This was a completely stunning piece earlier this month in something called The National Interest in terms of the way it encapsulates how “America” deals with the Balkans. The National Interest was described to me by one reader/source thus: “‘Realist’ conservatives (as opposed to neoconservatives) mag with Kissinger as top poobah - it’s all about balance of power and nation-states for these guys. Has some Ok stuff sometimes even though self-hating SoB Morton Abramowitz is on the Board.”

TERROR IN THE BALKANS by Gordon N. Bardos, Sep. 7:

As the debate over what to do in Bosnia & Herzegovina after the country’s October elections resurfaces and the Kosovo issue again moves to the UN General Assembly, the Obama Administration will be increasingly called upon to provide American leadership in the Balkans. Yet a serious observer of U.S. Balkan policy might be forgiven for questioning whether the US has an intellectually or politically coherent policy in the Balkans, or whether our approach to the region is simply an ad-hoc collection of prejudices and biases. The very same diplomats and pundits who tell you that ethnic vetoes are bad in Bosnia will say they are needed in Macedonia, or that international supervision should be eliminated in Kosovo but increased in Bosnia, or that Helsinki principles do not apply to a universally recognized member state of the United Nations, but they should apply to an entity which two-thirds of the international community hasn’t recognized.

And it gets worse. In the somewhat intellectually perverse foreign policy salons of New York and Washington, the more ties a Balkan politician has to drug smuggling, human trafficking, and al-Qaeda, the bigger their fan club is likely to be. Get yourself indicted for murder and torture, and a celebrity journalist will even write a glowing portrait of you for Vanity Fair. One of Washington’s now-deceased Balkan darlings was a member of a Nazi-collaborationist organization in the 1940s, a fan of the Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1980s, and a host to Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s. [Fundamentalist wartime Bosnian president and “Western Democrat” Alija Izetbegovic.] On the other hand, spend your career writing a book criticizing the communist monopoly on power (while the communists are in power), or translating de Toqueville and the Federalist Papers into your native language, and people will call you Slobodan Milosevic’s reincarnation. [Former Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.] Go figure.

In reality, much of what passes for a debate over “Balkan policy” in both Europe and the US is based on wishful thinking, illusions about what is important, and an exaggerated sense of what we can accomplish. Sometimes it is even worse—a not-so-thinly veiled belief that some ethnic groups or peoples have no legitimate rights or interests. Such a view of the world, of course, was unfortunately common among several political movements popular in Europe in the 1930s and 40s. It should certainly not be the basis for U.S. policy today.

Meanwhile, how many people in Washington are discussing the one real issue emerging from the Balkans that does affect vital US national security interests? Consider the following: The 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The USS Cole. The LAX bomb plot. The Fort Dix bomb plot. The 2008 attempted attack on the New York City subway system which Attorney General Eric Holder called one of the most serious terrorist cases since the 9/11 attacks. A 2009 plot “to engage in violent jihad” in Gaza, Israel, Jordan and Kosovo. Another 2009 attempt by a Brooklyn resident to attack US targets in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans. September 11th. The organized crime gangs who have taken over heroin distribution along the eastern seaboard. The terrorists who beheaded Daniel Pearl . . .

What is the common denominator here? All were carried out or planned by individuals who had fought in the Balkans, or who come from the region. For more than a decade, Saudi-sponsored Wahhabists have been infiltrating Bosnia, Kosovo, the Sandzak, and Macedonia. The overwhelming majority of southeastern Europe’s Muslims want nothing to do with them. But as we found out on 9/11, it only takes a few small extremist cells to kill thousands. Yet despite the grave, direct nature of this threat, it is practically ignored in Washington.

By sponsoring terror in the Balkans, Western nations became the architects of terror against their own citizens, which is what all this blowback is about.

To close, a relevant quote from James Bissett, Canadian former ambassador to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania:

The heart of the problem has been what appears to be a determination of the United States policy makers, whether Democrat or Republican, to look upon the Western Balkans as their special fiefdom where international rules of conduct do not apply. It is as if they regard these Slavic lands as lesser breeds without the law, and therefore can do with them whatever they deem desirable. This hubris has led the United States and the obedient but morally bankrupt leaders of Germany, France and Great Britain to follow wrong-headed policies such as the bombing of Serbs and the recognition of Kosovo independence — and to do so without scruples.