After the Autumn of the Patriarch: Part 4 (was Re: everything's really ok)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sun Oct 15 14:32:55 PDT 2000

Brad says to Pat Bond:

>>Right on, Doug. About five years ago, when I last had a sense of
>>Mexican maquiladores and other EPZs, which are the driver of exports
>>(plus the 1994-95 currency crash), I recall that the internal
>>linkages to the rest of the economy were (aside from labour inputs)
>>around 2%; i.e., 98% of inputs were foreign sourced. Where's the
>It's bad. But it's not *that* bad...

Not *that* bad, no, compared to Bosnia & Kosovo....

***** The Dayton Peace Agreement, initiated on 21 November 1995, by the governments of Bosnia, Croatia and rump-Yugoslavia, brought the three-and-a-half-year Bosnian war to an end. The agreement, overseen by the institutions of the international community, at the Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio, not only established international control over military forces on the ground but also put into practice a new, post-Cold War, international agenda for long-term peace-building. This agenda has extended the sphere of international involvement in post-conflict situations from keeping warring sides apart to taking the lead in developing long-term political solutions; this new role for international institutions is increasingly described as democratisation.

As the UN Secretary-General has noted, democratisation is predominantly a new area for the UN, nevertheless it is already seen as a key component of peace-building addressing the economic, social, cultural, humanitarian and political roots of conflict (UN, 1996, pars 13 and 14). Democratisation is broadly defined by the UN to constitute a comprehensive approach covering the broad range of new peace-building priorities, top-down international regulation of elections, institutional development and economic management, and also bottom-up assistance to develop a democratic political culture through civil society-building (UN, 1996, par. 124).

Under Dayton, the framework of the Bosnian state was to be highly dependent on international supervision. There was to be a one-year transitional international administration, in place until the first state-level elections in September 1996. After this, the formal powers given to the central state authorities were to be uniquely minimalist, even to the extent of excluding central control over the armed forces, while wide-ranging powers over government institutions were to be given to international organisations and externally appointed individuals for between five and six years. These new powers of international involvement were written into the Bosnian Constitution, and the process of democratisation was to be overseen directly by outside administrators appointed by international bodies such as the United Naitons, the Council of Europe, the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe and the International Monetary Fund.

Three years on from Dayton, the one-year transitional administration has been indefinitely extended and the democratisation process in Bosnia has become a major international experiment in political engineering. Executive and legislative power today lies with the UN's High Representative who has the power to directly impose legislation, to veto political candidates and dismiss unco-operative elected members of Bosnian governing bodies. The mandates of the leading international institutions have been regularly extended and the role of international non-governmental organisations has continued to grow apace. As Simon Jenkins notes in _The Times_, Bosnia has become he world capital of interventionism (Jenkins, 1997). Internationally-run elections are held on a regular basis but remain, in these circumstances, little more than glorified opinion polls (UN, 1998). With all this international assistance there is little role for Bosnian people, or their elected representatives, in policy development or implementation. As the _Wall Street Journal_ noted, in August 1998:

In all, there are perhaps 10,000 foreign nation-builders in [the capital city] Sarajevo alone; at least 40,000 others are scattered across Bosnia, including 35,000 soldiers from around the globe. A New Zealander sits as chief of the central bank. An ex-cop from Los Angeles is deputy chief of Bosnia's international police force. Mr. Klein, a French-born American, serves as deputy in Sarajevo's office of the High Representative, or OHR, the closest thing Bosnia has to an executive branch. (King, 1998)

Three years of intensive involvement by the world's most powerful states, including the Contact Group of the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia, and leading international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations, OSCE and NATO, has done little to create viable institutions of self-government in the state. This growing imbalance of power between international institutions and Bosnian representatives raises questions over the extensive external regulation of the state and the lack of local involvement and responsibility in the process of peace-building and conflict resolution....

The contradictory nature of such extensive external regulation, under the guise of democratisation, has been noted by those involved in implementing international policy within Bosnia itself....Every day, more foreigners pour in to do every conceivable task, and the more they do, the less the Bosnians do for themselves (King, 1998)....

This book seeks, first, to highlight the dubious premises upon which international policies of democratisation are based, and to question the assumption that democracy can be...imposed by international bodies on the basis that some cultures are not rational or civil enough to govern themselves. This divisive moral framework of the nineteenth-century White Man's Burden today appears recast in the liberal language of ethical foreign policy, rights protection and civil society....

...The agency of democratisation is no longer held to be the demos, or people, through the growth of political freedoms and liberties, self-government and sovereignty, but the international regulatory bodies which are now overseeing the political process....

(David Chandler, _Bosnia: Faking Democracy after Dayton_, London: Pluto Press, 1999) *****

***** Le Monde diplomatique July 1999


The protectorate, a way to dominate...


A spectre is now haunting the world community, one that many believed was a thing of the past: the return of the empire. Taking its legitimacy from the implosion of former Yugoslavia and the civil war in Somalia, the idea of the protectorate has invaded diplomatic thinking in the West. In the minds of Western leaders, the situation in Kosovo today has even made it a cure-all.

The policy of the protectorate follows on naturally from the approach taken by international bodies in the post-cold war world. They see it as a way of satisfying their need to rebuild democratic institutions, as well as their wish to be in charge (1). One hears it said, echoing the paternalism of colonial days, that in states still untouched by Western liberalism, long-tern international intervention is the only road to peace and security. This argument was used to justify the "humanitarian war" waged by Nato to defend the rights of the Albanians who live in Kosovo. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, has stressed the point: "There is emerging international law that countries cannot hide behind sovereignty and abuse people without expecting the rest of the world to do something about it"(2).

...As this exercise in realpolitik aimed at "stability in the region" progressed, Nato's mandate was extended well beyond its purely military mission....

...A high-ranking UN representative, wielding full powers even though unelected, was able to settle civil conflicts and quarrels, as he could override judgements by representatives of the Bosnian people and could even dismiss them (3). With international supervision like this, elections in Bosnia are no more than high-grade opinion polls (4)....

...The result is a neocolonial-style protectorate governing a Bosnia weakened at every institutional, political, administrative and legal level, and whose affairs are now run by international organisations - from Nato to the IMF - acting without any real democratic mandate....

...The indefinite extension in December 1997 of the mandate given to the international community confirms the impasse in which the idea of a protectorate now finds itself....

...Rules, and applying them

Where reconstruction proper is concerned, one has only to turn to the texts discussed at Rambouillet. Chapter 4a of article 1 specifies that the economy of Kosovo is to operate in accordance with market principles. Once again Dayton supplies the rule and says how it is to be applied (7). Supervised by a governor appointed by the International Monetary Fund who does not know the region, the Bosnian central bank has been able to play only a secondary role since it has not been allowed to create the currency needed to finance credit. The state is authorised to share in the reconstruction only if it contracts with the international financial institutions a substantial debt that will ensure their domination of Bosnia in the future. Thus Kosovo, like Bosnia, finds itself in the same situation as many a developing country.

The European Union, now that it has upset the stability of the region and caused massive dislocation of the economy, is talking - somewhat hypocritically - about full-speed-ahead reconstruction of democracy, security and prosperity in the Balkans. The "stability pact" established under its aegis speaks of integration via a new kind of contractual relationship (8)....The pact is basically designed to introduce market mechanisms wherever possible, and it is a fair bet that many of the Balkan states are going to find this kind of reconstruction just as painful as the war.

The war will certainly help Nato reposition itself, and indeed rearm itself for the 21st century. It will have brought the Yugoslav republic to its knees, sown the seeds of future regional conflicts, and opened up for the colonial governments that will be succeeding each other in Kosovo a future that can be counted in decades. The Trojan horse of a fake Marshall plan fits in with Western interests. The only outcome will be nationalist backlashes, and in the long run democracy and peace will have been sacrificed on the altar of "humanitarian intervention". As Tacitus put it, "They made a wilderness and call it peace".

(1) See David Chandler: Faking Democracy after Dayton, Pluto Press, London, 1999

(2) Quoted in the Financial Times, London, 26 May 1999.

(3) This power to dismiss properly-elected persons was illustrated in March 1999 when the UN representative Carlos Westendorp evicted the republic's president, Nicola Poplasen, because the latter had himself sacked the prime minister, Milorad Dodik.

(4) David Chandler, op. cit.

(7) The European Commission has put the cost of reconstruction in Kosovo at between $2-3_ m dollars. See Charles Pretzlik, "UK plans company task force", Financial Times, 5 June 1999.

(8) According to an Agence France Presse despatch of 27 May 1999, this pact would involve no less than bringing together Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, the US, Nato and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe as international donors.

Translated by Derry Cook-Radmore *****

More neoliberalism, more economic devastation, more wars, more protectorates.... From modern nation-states to pre-modern tribes under the thumb of imperial powers & non-governmental organizations. This is the essence of post-modernism.


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