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Bruce Konviser on Serbia

posted by dru Geography: Europe Serbia Topics: Globe and Mail, media, ridiculous horseshit

January 19, 2007

Bruce Konviser on Serbia

In today's Globe, Bruce Konviser hits all the major notes of Globe and Mail foreign coverage: unspecified "pro-western reforms" are good, "nationalism" is "destabilizing", and why should any facts get in the way of us reporting that story once again.

I forgot the most important one: history doesn't exist, and if it does, it doesn't matter.

(For a long, fascinating, historical take on whether Serbia should join the EU, check out this essay of sorts by John Bosnitch)

For starters, he calls Slobodan Milosevic an "ultranationalist". This is from the "repeat it often enough, it becomes fact" school of journalism. We've been over this before, but let's recap. Here's an excerpt from the speech that most journalists refer to (but apparently don't read) to establish this fact. (Ten years on, they no longer need evidence.)

Serbia has never had only Serbs living in it. Today, more than in the past, members of other peoples and nationalities also live in it. This is not a disadvantage for Serbia. I am truly convinced that it is its advantage. National composition of almost all countries in the world today, particularly developed ones, has also been changing in this direction. Citizens of different nationalities, religions, and races have been living together more and more frequently and more and more successfully.

Milosevic was many things, but nationalist, ultra or otherwise, was not one of them. But that's the curious thing; it's not often mentioned, but the west was supporting the real ultranationalists, with Nazi and radical Islamic ties, the whole time. The overtly fascist regime of Franjo Tudjman later became a little too embarrassing, and was replaced with some NED funded free market reform types, but he served his purpose for many years.

Another thing that is universally omitted is why "nationalism" (for which read: sovereignty) is so destabilizing. Because if you have a (decidedly non-nationalist) federation like Yugoslavia that doesn't follow the economic model, the US will impose economic sanctions. Then, when you don't follow the strictures of the IMF and give up control of your country because the US asks you to, NATO (with Canadian support) will drop 20,000 tonnes of bombs, wiping out your country's indigenous industrial capacity (while leaving foreign-owned factories and buildings in tact).

The justification? The Yugoslavian army was conducting counterinsurgency operations against US-funded Al-Quaeda-affiliated terrorists and fascist groups, displacing thousands of people. Despite being the supposed targets of a Serbian-led ethnic cleansing campaign, many of the refugees fled in to Serbia, where they were provided with shelter.

This has been covered in much more detail here.

But in the end, submitting to the demands of the same people who delivered that disaster is what's going to benefit you as a people. This, the message of the Globe's coverage of Serbia, and that of much, if not most, of the western press. (The National Post, curiously enough, and the Guardian have covered the US-funding of Albanian terrorists and the farce that was Milosevic's trial, respectively.)

From the few facts cited by Konviser's article, it makes absolutely no sense that 30+ per cent of Serbians would be supporting a radical party. But if you factor in the humiliations Serbians have suffered at the hands of the US, NATO and the IMF, it makes perfect sense. At the very least one understands why this is the case.

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