bouncing ethnicity

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Fri Apr 2 05:48:52 PST 1999

Been down with the flu during one of LBO's finest hour, perhaps its finest indeed. The mounds of insightful posts on disturbing aspects of the realities of the Balkan conflict have turned sick nights into nauseating and sleepless ones. Yet thank you all for some very substantial contributions.

I have a few questions as I try to work through these posts.

What consequences follow from NATO's and (in particular) Schroeder's perfunctory dismissal of Primakov's attempt at mediation? Hinrich raised immediate and dramatic concern about this diplomatic failure.

What kind of deal could Primakov have brokered? There seemed to be little comment on this in the US press, though I was told that El Pais expressed dismay at NATO's lack of interest in this channel.

What does it say about the nature of the IMF that Camdesussus himself was in Russia the day before Primakov met with Milosevic?

Has a Russian battleship actually been dispatched to the Adriatic Sea?

Yoshie, how tight is the analogy between KLA/Milosevic's regime and the Muhajadin/Soviet backed Afghani govt? How reactionary exactly is the KLA--Barkley suggests it is indeed a thug outfit. So that part of the analogy seems to hold. But the other part? The Soviet backed Afghani govt the US overthrew while propping up military rule in neighboring Pakistan in that $3bn CIA boondoggle was not as horrific as Milosevic's regime, no? That American blow for freedom not only delivered one of the most horrific govts in the world to power, it also exacerbated conflict between Pakistan and India, leading to nuclear blasts and reactionary govts.

At any rate, I share your skepticism: there just doesn't seem to be much historic evidence in favor of US efforts anywhere to support self determination. Not in Afghanistan. Not in South Vietnam where the majority wanted the ouster of the Diem regime. Not in Haiti where US troops spent more time protecting themselves than bringing the mass murderers in the military they had trained to justice (of course the US troops did have time to destroy reams of documents on the relation between the Haitian and US military) .

Restoring Kuwaiti self determination doesn't really count as a blow for global freedom, does it? Especially after the US "consigned" itself to Saddam's continuing rule at least partially to ensure the crushing of Kurdish attempts at self determination and the regional destabilisation to which it gives rise.

It's easy to be skeptical of the likely outcome of the US effort to ensure the Kosovars' self determination, which makes the outright dismissal of Primakov's attempt at mediation quite disturbing. But perhaps not much positive could have come out of that either. Max, I would be most interested in your analysis of this. Again, the coverage has been woefully inadequate on this failed attempt at diplomacy.

It really would be something if Oskar quit because he did not want to become a NATO apologist with Schroeder. Do you still entertain this as a possibility, Wojtek?

Reading with great interest, Rakesh

ps I appreciate angela's idiosyncratic and yet courageous emphasis on the question of national borders and citzenship in the age of refugees.

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