J. Barkley Rosser, Jr. rosserjb at jmu.edu
Mon Apr 5 14:42:39 PDT 1999

This will be long and responds to many people over several days on both pen-l and lbo-talk.

1) Paul Phillips is correct that by and large the major opponents in Serbia of His Excellency, President Slobodan Milosevic are even worse than he is. I am also aware that Paul has never been a big fan of HIs Excellency's. This also makes it very problematic for these bright bulbs in Washington and elsewhere who are talking about replacing His Excellency. Just who do they have in mind?

2) I think we should be careful about getting too worked up one way or another until the media can talk separately with Rugova. Some in the West are now claiming that the footage shown of him and His Excellency is actually two years old. Who knows?

3) An element that Carl Remick and some others have brought up but that has received little comment is the extreme opposition of Russia. I would note that most of what Yoshie was posting was very similar to what is being said in Russia right now. NATO is the new Nazis, etc. An aspect of this I have seen remarked on only once is that Ukraine has also taken the Russian position and is now moving to a pro-Russian stance. If this sticks, this is much bigger geopolitically than most of the rest of this.

4) Although most of NATO seems to be getting more hawkish, the one NATO member that seems to be clearly going the other way is the Czech Republic. I don't know if they have actually voted against anything NATO is doing, but not only are they providing no assistance, but the opponents inlude both rightwing Klaus and also the current Social Democratic Prime Minister. It is also pretty clear that most of the population and the politicians in Greece are opposed to NATO's actions, but the government continues to to provide logistical support and not openly oppose the policies.

5) I agree with Jim Devine and Louis P. that the Williams "general hegemony and economic pacification" argument looks the most reasonable. Of course Williams was the guy who also pushed all kinds of "tin mines in Southeast Asia" theories about the US involvement in Vietham. Although Williams was a friend of mine, I always found that theory a bit of a stretch.

6) Greg Nowell's Danube theory is looking more pathetic by the minute with all those bridges down in Novi Sad and blocking the river for the foreseeable future. Obviously the military commanders are not listening to their true masters. Maybe they need to hit a few in Belgrade over the Sava to get it right, eh?

7) Nathan referred to Serbia as a "province." Nonsense. Let's get it right. Kosovo-Metohija is a province of the Republic of Serbia of the nation of Yugoslavia. Nobody has ever claimed or recognized it to be anything different, although it did enjoy an autonomy status from 1974-1989.

8) Chris Burford asks about Marjana Markovic (aka "Mrs. Milosevic"). I don't know the name of her party or its specific orientation. But I do know that His Excellency uses it as his own party effectively. It does claim to be Marxist. Some time ago Paul Phillips posted material about remnants of workers' management in Serbia. It is my understanding that it has been better preserved in Slovenia. It is also my understanding that a more centralized control has been put in place in Serbia. As for Croatia, it is an extreme case of a corrupt nomenklatura privatization.

9) I thank John Mage for his clarification about the location of Metohija in the Drinn valley including Pec and Prizren. This would mean that the really strategic spot, not too far from Kosovo Polje would be at the triple divide of the Drinn, Danube,and Axios rivers, or if one prefers between the Adriatic, Black, and Aegean Seas.

10) Max's argument that refugees should not be relocated so that they can be kept nearby to be relocated into Kosmet reminds me of the Arab argument against assimilating Palestinian refugees, who have been kept in second class status throughout the Arab world (except in Jordan) and who remain in miserable camps years after their initial expulsion. Yes, setting up camps near the border might play into Clinton's hands, but I see nothing good coming of this. The hard fact that neither Max nor any of the other pro-bombers candeal with is that His Excellency is near achieving his goal and there is notthing anybody can do about it.

11) Of course this raises the ground campaign issue, the hot new push of the hawks. The odious William Odom (formerly NSA Director and long time US military attache in Moscow) on Friday on the WSJ op-ed page called for "taking Belgrade" by a NATO invasion from Hungary "following the route the Germans took in World War II." Guess we would get to put in one those wonderful opponents of His Excellency, right? Actually, part of Odom's argument is that it will be very hard for NATO ground troops to win in Kosovo-Metohija (mountains and all that), so why not do something relatively easy like swooping across the plain from the north? (Of course those missing bridges in Novi Sad might slow things down a bit.)

12) The reason that there was no intervention in Rwanda was that there was imperialist disagreement there. The French were actively backing the bloody-minded Hutu genociders.

13) I too regret the departure of Yoshie Furuhashi from lbo-talk. I am feeling guilty as it was a quote from me that she cited when she mentioned that she was unsubbing. I hope that Doug will pass on to her my hope that she resubs. I thought that most of us were having a reasonably civil discussion and that a majority of this list is against the bombing. Perhaps if she is busy (I am) and only wants to talk to people who are organizing anti-war protests and cooking up the most fervent anti-NATO and pro-His Excellency lines, her departure might be understandable. But I regret it. Despite our disagreements, she was one of the most intelligent and best informed people on this list. I would also note that her and her friends' protest in Columbus against the Clinton hacks was genuinely effective. I would like to get something going here, but this is Harrisonburg, Virginia...

I also confess to being an officially white male, despite some Gypsy ancestry. Guilty, guilty, guilty. BTW, I just read that Macedonia has the highest percentage Gypsy population in Europe at 17.5%, although Romania has the largest numbers.

And finally, I would note that the quote that got Yoshie upset was attached to a remark noting that His Excellency invaded Vukovar (capital of West Slavonia) before any other ground fighting had started in the former Yugoslavia (except the Yugoslav bombing of Slovenia). It really was the opening shot. The eagle did not respond to this, nor has Rakesh or anybody else. What I find most annoying about His Excellency (and his supporters) is their hypocrisy. Any territory with a majority Serb population (Western Slavonia in Croatia, Krajina in Croatia, and Republika Srpska in Bosnian-Herzegovina) was supposed to be run by Serbs, but any territory in which they are a minority, but once were a majority is supposed to also be run by Serbs. You all know where I am talking about and what kind of ideology this is.

Oh well. He lost Krajina and Western Slavonia to the Croats, but now is going to get Kosovo-Metohija instead. The sooner NATO accepts it and stops the bombing and resettles the refugees, the better. This is awful, but so was the expulsion of the Serbs from those other areas that nobody in NATO objected to. Barkley Rosser

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