Whom Does the KLA Represent? (was Re: Protest against the Bombing)

NM nillo at tao.agoron.com
Fri Mar 26 01:03:19 PST 1999

Margaret says:
>Okay, who _does_ represent the interests of the locals,
>then? Surely you're not arguing it's the Serbs, are
>you? Or are you saying that, absent a faction that
>can be certified as ethically pure, the right thing to
>do is let the killers get on with it and devil take the

Embedded in this statement is the implicit assumption that the bombing going on right now will actually save the lives or livelihoods of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

For one, Kosovo is being bombed. Clearly, the lives of everyone there are being disrupted. I don't think the ethnic Albanians are painting big red "A's" on their roofs to make sure the cruise missiles or bombs don't hit.

For two, the NATO political plans, while claiming to want to help the Kosovar Albanians, simple works to segregate them within Serbia with a few autonomy measures, cementing the ethnic divide it claims to stop. See Bosnia for this sort of thing.

Self-determination isn't served by bombing a country (Serbia) whose objection to the peace plan was the placement of UN troops within its borders. Indeed, it is pretty clearly imperialist.

Long-term NATO involvement in the Balkans will reduce the level of autonomy of all ethnic national and pseudo-national groups. See South Korea. How many puppets has the US arranged for, all to keep South Korea "free" from the North? Different economic and political systems aside, a significant fraction of people want reunification (they don't NK style communism, but they tire of the US involvement in the peninsula). We will certainly see a similar dynamic emerge in the Yugoslavic rump.

>Surely you'd agree that somewhere down near the bottom
>of this mess are folk who are only trying to live their
>lives in a peaceful way? They're the ones to whom my
>heart goes out!

Yep, so why would you sic the US on them? There have been tons of demonstrations in Belgrade and other areas in Serbia since the Balkan feuds begun in the early 1990s, and the continued until, oh, two days ago. Multiethnic towns have tried to fight off armies, sometimes the armies of two sides (say Serbs and Croats)at the same time so they wouldn't be clensed. A third of the area in intermarried, it seems to me that there aren't really "long standing ethnic rivalries" that are unsoluable if this is the case. There have been politically motivated industrial strikes throughout Serbia and the Serbian army has a huge rate of desertion. Those are things we can look to and support (and by we I mean we as a class, not as the US) if we are interested in saving Kosovar, but this protest/peace/industrial strike activity has now been turned into anti-NAO activity. Congratulations, the US has just defeated the real hope for Kosovar and instead managed to get its hooks into Central Europe for another half century of political and economic dominance which will almost certainly lead to precisely that oppression you want to stop.

>The US message to the Serbs -- regardless of putative
>ulterior motives! -- was 'stop killing, start talking'.
>That has to be good for the folk at the sharp end of
>the stick -- not to be so much at risk of being
>gratuitously killed. What can be bad about that??

The message to the Serbs wasn't and has never been 'stop killing, start killing' it was 'Yo, we want cheap labor, not dead labor. Of course, we're going to kill anything that moves if you don't give it to us, so maybe dead labor isn't that big a deal. We're long term thinkers after all. Wanna make a deal?' The Serbs almost certainly will want to deal, especially if they can find someway to heal their hamstrung economy out of it. The final result, and you can write this down and keep it on your fridge so when it happens in 7 years you won't be surprised, is this. Milosevic will be politically rehabilitated as a junior partner of a US that will have strong military and economic interests in the reason. The ethic Albanians of Kosovar? They'll be in the same position they are today, except for all the ones that will be dead .
>Milosevic, as has been characteristic of him since he
>was the puppeteer for Karadjic and Mladic, ignored this
>appeal (or ultimatim, or whatever pleases you). He
>evidently has a highly imperialistic vision for Serbia,
>and intends to let nothing get in his way.

The same can be said of the US, except that US imperialism can't be stopped by conventional war or guerilla tactics, given its edge in capital and warfare technology. And if you can find me an ethnic leader that doesn't have a highly imperialistic vision for the region, I'd certainly be glad to hear it. I won't hold my breath though.

>The behavior of Serb forces certainly seems to have
>been outstanding for atrocity. IIRC, no one -- news
>agency, human rights group, even propagandist -- has
>reported the mass murder of Serbs, but we have sad
>realtime evidence from the dismemberment of Bosnia that
>the Serbs mass-murdered Bosnians. (Not to mention
>using mass rape as a weapon!!)

Not to mention the Bosnians and Croats doing the same exact thing whenever they were able to! Oh whoops, as a matter of fact, you didn't mention that.

> But of course, to the
>Serbs, the poor damn' Bosnian Muslims are really the
>same murdering Turks who have been oppressing the Serbs
>since the Year Dot, so the Serbs were _justified_.
>Just as in N. Ireland, where killings 300 years old are
>co-opted to justify killings today, massacres in the
>14th c. are co-opted to justify 'retaliatory'
>massacres today. Feh!

Yes, the ideological bludgeon was used by the Serbs. It was also used by the Bosnians and Croats and indeed by the US in explaining why the wars were occuring. It couldn't be because of the West recognizing Bosnia and then leaving it to hang, knowing that a crisis would occur that would then allow it to move in and straighten stuff out, its way, could it? Of course it could. And the situation is going well in hand.

>When we boil it down and skim the fat off, it certainly
>seems to me that the only valid issue is one of Real
>Lives. Lives of folk at the bottom of the heap,
>generally blameless folk who only want to live out
>their days in peace. I believe that, as lefties, we
>ought to be in favor of _whatever_ will help them do
>that, regardless of how base might be the motives of
>the instrumental actors.

And apparently, whatever the RESULTS of this attempt to help them. I have no idea why you think looking to imperialism to cure imperialism is a useful position to take. I prefer to look at the thousands of thousands of people of all ethnicities in the region who are not interested in war and who are actually in a position to stop it. The tanks won't roll in when the workers won't deliver the fuel or the personnel.

>Because if we're not trying to work out how to create a
>better life for all folk of good will ...what the hell
>_are_ we doing?

I'm supporting the peace movement. You're supporting a bombing raid that will effectively turn the peace movement into an anti-NATO protest movement, which will help cement the power of the Serbs and allow them to even more effectively scapegoat the Albanian minority, as can be seen by the real world events on the ground that are occuring right now. The movement into Kosovo has increased since the bombing.

Tell me how this helps the people living in peace? And if there are any left after this adventure, tell me how the US manipulating the political situation a la South Korea, Haiti, too many African nations to count, will save anyone's life? It is pretty clear to me that it will end more than Serb aggression would.

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