FAQ on Balkan war from Ron Jacobs

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Wed Mar 31 10:25:42 PST 1999

Please distribute... ron jacobs, will miller, jay moore

Q & A - the Bombing of Yugoslavia

1. Isn't NATO in Yugoslavia to encourage peace?

Making war never encourages peace. Once the bombs began to fall, a new and much less predictable dynamic takes over. One achieves peace through negotiation, not annihilation.

2. What about the peace treaty? Didn't the Serbian/Yugoslav government refuse to sign it?

First, the so-called peace treaty was not a negotiated peace. It was a set of demands made by the U.S. (with the threat of NATO military action behind it) on both sides--the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the government of Yugoslavia. After several days of arm twisting and promises, the KLA finally agreed to sign, especially when it became apparent that the Yugoslav government wouldn't and NATO would begin its attack. This is not to say the Yugoslavs don't want peace. In fact, they signed off on every single item except the item demanding they allow foreign troops to occupy their territory. No sovereign nation would do this, especially one with a history like Serbia/Yugoslavia that is checkered with foreign invasions and occupations.

3. What about the massacres and forced expulsions of the Kosovars? Isn't the bombing supposed to stop this?

Use your eyes. Have they stopped? Since the bombing began, as many refugees have crossed into neighboring countries as did the twelve months before. Now the Kosovars are not only fleeing Serbian troops and paramilitaries, they are fleeing NATO firepower.

4. What is Kosovo? Why does Serbia think it has the right to control events there?

Kosovo is a part of Serbia/Yugoslavia, just like Vermont is a part of the United States. Serbs consider it to be the cradle of their civilization. Until early in this decade, Kosovo had a tremendous amount of autonomy, due to its large Albanian population. This autonomy was granted by the previous government of Yugoslavia--an independent socialist government with Marshall Tito as its president. When President Tito died, Milosevic was elected to the presidency and revoked the autonomous rule. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund, western banks, and the German and U.S. governments began to institute a variety of measures intended to destabilize and fragment the Yugoslav federation. These measures ranged from economic ones such as denying loans and demanding immediate repayment of outstanding debts to arming separatist (some with ties to the European fascist movement) movements in the Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. As for Kosovo, Serbia has indicated that it would grant Kosovo the autonomy it once had. However, the KLA and others now demand independence with the eventual goal of uniting with Albanians in Albania, Macedonia, and Greece and forming a Greater Albania. This is not acceptable to either the Serbs, Macedonians, or the Greeks and would probably cause this war to spread to those countries along with Turkey (who supports the idea) and perhaps the rest of Europe.

5. Shouldn't we want Milosevic out of there?

It is not our job to decide how other people should rule themselves. We have enough to worry about right here in the U.S. when it comes to that. Besides, it could be safely argued that he would no longer be president if NATO and the U.S. would quit attacking Serbia. There have been movements against his government for years. However, now that the Yugoslav people are being bombed, they support him more than ever before.

6. What do NATO and the United States want with this region?

There are a few reasons for U.S. intervention in the region. One is the historically strategic location. The U.S. (through NATO) would love to extend its system of military bases to the Adriatic Sea and bases in Kosovo would help reach this goal. If NATO is able to establish dominance in this region, the alliance would greatly enhance its ability to control the economies and peoples of Europe and Africa. A subsidiary aspect of this desire to establish dominance is the desire to destroy the only remaining power in the region--Serbia. This is a continuation of the dismantlement of Yugoslavia referred to in question 4. Economically speaking, Kosovo has some of the world's largest reserves of certain metals -- reserves that were coveted by the Germans in both world wars and are coveted today by NATO. Additionally, the existence of oil reserves and the possibility of oil transportation through the region lurk as other economic reasons.


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