26 January, 2007

A partition is the diplomats' solution

A coalition of Western and Western-sympathizing countries bombed a sovereign nation with the eventual goal of regime change and neutralizing its military, which had a history of threatening and invading its neighbors.

This campaign (war?) was carried out without international sanction, as it was clear that at least one permanent member of the UN Security Council would veto it (and almost certainly more than one). The campaign was successful in the long run, although marred in the short term by allegations that tactics in the air campaign kept the coalition's armies safe at the expense of civilians on the ground.

After the successful conclusion of the campaign, the area devolved into violence, ethnic cleansing, massive government corruption, and widespread desecration of houses of worship of other sects. Many of the soldiers who were supposed to help stabilize situation participated instead in crimes against humanity, including trafficking in human slavery. Now there is serious talk in diplomatic circles of partitioning the nation that was victim to this "illegal war".

Am I talking about Iraq, 2003—2007? No, Serbia, 1999—2007, in particular the Kosovo region. In case you forgot (and everyone acts as if they have!) the United States and NATO bombed Serbia in support of the Kosovo Liberation Army, a gang of thugs whom Western governments had previously fingered as an organization that committed terrorist acts. After the war, the KLA not only set out cleansing Kosovo of Serbs, but for a while worked to destabilize neighboring Macedonia as well.

Historically, Serbia's great ally was Russia, and the war served to weaken an already-weak President Yeltsin. His democratic reforms were weakened as well, especially by the man who succeeded him as president within months. Indeed, Putin was a complete unknown in Russian politicis until Yeltsin appointed him prime minister in August, 1999. When I first visited Russia in 2005, people asked me, "Your country bombed Serbia, then they bombed Iraq, simply because it wanted to. Our opinion didn't matter. So if our country does something you don't like, do you plan to you bomb us?" It does not surprise me that Putin characterizes his approach to government as sovereign democracy, in which a "policy of the President must above all be supported by the popular majority in Russia itself and not be governed from outside of the country; such popular support constitutes the founding principle of a democratic society." (quoting Wikipedia, emphasis added) Putin has also claimed that there are only a handful of sovereign democracies in the world.

The damage done by this Western campaign to international relations has never received adequate attention. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Western media practically begged for a war on Serbia. Once they had their war, they turned their attention elsewhere, ignoring (for all practical purposes) the crimes that transpired afterwards. Imagine if the consequences of the war in Iraq had received similar inattention. Of course, there is no oil in Kosovo, so no one is afraid the Americans are there to steal it.

Today I read in the news that the Western powers have decided to partition Kosovo from Serbia. In exchange for Russia's compliance, they will support the partition of the Caucasian nation of Georgia. You see, while our media wasn't paying attention, parts of Georgia (a sovereign nation) have remained under occupation by the Russian army for a number of years in support of rebel governments set up by ethnic Russians. (Well, the Russians call them peacekeepers.)

Curious how the people who readily accuse Bush of leading us into an illegal war did not object to this very same action in Serbia, and now want us to do the very same thing in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Curious how the media never mentions that Bush's predecessor set a precedent for war outside UN approval—with the assent and assistance of the same Europeans who later objected to the invasion of Iraq.

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