April 14th 2008 03:56:26 PM
In a recent article titled “Is Kosovo the End of Europe” Ash Narain Roy of New Delhi’s Institute of Social Sciences warned that “Kosovo’s independence has dealt a blow to the nation-state. Many wonder if the nation-state in the 21st century is going out of fashion and whether a model of multi-cultural living, the hallmark of the nation-state, is on way to redundancy.”
Mr. Roy marveled, as all Balkan watchers do, at the collective shrug that met “such vital issue as the sovereignty of countries with minority populations and the challenges to a basic principle of international law…Kosovo has created a new precedent and twisted international law that separatists all over the world would use to further their interests…Spain’s Basque and Catalan separatists have also welcomed Kosovo’s independence with a banner like, ‘Today Kosovo. Tomorrow Catalonia’. Ethnic Albanians in Macedonia have also intensified their autonomy demands, an obvious road to independence…
“Kosovo is a dress-rehearsal for redrawing boundaries in Eurasia and the Middle East. It is a new balkanisation, part of American and German geo-strategic plan, to tame Russia. The goal is to drive a wedge in the Balkans to advance a spurious form of European integration. A clear pattern is discernible. Since the former Yugoslavia was a thorn in the American-German flesh, it has been systematically targeted. The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 was a well-devised plan. It was no coincidence that Bosnia-Herzegovina was divided along ethnic and religious lines — Serb, Croat, Bosniak, Christians and Muslims. To these ethnic-religious divides have been added further sectarian divisions within Christianity — Eastern Orthodoxy versus Roman Catholicism.
“…Efforts are now on to establish a Greater Albania which will bring together what are now Albania and Kosovo as well as adjacent parts of Serbia and Montenegro, Western Macedonia and the north-western regions of Greece.”
Mr. Roy doesn’t know just how right he is. Recently, a staggering memo from the year 2000 sent to Germany’s then chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, by Bundestag member Willy Wimmer — resurfaced, illuminating the West’s endgame in Europe for anyone “still trying to get at the bottom of the recent US-led unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s ‘independence’ completely outside of the UN framework, and America’s willingness to destabilize not just relations with Russia but the entire international order,” as Belgrade-based commentator Aleksandar Pavic put it in his March 12th article recalling the old correspondence:
[A] strikingly frank letter to then German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, of May 2, 2000, in the form of a report from a State Department/American Enterprise Institute-sponsored conference in Bratislava, Slovakia succinctly lays out the causes of NATO’s 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999, the purposes behind NATO’s further enlargement toward the borders of Russia, and, most importantly from the aspect of global security, the US aim of undermining the international legal order…
The conference itself was held at a very high level, with several prime ministers, foreign ministers and defense ministers from Central European countries in attendance, along with high-level State Department, OSCE and NATO officials, and representatives of high profile international NGO’s and think tanks…including Richard Perle and Daniel Fried, current U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.
…Looking back at the events that have taken place since, and especially having in mind the…lightning-quick recognition of the new “state” [of Kosovo] on the part of the US and its closest, mostly Western allies, Willy Wimmer’s letter is not just a prophecy, but a roadmap…If there were any doubts as to the aggressive nature of the US-led policy regarding Kosovo (and Europe as a whole), the following letter will almost certainly dispel them. The same applies to all doubts as to whether [this]…represents not just a grievous but a deliberate violation of international law and the wrecking of the post-World War II European and global order.
Mr. Gerhard Schröder
Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Berlin, May 2, 2000
Highly esteemed Mr. Chancellor,
At the end of last week I had the opportunity to attend a conference in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, jointly organized by the American State Department and the American Enterprise Institute (the foreign policy institute of the Republican Party). The main topics of the gathering were the Balkans and NATO enlargement.
The conference was attended by very high level political officials, as witnessed by the presence of a large number of prime ministers, as well as foreign ministers and defense ministers from the region. Among the numerous important points of discussion, certain themes deserve special mention:
1. The conference organizers demanded the speediest possible international recognition of an independent state of Kosovo within the circle of the allied states.
2. The organizers declared that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia lies outside of any legal framework, before all outside the Helsinki Final Act [on the inviolability of state borders – trans. note].
6. Without denigrating the importance of the Europeans’ after-the-fact legalistic interpretation, namely that the expansion of NATO’s tasks beyond the treaty’s legal domain in the war against Yugoslavia was just an exception, it is nevertheless clear that this represented a precedent, to be invoked by anyone at any time, and that many others will follow the example in the future.
7. It would be good, during NATO’s current enlargement, to restore the territorial situation in the area between the Baltic Sea and Anatolia [middle of Turkey] such as existed during the Roman Empire, at the time of its greatest power and greatest territorial expansion.
8. For this reason, Poland must be flanked to the north and to the south with democratic neighbor states, while Romania and Bulgaria are to secure a land connection with Turkey. Serbia (probably for the purposes of securing an unhindered US military presence) must be permanently excluded from European development.
9. North of Poland, total control over St. Petersburg’s access to the Baltic Sea must be established.
10. In all processes, peoples’ rights to self-determination should be favored over all other provisions or rules of international law.
11. The claim that, during its attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, NATO violated all international rules, and especially all the relevant provisions of international law – was not disputed.
After this conference, at which discussion was quite candid and open, it will not be possible to avoid the importance and long-term ramifications of its conclusions, especially having in mind the competence of the participants and organizers.
It seems that the American side, for the sake of its own goals, is willing and ready to undermine, on a global scale, the international legal order, which came about as a result of the two world wars in the previous century. Force is to stand above law. Wherever international law stands in the way, it is to be removed.
When the League of Nations experienced a similar fate, World War II was not far off. The manner of thought that takes into regard solely its own interests can only be referred to as totalitarian.
With friendly regards,
Willy Wimmer, Member, German Bundestag and Vice President, Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE
The document was originally published in 2001 in the German government journal Blätter fur deutsche und internationale Politik, and last year it was reprinted in the Belgrade weekly NIN (Feb. 8, 2007). The comment preceding a slightly different translation here notes that “Wimmer is by no means a leftist activist. Not even a left-leaning critic of ‘American imperialism’.” At the time he wrote the memo, he was a defense policy spokesman of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
No. 1, which called for the speedy recognition of Kosovo’s independence less than a year after the bombing ended, is significant because the international community specifically warned the Albanians not to get any designs on independence — just autonomy — and drafted UN Res. 1244 reinforcing Serbian sovereignty over the land, even leaving certain border-patroling responsibilities with Serbia. So it is actually a demonstration of Nos. 2 and 11 — that Yugoslavia is excluded from anything resembling the civilized norms of international relations and therefore nothing we sign with the Serbs has any binding effect. As U.S. ambassador Richard Holbrooke explained with a bellow in August 1999 to the five top figures of the UN Mission in Kosovo: “Forget multi-ethnic Kosovo. Forget Resolution 1244. We only signed that to get rid of the Serbs.”
No. 2, that “Yugoslavia lies outside any legal framework,” explains why Serbia is consistently excepted from all international norms of statecraft, why every protective rule that applies to every other nation doesn’t apply to Serbian-dominated lands, and why everything that the other ethnic regions are allowed to do — e.g., Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians and Albanians — the Serbs aren’t “allowed” to do.
No. 8, Serbia’s permanent exclusion from European development, explains why every time the Serbs bare their necks and fall in line with Western demands in order to reach for the carrot of EU integration, they still get the stick, and the next demand.
No. 10’s implementation is visible before our very eyes over the past two decades: “In all processes, peoples’ rights to self-determination should be favored over all other provisions or rules of international law.”
The memo explodes the propaganda about Serbia’s promised “European future.” As Nebojsa Malic put it, “No way those Islam-appeasing, welfarite cowards would ever want ornery cusses like the Serbs anywhere near them. Serbia’s territory, yes — but its people? Hell no.” Malic explains that the plan is to figuratively ‘kill off’ the Serbs, that is to “make them stop being Serbs, and become ‘Europeans’ or some such nonsense,” all the while killing off as many as collaterally possible. “Without Kosovo, the whole Serbian history stops making sense. And if one accepts the 1990s lie about the Serbs as genocidal aggressors, then the youth can be indoctrinated in being perpetually ashamed. Give it a decade or two, and the Serbs that remain won’t be any more Serb than their kin who adopted Catholicism or Islam in centuries past.” (A reference to Croatians and Bosniaks.)
A 2001 article that I’ve frequently linked, titled “It Began with a Lie,” also refers to Wimmer’s experience at the Bratislava conference:
[D]uring the live discussion following the rebroadcast of [a German TV] report on [the network] WDR…he mentioned a defence policy conference he attended in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, along with high-ranking representatives from Western Europe, the US and Eastern European countries “from the Baltic Sea to Macedonia”…Nevertheless, the strength of the report is that it unequivocally shows how the German government, which includes the Green party that was once at the fore of the pacifist movement in Germany, pushed through the first combat deployment of German troops since the demise of the Nazi regime. To achieve this aim, the government employed a propaganda apparatus that has also not seen its like since 1945.
As Wimmer pointed out in a September, 2001 interview with the Journal for German and International Policy (mentioned by Pavic above):
We should not lose sight of the fact that it was precisely Germany that started this unfortunate game, championing ethnically-based national states in the region. We should remember that Germany was the first to recognize Slovenia and Croatia. What still remains to be solved is why the Americans subsequently took up the German ethnic strategy…
There are many indications that, for the Americans, the situation in the Balkans is a sort of compensation for the Middle East. They use the Balkans to compensate for failures in the Arab-Israeli conflict…the Americans are now trying to offer concessions to the Muslims in the Balkans, the ones in Bosnia and Kosovo. In a word, to Washington the Balkans are serving as a reserve territory or a testing ground where, they believe, they might still be able to reach agreement with the Islamic world.
Whatever “Big Brother” says must be followed unconditionally…May the case of Serbia be the last such case. For, if I believe that I can ignore international law whenever it stands as an obstacle to my interests, then I am leaving the door wide open to a new war in Europe.
After Serbia, i.e. Kosovo, we had clashes in Macedonia. Until then, we were constantly showering Skoplje [capital of Macedonia] with praises. They disciplinedly carried out all our demands. And then the West suddenly changed its policy and extended support to the Albanian armed rebellion. What message were we sending to the Macedonian government? That violence pays off.
…What remains for us after the bombing of Serbia? [Do we] bring down the edifice that has secured the peace for us in Europe since 1945 — which is precisely what the Americans are doing, either alone or with the help of the British…?
Finally, some mention should be made here of the relations between Western Europe and Russia. In the case they are normal and good, then that would raise the question of NATO’s continued existence. The Americans invented the conflict in the Balkans in order to prevent the Europeans from thinking that NATO is no longer needed.
A paragraph in the Byzantine Sacred Art blog summed the situation up: Long Planned Destruction of Serbia
In the light of all the above, the latest statement by the US State Department’s Daniel Fried, barked from the KLA-cutthroats’ stronghold — Pristina — that “Serbia’s path to closer ties with the rest of Europe remains open”, and apparently, solely dependent on Serbia’s willingness to give up 15 percent of its territory, is nothing less than sadistic.
“The only barriers between Serbia and its European future are those it places for itself. They can block their own road, no one will block the road for them,” Fried mocked his victim.
Mickey Bozinovich at Serbianna also picked up on the Wimmer memo confirming the confounding pattern of Serbia complying with Western demands with the promise of European integration — but never actually being allowed to take any steps toward it:
European Union’s foreign ministers on Saturday agreed to help the pro-European camp in Serbia led by Serbia’s President Tadic in order to pave the way for its integration and that signing a Stabilization and Association Agreement which is a trade and aid pact and a visa-free agreement would help the pro-European forces at the May 11 elections in Serbia.
Serbia’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said that May 11 election in Serbia are crucial in determining the future [course] of the country. “The result (of the elections) will produce radical consequences for the future development of Serbia and the Western Balkans,” Jeremic said, adding that “no one’s choice will be unaffected by the issue of Kosovo.”
In light of Wimmer’s letter, to many in Serbia such hopeful pronouncements by the EU appear as a deception. “It is rather impossible that our President [Tadic], besides so many of his advisers, not to be privy on [the] letter that Willy Wimmer wrote,” said [Kosovo Bishop] Artemije. “One has to be honest to his people and say it bluntly that… there is no European perspective” for Serbia.
Armed with our knowledge of the meeting that Wimmer attended, we have a damning context for perceptive assessments such as the one by Mr. Roy above, and one offered by Michalis Firillas, editorial staff member of Israel’s English-edition Haaretz:
Kosovo: Coming soon to a theater near you, which reminds us that Kosovo “was created not by accord but by force,” and goes on about the implications:
The fundamentals are simple because they are the building blocks of the international system by which the world has been organized and coordinated since the introduction of the UN and its charter in 1945. These are based on the concepts of statehood, inviolable sovereign borders, consensus and international agreements. Most important, it is a system that stipulates that UN member states decide who the new members in this club will be; on the basis of their decision, Israel was given the legal right to exist, as was Cyprus. Not so Kosovo.
…As such, Kosovo may be a watershed, ushering in a new era of international arrangements. Nonetheless, whether we decide to chuck out everything else that preceded it, in one juvenile swoop, or not, is up to us. Indeed, the most worrisome thing is that Kosovo may turn into an international precedent — something that clearly also worries its most fervent supporters, who emphasize at every turn that this is not the case. These assertions do not seem to assuage most UN members. Officials from Beijing to Buenos Aires, from Manila to Mexico City, are shaking their heads in disbelief. “Is it possible,” they wonder, “that we might find ourselves in Serbia’s shoes in a few years?” Perhaps.
…Neither war nor peace [is] inevitable, nor are they acts of nature. Mankind has sought to regulate both, through law, shared rules and consensus. Kosovo suggests that it is time for major readjustments, of the kind that are likely to challenge the sanctity we have so far attributed to the main building blocks of international systems: states and their sovereign rights.
Given what we now know about a very intentional overhaul of the international order being in the works, here again are the words of Serbian Unity Congress’s Washington chapter president John Bosnitch about Kosovo independence:
It has always been about repeating Hitler’s 1938 feat at MUNICH of getting the world’s leading democracies to agree to violate international law by ripping the majority ethnic German region of Sudetenland out of Czechoslovakia…It was indeed to cover [a] gaping hole in the US case that former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright tried to inaccurately stand the 1938 Munich precedent with Hitler on its head by citing it as grounds for bombing Serbia. The Western media was able to dupe the Western public with that false parallel…[Hitler said] the Sudeten Germans needed independence because they were the “victims of Czech persecution,” a false claim that history has proven to be just as absurd as that made by the Kosovo Albanians today.
In 1999, Wimmer famously said, “Never before so few lied so thoroughly to so many, as in connection with the Kosovo war.”
And if we repeat the lie loudly and often enough, we arrive at today.