List Ames and Taibbi on NATO
By Jeremy Baer
Despite the unfortunate adolescent manner in which "The eXile" delivers its commentaries, Ames and Taibbi are often thoughtful observers of current events, and they have scored a bullseye on their criticism of NATO's Yugoslavian campaign.
If rule number one in military strategy is to never become involved in a land war in Asia, than surely rule number two must be never to become too involved in the ancient hatreds of the Balkans. The efficacy of military force in resolving Balkan disputes has been proven repeatedly through the ages to be nill. Neither swords nor tanks nor stealth fighters can slay the dragon of centuries old ethnic antagonisms. Anyone who thinks otherwise is suffering the delusions of the Utopian rhetoric which the White House grand eliquoently calls policy.
Those of us who subscribe to a fundamentally Realist conception of international relations in the fine traditions of George Kennan and Henry Kissinger view the recent NATO actions as absurd. Why is it, we ask, that NATO should place its credibility on the line for a relatively weak and resource poor land that, left to its own devices, poses little threat for escalation into a Continental wide catastrophe? The most plausible worst case scenario advocated by the doomsayers before the strikes was a war involving several relatively weak powers, whose combined might was still not a sufficient threat to the great powers of the EU and NATO. War refugees, of course, is always a nuisance, but one which Americans should conclude is a European problem and something which doesn't justify sending their troops to the Continent.
To this it might be added that NATO's involvement did little to further its stated goal of containing the refugee problem; quite the contrary. To this it may be added further still that NATO's involvement did not further its stated goal of reducing the likelihood of escalation; quite the contrary yet again! What an amusing example of The Law of Unintended Consequences. Bill Clinton's legacy will be to have created an international relations textbook scenario of what NOT to do.
Then there is the Russian question. Yes, *the* issue which possesses the most saliency for JRL leaders. Before NATO's eastward expansion and subsequent slaughter of Orthodox Serbs, it was conceivable that NATO could have established a strategic partnership with the Russian Federation. Assuming the Russians could have one day overcome their economic stupor and truly regained Great Power status, they would have been useful in helping stem the possible contagion of Islamic Fundamentalism on their southern border, not to mention offsetting China's expansionism on their eastern sphere of influence.
Then there is Russia's nuclear arsenal. Before the Russians became justfully enraged by NATO's actions they might have readily signed the START II treaty years ago, thereby eliminating their number of warheads and therefore the possibility one of these damned devices would fall in the wrong hands. Surely, there can be no greater issue of national and international security, no greater humanitarian concern, than to try to save the world from the scourge of Russia's uncontrolled nuclear stockpile. Surely, whatever the Serbs have done cannot compare in scope to the specter of anti-Western terrorists acquiring Russian nukes. Eliminating the bulk of Russia's nuclear arsenal would have been a cause worthy of America and NATO.
But this is not how it passed. The powers that be decided that Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic's incorporation into NATO, and NATO's Quixotic crusade for peace in the Balkans, was more important than profitable relations with the world's second greatest nuclear power. Ultimately, the inclusion of Russia into a cooperative security arrangement with the West far exceeds in value whatever worth there is in having the good will of the Poles, the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Croats or the Albanians. Russia is the pivot of Eurasia, and if to secure its collaboration the interests of Eastern Europe and the Balkans had to be sacrificed, well, so be it, that is the choice that should have been made.
The recent NATO expansion and air strikes, ultimately the result of American leadership, confirm Samuel Huntington's recent thesis about the United States as a "rouge superpower," a swaggering imperialist juggernaught whose arrogance gets in the way of good policy and whose attempt to impose its will through force will prove quite counterproductive to its security. It is more comforting to believe Huntington's thesis than the only other alternative possibility: an America that quite simply does not know what the hell its doing anymore in its foreign policy, or a NATO so desperate for a cause in the post-Cold war world it mindlessly expands and wages undeclared wars.
The West in the 1990's had a glorious opportunity to cultivate Russia as a viable strategic partner. Sadly, the opportunity was squandered. Now the twenty-first century will open up with the US and NATO's misguided and ultimately futile crusades, and the rest of the world's hostile reactions to them. It's truly a pity that the people at "The eXile" have the brains to figure this out and the great minds in Washington and Brussels do not.