Source Douglas L. Vaughan, Jr.
Date 99/05/24/00:10

Where to start?

1. Humanitarian intervention is one of those noble excuses big countries
like to selectively enforce as a justification for meddling in other
people's affairs. While permissible under international law, it's the moral
analog to no-knock searches -- those with power will do it because they
can, not because it's right, because international law is still force
majeure of the 19th century imperial powers -- the Holocaust and Nuremberg
notwithstanding. The hypocrisies are multiplying faster than principles.

2. Slobo is, like Noriega and Saddam, a very American creation. In the
waning days of Tito's reign, the Kissingerites began scouting for a
tractable guy they could do business with -- a nationalist to counter those
evil commies. Having agitated the slicing off of Slovenia as a sop to
Italy, they promoted Tudjman and the ghosts of Croatian Ustashi for the
Germans, while building up Milosevic as the Serb national saviour. Now
they've got him .. and all the old Chetniks he let loose from Tito's
jails, where they damn well belonged, to fight in Bosnia.

3. The US and Brits have never been able to swallow the idea that they
couldn't swallow up the Balkans after WWII: Tito (the Croat, Josep Broz)
united the various ethnic groups against foreign occupation, suppressed
their atavistic "nationalisms" while according regional autonomy.
Yugoslavia was the only country in Europe liberated from the Nazis without
the direct intercession of the Red or US Army. The CIA's first great defeat
was the little-known Albanian incursion in 1946-47, when hundreds of
fascisti were parachuted into that beachhead to overthrow Enver Hoxha in
the name of the King. There's still an aging crowd of spooks who are
itching to get even for all those petty humiliations leading up to Hungary,
1956. We've been promoting monarchists and facist collaborators and other
specious nationalists ever since in an effort to recoup that fiasco (once
blamed on Philby but more likely it was old Prince Turkul and the Black
Orchestra). The latest fascination is the KLA, largely in the hands of
Islamic fundamentalists. Do we intend to directly administer this new
satrapy or turn it over to Bin Laden and friends?

4. I recall a line from the 18th Brumaire: "History does indeed repeat
itself -- indeed, twice as it were: The first time as tragedy, the second
as farce." Since we largely created the Balkan Wars of the 1990s in
historical amnesia/nostalgia for the last century's wars, it's clear we
haven't learned a thing about their ends and our means, but we now have an
obligation to the refugees we've created with Slobo's help. I see Bush and
Clinton as Laurel and Hardy, "This is a fine mess you've got us into this
time..." As my old man says, what's the fastest way to get out of a hole?
Stop digging!

5. The bombing is supposed to force Slobo to accept the Rambouillet
non-agreement, which he accepted except for one point -- no foreign troops.
No NATO, which means no Germans, thanks. Seems reasonable enough, even for
the Chetniks. The only reason the Clinton-Blair-Schroeder crowd wants NATO
there is to show it can do something, that is, to establish its
credibility. Even that has become opera bouffe. But it has managed to piss
off the Russian nationalists and pan-Slavists... for what? Even Henry K
understands that much.

5. Self-determination is another fine slogan. Herzegovina for the
Herzegovinans, Vovojnia for the ... this way lies madness. But no
independent Kurdistan, no Euskal Herria, nor even Northern Ireland suits
the NATO definition, made up ad hoc like the Red Queen's law in Wonderland.

6. We use the UN when it suits us, and when it won't serve as a fig-leaf,
we ignore it. That damn Russian veto again.

This could get a whole lot worse.

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