On Sunday, Serbia’s largest foreign affairs weekly Pecat ran an interview with me by a young man named Jovan Tripkovic. I understand that a fuller online version appeared in the daily Novosti, and is also available on Mr. Tripkovic’s blog. So that there is a record of it in English, I’ve reproduced below the original questions and answers, before they were translated into Serbian.

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What was the national interest of the United States in supporting Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo Albanians during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia? Was it in the national interest of the American nation, or in the financial interest of America’s political elite?

There was no national interest in America’s support for Bosnian and Albanian Muslims in the Yugoslav conflicts — something admitted by U.S. officials every time they explained that these were “humanitarian wars” and therefore didn’t require a national interest. However, in hindsight, given the logical conclusion of those wars which we are now witnessing — namely, the Get Russia agenda — it becomes clear what our underlying so-called “interest” was: getting a foothold near Russia (via our Bondsteel military base) as a rung on the ladder toward Russia’s encirclement and eventual dismantlement. Such a priority was this false-interest goal that we were in fact willing to undermine real security, stability, and national interest to achieve it.

So no, none of it was in the national interest of the American nation, but whether it was all done, rather, to further the financial interests of our political elite is worth analyzing. While I don’t think that figured into the equation for war, it was certainly a blatant result. (Or were we not supposed to notice, 15 years later, former Secretary of state Madeleine Albright’s firm bidding for Kosovo’s national telecom company during the privatization process?) And of course part of the drive to dismember Russia — on the road to which was the dismemberment of Yugoslavia — is to get in on that economy and natural resources.

Lastly, our involvement in the Kosovo war in particular couldn’t have happened without campaign cash pouring into our Congressmembers’ purses by the ethnic lobby that wanted it. So in that retroactive sense too, siding with the Albanians was done in furtherance of our political elites’ financial interests.

It’s been almost 20 years since the US intervention in Kosovo and 10 years since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence. Do you think that military-intelligence structures in DC have realized the mistake that the United States made in Kosovo, taking into account the fact that the territory of Kosovo is the biggest exporter of jihadists to Syria and Iraq?

The mistake we made in Kosovo — if it indeed started out that way by part of the military-intelligence structures (Pentagon advised against the Kosovo action initially and Congressional Republicans voted against it) — was realized much earlier than today which sees a high proportion of “Kosovars” joining ISIS. It was realized immediately after the war, as early as 1999 and 2000, when Albanian guns turned on NATO peacekeepers trying to prevent them from wantonly shooting at Serbs (and sometimes not even in those instances). Not only were the president’s and defense secretary’s Kosovo trips canceled in 1999, but articles in the Western press started appearing, such as a March 2001 BBC item reading, “US troops have shot and wounded two rebel fighters in Kosovo, near the increasingly tense border with Macedonia…Nato troops could be sucked into combating the ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia…Fighters from the rebel National Liberation Army have told the BBC that if any of those arrested were to be extradited to Macedonia, the organisation would consider American K-For troops to be legitimate targets….‘We are looking very closely now at the possible decision to allow Yugoslav forces into the ground safety zone,’ Nato Secretary General, Lord Robertson, said in New York.”

And, for just one more example:

“The speed with which the West has switched sides to work with Yugoslav forces following the fall of the old Milosevic regime in Belgrade has alarmed some military analysts…heighten[ing] the danger that Albanian extremists inside Kosovo or the Presevo Valley will turn their guns on Nato peacekeepers whom they accuse of betrayal…Tensions mounted in the valley…when suspected guerrillas broke a ceasefire and fired at Serbian police posts….In the nearby rebel headquarters in Koncul, just inside Serbia, fighters were hostile to Western journalists whom they once welcomed. Shefket Musliu, the bearded, shaven-headed top UCPMB commander, aggressively ordered us out of the ethnic Albanian stronghold.”

Unfortunately, foreign policy is only forward-looking; it does not change course, so the mentality became, “OK, we screwed up; how do we make this work for us now? In other words, ‘We’ve dug ourselves into a hole, how can we dig even deeper — so we can at least take something out?’ This is how we got taken along for the full ride of the Albanian agenda, with the internationals there following orders from their Albanian masters on what they could or couldn’t notice, and which investigations they could pursue or not.

Even the fact that today — 20 years later — Kosovo is proportionally the biggest exporter of jihadists to Syria is beside the point regarding the words “Kosovo mistake.” Our attitude toward jihadists in general should be clear by now. Events since Kosovo — that is, in Libya, Syria and others where U.S. again supported jihadists against governments — have made it unmistakable: we do not regard terrorists and jihadists as an ultimate target, even if we are theirs. The ultimate target is, and has always been, Russia, and jihadists are viewed as an often useful tool against such perceived “rivals” no matter how many Westerners they kill. We don’t take seriously those who seek our end, but are very serious toward Russia, which does not seek our end.

Now, through this prism, our backwards involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo is crystallized.

Do you think that the American public is properly informed about the role of Bosnian radical Islamists and mujahideen in the 9/11 terrorist attack?

Not only is the American public not informed about the Bosnian role in the 9/11 attacks, it can’t even pronounce the word Bosnia.

There are much more directly-impacting things that Americans don’t understand, let alone something as “obscure” as a Balkans connection. And being a boiling frog, which seems to shrug at being mere food for our Islamic masters and know that objecting is futile, we long-conditioned Americans wouldn’t bat an eyelash that 9/11 had connections and origins in Bosnia. It’s almost funny that there was an active effort by the political establishment and its writers/thinkers to cover up or deflect from the Bosnian and Kosovan elements in terrorism, given that Americans ignore the Balkans region anyway. In fact, when Kosovo declared independence less than 10 years after our war there, Americans were asking, “What’s Kosovo?”

Can you make a parallel between the cultural destruction of the Islamic state and the cultural genocide, which occurred on March 17th, 2004 in the region of Kosovo and Metohija?

The cultural destruction that’s been carried out by Islamic State does bear an uncanny resemblance to the cultural and religious destruction by Albanians of all things Serbian/Orthodox, which culminated in March 2004. Even if there was no practical connection (and indeed, IS came along only much later), the resemblance is unmistakable. And of course there is a connection in the larger scheme of things, in terms of the direction the globe is heading in. Incidentally, there was literally a parallel at the time that the cultural defacing of Kosovo was happening: in Gaza and the West Bank, where Palestinian, as opposed to Albanian, Muslims were engaging in similar destruction of synagogues and other Jewish sites and relics. And yet we were supposed to view both cases — Serbia and Israel — as something specific to those regional conflicts. That is, in a vacuum. But thankfully ISIS has cleared that up for us.

The Albanian lobby is present in America, while a Serbian one doesn’t even exist in Washington DC. However, the Jewish diaspora is one of the most influential in the United States of America. Taking into account that Serbs and Jews have similar destiny and shared national interest, do you think that the Jewish community is a natural and logical partner of Serbia in the process of defense and promotion of the Serbian national interest in the United States?

This is a big yes, and the reason that I was jolted into action in 1999. I couldn’t stand it, as a Jew, that this was being done to a people. Even a people who, at the time, I was unfamiliar with. I simply saw what was happening to Serbia as something that could happen to Israel. Indeed, something that was being attempted at Israel daily.

Only as I did more research did I learn the parallels and history of Serbs and Jews. That was the kind of profound coincidence that confirms there are no coincidences.

American Jews should have known better (or at least done some research) than to take the wrong side in Bosnia and Kosovo. If it would have bothered them to side against Albanians, given Albania’s decent WWII history toward Jews (despite being an Axis partner), then they should have had the decency to just stay out of it.

But yes, Serbs and Jews are natural partners (the Israeli Jews, at least, recognize this), and if Serbs haven’t done a good job of lobbying Washington, perhaps they can lobby the Jews who successfully lobby Washington.

Do you believe that the current administration of President Trump is more open for cooperation and dialogue with Serbia than previous administrations? Do you have any advice for the Serbian government, how to be more successful in the process of lobbying for the national interest in Washington DC?

I do believe the Trump administration is one that would be more open to a change in our Balkans policy. Unfortunately, that particular sphere is always the ball that gets dropped or sacrificed even by a reasonable/Republican presidency, as it finds itself fighting bigger battles. Washington attitudes and policies toward that region are so entrenched that there’s no changing them even by a maverick like Trump. Every new president is just told what the agreed and ongoing and “correct” bipartisan policy is, and that there’s no reason to change anything. There were even articles coming out within months of the start of Trump’s presidency, profiling a pair of Albanian brothers who are nicely in place at the NSA or some such agency, as are many others throughout our intelligence apparatuses. It’ll just be even sadder than usual, given that Trump’s children were partly raised by a Serbian nanny.

Is there a possibility that in the near future, due to Muslim expansion in the region of the Balkans, the United States of America will openly support independence of the Republic of Srpska, which would open a new chapter in relations between our two countries?

Unfortunately, given our now open support of Islam (as early as 1995, a New Republic article assessed that the U.S. is staking its future with the Muslim world), even Islamic expansion in the Balkans region wouldn’t deter our anti-Serb policies. So no, we would not support independence of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska, but would use it as an excuse for more of the typical threats against the “uncooperative” Serb entity and decry “Serbian intransigence” and then of course “nationalism.”

The fact that you even ask this hopeful question demonstrates the heartbreaking nature of the dynamic: Serbs always leaving the door open, an olive branch extended, to friendship and cooperation and an “all is forgiven” attitude toward a West that has proved itself to be little more than a predator to them. Even if the scenario you describe were to happen, it would be too generous on your parts, and extract no apologies from us even as our reversal would imply an understanding that we were wrong.