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Thursday, February 21, 2008

No Shame, But Plenty of Blame

Were you surprised that Serb mobs stormed the US embassy in Belgrade? I wasn't. Dismayed, sure, but surprised? Nah...

I'm not surprised that Serbs feel so strongly about Kosovo. I understand that, and understand why. I'm also not surprised that the Serbs are blaming the West (specifically the United States) for Kosovo's actions. In the Serbian mythos, they invented Western Civilization and anything bad that happens in it is someone else's fault. You know, classic scapegoating.

The US didn't cause the problems in Kosovo and it wouldn't even be fair to say we exacerbated them. If anything, we've kept things from getting worse. If we hadn't brought Milosevic to his knees, that war may still be going on now. As far as recognizing an independent Kosovo, we had to. It was a no-win situation. Support the Serbs, who we were at war with 10 years ago, or support the Kosovars, whose asses we saved from certain doom.

This is where the Serbs need to look inward. It's their own government's actions that led to this Kosovo business.

The flames of the Yugoslav wars were first stoked in Kosovo by Milosevic himself in 1987 when he sided with a Serb mob against the police of Kosovo Polje. In their book Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation, Laura Silber and Allan Little describe the scene like this:
Apparently shaken by the screaming outside, Milosevic said he wanted to see what was happening. He watched the crowd from the balcony before going downstairs to give what was to become one of the most important speeches of his career. "No one should dare to beat you," he bellowed, unwittingly coining a modern Serb rallying call. The mood suddenly changed, the crowd outside started chanting: "Slobo, Slobo."
No one should dare to beat you. By you, he meant the Kosovo Serbs, and by singling them out above all others, he broke one of Yugoslavia's biggest taboos: picking sides.

From the end of World War II until his death, Josip Broz Tito brutally crushed all ethnic tensions before they could erupt, officially adopting a policy of "Brotherhood and Unity" in which there were no minorities and all ethnicities worked and lived together in harmony. This was maintained throughout his multi-decade rule by not picking sides. Serb, Croat, Muslim, it didn't matter. Ethnic nationalism had no place in Yugoslavia.

Until Milosevic's speech. Then ethnic nationalism took over and well...we know what happened then.

War.

In less than a decade, Slobodan Milosevic led Serbia into four wars and the Serbs loved it. Until it started to ruin their economy, their reputation, and their country.

So if they're mad about Kosovo's independence, instead of burning the American embassy, maybe they should storm their own capital instead.

5 comments:

Claystation said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claystation said...

Sorry... put my comment in the wrong place.

justacoolcat said...

I wouldn't be suprised if the Serbs stormed the himalayans in a big angry mob. It seems to me it's what they do.

Anonymous said...

I am on standby to roll there cause of this shit. Want any souveniers? People say what they want about the state of our country but on this side of the world nothing ever seems to make much sense. People killing people and blame it on a diluted sense of a cause.

James said...

Cat, the Serb lust for genocide might be put to good use just yet.... I heard Bill Ritter, governor of Colorado, was negotiating with Serb mobs to eliminate the Colorado Pine Beetle, which will kill all of our mature lodgepole pine forests in 3-5 years.

And yes, I want souveniers! Just no ears on a string, huh?