Dr. Trifkovic, whose reporting and analysis on the Serbian question has been excellent, details the diplomatic fumbles, evasions, and outright lies that led the West to gang up on Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs in the mid-90s.
Karadzic’s arrest is the finale of this thoroughly misguided affair. Like most examples of victor’s justice, its only long-term effect will be to give the Serbs another proof of the West’s bad faith, while whetting the Bosnians (and their supporters) appetite for revenge.
With terrorist Hashim Thaci running the show in Kosovo and Nasir Oric acquitted by the Hague just this month, it’s clear that the Hague Tribunal is just a NATO-led anti-Serbian operation by another name. This policy is at obvious cross purposes with the war against al Qaeda and the need for a united Europe and West in the face of Islamic extremism.
The West’s elites’ perrenial Russophobia has been the biggest reason this fight against al Qaeda and its allies has been so long, drawn out, and fraught with resistance. The fight against Serbia and the constant criticism of Russia are examples of an unnecessary “two front war” against both the Islamic and Orthodox world, even though our cultural similarities and interests in the Middle East are nearly the same as our Orthodox brothers and sisters. As children are murdered in Beslan and Kosovo, we are destroying the perpetrators camps in the hills of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, even while giving them nation-states in the heart of Europe.
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Four years ago I wrote about the largest anti-Serb mass violence in Kosovo since the 1999 war. Today, an independent Kosovo stands as a testament to the rewards of violence–this reward is particularly galling as it occurred under an umbrella of western protection that was supposed to prevent the Albanians from abusing their newfound power as the majority. Indeed, the Albanians have been rewarded well; neither treaties nor concerns for the West’s reputation as an honest broker have done anything to slow them down.
Kosovo will prove to be a stillborn state, dependent on western protection, perpetually poor, crime-ridden, and a subordinate arm of Albania proper. Our unlawful recognition of Kosovo has created unnecessary friction with Russia and China and, like all our efforts to appease the Islamic world, has resulted in little or none of the promised good will. After all, 9/11 happened after US intervention on behalf of Muslims in Bosnia and in Kosovo. But we keep on trying! To admit a major civilizational difference and the utter irreconcilability of our interests and values would mean the unraveling of liberalism itself, which depends upon a cult of the Sacred Other.
During the 2004 attacks, National Review reported the following (quoted in my blog entry linked above):
A pogrom started in Europe this week, with one U.N. official being quoted as saying, “Kristallnacht is under way in Kosovo.” Serbs are being murdered and their 800-year-old churches are aflame. Much of the Christian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is on fire and could be lost forever. By these deeds too many of Kosovo’s Albanians have shown that their rhetoric about “democracy” and “multiethnicity” is false, and demonstrates also that the international community’s acceptance of them has been naive.
How did this week’s events begin? Just as in the 1930s, a rumor became a fact and prearranged plans were put into action. Members of the victimized community (in this case, Serbian children) were accused of chasing four Albanian children into a river and causing the death of three of them. Hours later, the U.N. Mission–which is what passes for authority in Kosovo–issued a statement that the accusation against the Serbs was false, adding that the surviving Albanian child had told the U.N. that no Serbs had been involved in the drownings. Nevertheless, anti-Serb violence did not abate. And today Kosovo burns still.
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Below is a link to my Kosovo Op-Ed in the Orlando Sentinel. The comments on the on-line version are surprisingly pro-Serb. I guess people everywhere are fed up with wars being waged over half-baked abstractions like Democracy and Self-Determination.
Here’s an excerpt:
No one believes that the Kosovar Albanians will act as tolerant stewards of a multicultural society. Since 1999, Kosovar extremists have destroyed Christian churches and monasteries and expelled thousands of Serbs in a campaign that one NATO commander described as “ethnic cleansing.”
History has not been kind to the Serbs. After World War II, the communist regime murdered Serbians en masse who fought against the Nazi invaders. In the 1990s, though all sides committed atrocities in the Balkans, Americans and Europeans singled out the Bosnian Serbs for condemnation. The hypocrisy reached its peak in 1995 when the West remained silent as well-armed Croatian forces expelled 200,000 Serbs from Bosnia’s Krajina region. Today in Kosovo, the holy land of the Serbs, the West has explicitly approved the nationalist aims of the Albanians by recognizing an independent Kosovo.
This is a bigger issue than Serbia. Once again, the United States has needlessly provoked Russia. In recent years, we’ve meddled in its Ukrainian neighbor’s elections and pushed NATO’S boundaries farther eastward. In 1999, a weak Russia could do little to support its Serbian ally. But today Vladimir Putin’s Russia is strong, and its patience with the West has worn thin.
We may soon find that we have insulted Russia one time too many.
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This video is one of many: Albanian “moderate” Muslims destroying a Serbian church in Kosovo. How much more of a crime against humanity is it for a Church, where the Sacred Body of Christ resides, to be destroyed compared to a secular state’s embassy? I support neither act of lawlessness, of course, but the West’s silence about the abuse of our Christian brothers in Serbia is a daily declaration that our government feels nothing for our fellow Christians and that we are willing to throw the Serbs to the wolves in order to appease unappeasable Muslims nipping at Europe’s frontiers. Where are the Evangelicals who plead the case of Israel so eloquently? Where are all the advocates of a “real war” against Islamic terrorism?
One thing apparent in the Metropolitan of Montenegro’s stirring sermon on Kosovo is something that Catholics and other Western Christians have forgotten: we do not believe in an ethereal, abstract Christianity that is sealed off from worldly concerns. God is “immanent” in the world and not just in the mental lives of human beings. Places, things, objects, bodies, and other parts of the world are God’s creation, serve a purpose, and are worthy of respect. Any of these things can become holy and a worthy objection of veneration. In other words, the spiritual and the physical are not seperated. This is apparent most dramatically in the person of Jesus Christ, the Incarnation. But it also inheres in our respect for churches, our respect for the Blessed Sacrament, our use of sacramentals and bread and wine in our worship, and in our concept of relics and Christian Burial. Because the created world and human institutions exist to serve divine purposes, our political and moral life must be informed by our Christian religious beliefs.
Kosovo and Metohija are a land of martyrs. It is the place where the Serbs took a stand against the expanding Ottoman Empire in 1389. As the Metropolitan says, “When we say this here, before the face of the living God and before the face of St Sava, our spiritual father, in whom our soul encountered and committed itself to the Lord God and God’s eternal justice, then that means that for us Kosovo and Metohija are not the geography of a territory, but the topography of our life, purpose and commitment.” To ask Serbians to give this up is to declare ourselves anti-Christians, who, like the Manichaeans of old, have no understanding that this world matters, and that the earth itself can be infused with memory and meaning (and grace too) through the blood of martyrs.
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Condoleezza Rice had the following soothing and diplomatic words for the people of Serbia:
We believe that the resolution of Kosovo’s status will really, finally, let the Balkans begin to put its terrible history behind it,” Rice said yesterday. “I mean, after all, we’re talking about something from 1389 — 1389! It’s time to move forward.”
The “statute of limitations” for half-educated moderns like Condy is always moving forward. It’s 100 years. Maybe 50. Soon it will be 10 minutes. We’re already being told to “get over” 9/11 by more consistent observers than Condy.
Further, why should the Serbs forget that the Islamic Turks fought many battles to oppress them in 1389? Why does this event deserve to be flushed down the memory hole, but not the birth of Jesus Christ more than 1,000 years before the battle?
Should Jews forget the Holocaust? Should Germans? Should Turks continue to “forget” their genocide of the Armenians? Yes, history should not simply be a fountain of grievances, but it cannot just be forgotten. Without history, men have no identity, nor concern for the future. It is a good thing that the Serbs remember and honor their ancestors; it’s not just some obstacle for cosmopolitan technocrats like her to overcome.
Condy is also misrepresenting the motives of the Serbs. This is not just a nostalgia act. The grievances of the Serbs are vital and ongoing. It’s a brazen thing to say that it’s “time to move forward” as Albanians are burning Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo todayunder the supervision of NATO.
Yes, 1389 is a long time ago. But it matters because it demonstrates an ongoing pattern of Islamic violence, a pattern we see today in Osama bin Laden and the terrorist leader of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci.
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Europe is dying. Its people have lost their religion. Consequently, Europe’s people are getting older, having fewer children, and are indifferent to the future. Europe’s Muslim working classes, however, are as religious as ever. They are having large families. They’re getting the best of both worlds by taking advantage of western education and industry, while maintaining ties to the “old country” through arranged marriages and inexpensive travel. Europe is being colonized, and its elites think that this is a good thing, proof of their tolerance and also an atonment for European evils like colonialism and the Holocaust.
Forcing Serbia to relinquish Kosovo is a template of the future. European Christians must learn: your nations do not matter, and what remains of your religion is only an ideology that leads to violence and elitism. John Zmirak (a Croat) perceptively explains this deeper motive behind western hostility to Serbia at the website, Taki’s Top Drawer:
Why did the Western powers so enthusiastically support the attack? In part, because it let them off the hook. The better sort of European remembered some real atrocities committed by ethnic Serbs (although they were far from the only ones) in Bosnia. But there was something more going on. The Europeans were enacting a little drama in their heads, acting out a mystery play intended to teach a lesson to their descendants: The lesson was “You will never act like this. You will not resist. When the Moslems come to power, you will go quietly and cooperate.” The French, the English, the Germans who endorsed America’s attack had admitted that the lights of their societies would soon go out, and they were quietly setting the timer.
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I love this map.
Events far away in Kosovo implicate a very practical question: Do we want countries and their borders to be up for grabs every time one of their ethnic minority groups resorts to terrorism? Or do we want, instead, to encourage all nations, even nations that are commited like most will be to remaining an “ethnic state” with a particular majority, to behave justly to all of their people, seeking negotiated solutions where possible? I think these questions answer themselves. And the answers matter not just to Europe but to America too, because we are facing the separatist “reconquista” ideology of Mexican radicals coming to the United States. If Serbia must give up Kosovo, what will Americans say if someday New Mexico or Arizona seek to break off from the United States and become new Hispanic-majority nations aligned with Mexico?
Ethnic and religious minorities are always a bit nervous about their safety and understandably so. Often the best solution if peace cannot otherwise be found is purposeful separation. If the recent breakup of Yugoslavia proves anything, it should prove the dangers of multiculturalism and multinational states. In any ideal world, Yugoslavia would have been dissolved through fair negotiations, population transfers, mutually agreeable drawing up of frontiers, and some form of compensation of displaced people.
But even if one thought every stateless people–Tamils, Palestinians, Kurds–deserved a nation state, the justification for a new state in Kosovo is nonexistent. Albania, the nation, is right next door and offers a suitable homeland to any Albanian that wanted to leave Yugoslavia. Because of these contradictions, the U.S. has resorted to saying that its recognition of Kosovo’s independence will not serve as a precedent because it is “unique.” Unique indeed, because Bush and the Europeans do not want to admit that we have participated in an incredibly dangerous exception to established principles of international law.
* I can’t say enough about the excellent coverage of the Kosovo Crisis over at Svetlana Novko’s Byzantine Sacred Art Blog, where I found the map above. A Serbian living in Canada, Svetlana has excellent sources and coverage from Kosovo and the rest of Serbia.
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