Washington Gets a New Colony in the Balkans

Kosovo’s "independence"

In evaluating the recent “declaration of independence” by Kosovo, a province of Serbia, and its immediate recognition as a state by the U.S., Germany, Britain and France, it is important to know three things.

First, Kosovo is not gaining independence or even minimal self-government. It will be run by an appointed High Representative and bodies appointed by the U.S., European Union and NATO. An old-style colonial viceroy and imperialist administrators will have control over foreign and domestic policy. U.S. imperialism has merely consolidated its direct control of a totally dependent colony in the heart of the Balkans.

Second, Washington’s immediate recognition of Kosovo confirms once again that U.S. imperialism will break any and every treaty or international agreement it has ever signed, including agreements it drafted and imposed by force and violence on others.

The recognition of Kosovo is in direct violation of such law—specifically U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, which the leaders of Yugoslavia were forced to sign to end the 78 days of NATO bombing of their country in 1999. Even this imposed agreement affirmed the “commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Serbia, a republic of Yugoslavia.

This week’s illegal recognition of Kosovo was condemned by Serbia, Russia, China and Spain.

Thirdly, U.S. imperialist domination does not benefit the occupied people. Kosovo after nine years of direct NATO military occupation has a staggering 60 percent unemployment rate. It has become a center of the international drug trade and of prostitution rings in Europe.

The once humming mines, mills, smelters, refining centers and railroads of this small resource-rich industrial area all sit silent. The resources of Kosovo under NATO occupation were forcibly privatized and sold to giant Western multinational corporations. Now almost the only employment is working for the U.S./NATO army of occupation or U.N. agencies.

The only major construction in Kosovo is of Camp Bondsteel, the largest U.S. base built in Europe in a generation.Halliburton, of course, got the contract. Camp Bondsteel guards the strategic oil and transportation lines of the entire region.

Over 250,000 Serbian, Romani and other nationalities have been driven out of this Serbian province since it came under U.S./NATO control. Almost a quarter of the Albanian population has been forced to leave in order to find work.

Establishing a colonial administration

Consider the plan under which Kosovo’s “independence” is to happen. Not only does it violate U.N. resolutions but it is also a total colonial structure. It is similar to the absolute power held by L. Paul Bremer in the first two years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

How did this colonial plan come about? It was proposed by the same forces responsible for the breakup of Yugoslavia and the NATO bombing and occupation of Kosovo.

In June of 2005, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed former Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari as his special envoy to lead the negotiations on Kosovo’s final status. Ahtisaari is hardly a neutral arbitrator when it comes to U.S. intervention in Kosovo. He is chairman emeritus of the International Crisis Group (ICG), an organization funded by multibillionaire George Soros that promotes NATO expansion and intervention along with open markets for U.S. and E.U. investment.

The board of the ICG includes two key U.S. officials responsible for the bombing of Kosovo: Gen. Wesley Clark and Zbigniew Brzezinski. In March 2007, Ahtisaari gave his Comprehensive Proposal for Kosovo Status Settlement to the new U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

The documents setting out the new government for Kosovo are available here. A summary is available on the U.S. State Department’s web site.

An International Civilian Representative (ICR) will be appointed by U.S. and E.U. officials to oversee Kosovo. This appointed official can overrule any measures, annul any laws and remove anyone from office in Kosovo. The ICR will have full and final control over the departments of Customs, Taxation, Treasury and Banking.

The E.U. will establish a European Security and Defense Policy Mission (ESDP) and NATO will establish an International Military Presence. Both these appointed bodies will have control over foreign policy, security, police, judiciary, all courts and prisons. They are guaranteed immediate and complete access to any activity, proceeding or document in Kosovo.

These bodies and the ICR will have final say over what crimes can be prosecuted and against whom; they can reverse or annul any decision made. The largest prison in Kosovo is at the U.S. base, Camp Bondsteel, where prisoners are held without charges, judicial overview or representation.

The recognition of Kosovo’s “independence” is just the latest step in a U.S. war of reconquest that has been relentlessly pursued for decades.

Divide and rule

The Balkans has been a vibrant patchwork of many oppressed nationalities, cultures and religions. The Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia, formed after World War II, contained six republics, none of which had a majority. Yugoslavia was born with a heritage of antagonisms that had been endlessly exploited by the Ottoman Turks, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and interference by British and French imperialism, followed by Nazi German and Italian Fascist occupation in World War II.

The Jewish and Serbian peoples suffered the greatest losses in that war. A powerful communist-led resistance movement made up of all the nationalities, which had suffered in different ways, was forged against Nazi occupation and all outside intervention. After the liberation, all the nationalities cooperated and compromised in building the new socialist federation.

In 45 years the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia developed from an impoverished, underdeveloped, feuding region into a stable country with an industrial base, full literacy and health care for the whole population.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the Pentagon immediately laid plans for the aggressive expansion of NATO into the East. Divide and rule became U.S. policy throughout the entire region. Everywhere right-wing, pro-capitalist forces were financed and encouraged. As the Soviet Union was broken up into separate, weakened, unstable and feuding republics, the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia tried to resist this reactionary wave.

In 1991, while world attention was focused on the devastating U.S. bombing of Iraq, Washington encouraged, financed and armed right-wing separatist movements in the Croatian, Slovenian and Bosnian republics of the Yugoslav Federation. In violation of international agreements Germany and the U.S. gave quick recognition to these secessionist movements and approved the creation of several capitalist ministates.

At the same time U.S. finance capital imposed severe economic sanctions on Yugoslavia to bankrupt its economy. Washington then promoted NATO as the only force able to bring stability to the region.

The arming and financing of the right-wing UCK movement in the Serbian province of Kosovo began in this same period. Kosovo was not a distinct republic within the Yugoslav Federation but a province in the Serbian Republic. Historically, it had been a center of Serbian national identity, but with a growing Albanian population.

Washington initiated a wild propaganda campaign claiming that Serbia was carrying out a campaign of massive genocide against the Albanian majority in Kosovo. The Western media was full of stories of mass graves and brutal rapes. U.S. officials claimed that from 100,000 up to 500,000 Albanians had been massacred.

U.S./NATO officials under the Clinton administration issued an outrageous ultimatum that Serbia immediately accept military occupation and surrender all sovereignty or face NATO bombardment of its cities, towns and infrastructure. When, at a negotiation session in Rambouillet, France, the Serbian Parliament voted to refuse NATO’s demands, the bombing began.

In 78 days the Pentagon dropped 35,000 cluster bombs, used thousands of rounds of radioactive depleted-uranium rounds, along with bunker busters and cruise missiles. The bombing destroyed more than 480 schools, 33 hospitals, numerous health clinics, 60 bridges, along with industrial, chemical and heating plants, and the electrical grid. Kosovo, the region that Washington was supposedly determined to liberate, received the greatest destruction.

Finally on June 3, 1999, Yugoslavia was forced to agree to a ceasefire and the occupation of Kosovo.

Expecting to find bodies everywhere, forensic teams from 17 NATO countries organized by the Hague Tribunal on War Crimes searched occupied Kosovo all summer of 1999 but found a total of only 2,108 bodies, of all nationalities. Some had been killed by NATO bombing and some in the war between the UCK and the Serbian police and military. They found not one mass grave and could produce no evidence of massacres or of “genocide.”

This stunning rebuttal of the imperialist propaganda comes from a report released by the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte. It was covered, but without fanfare, in the New York Times of Nov. 11, 1999.

The wild propaganda of genocide and tales of mass graves were as false as the later claims that Iraq had and was preparing to use “weapons of mass destruction.”

Through war, assassinations, coups and economic strangulation, Washington has succeeded for now in imposing neoliberal economic policies on all of the six former Yugoslav republics and breaking them into unstable and impoverished ministates.

The very instability and wrenching poverty that imperialism has brought to the region will in the long run be the seeds of its undoing. The history of the achievements made when Yugoslavia enjoyed real independence and sovereignty through unity and socialist development will assert itself in the future.

Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, traveled to Yugoslavia during the 1999 U.S. bombing and reported on the extent of the U.S. attacks on civilian targets. She is a co-author and editor of the books: Hidden Agenda—U.S./NATO Takeover of Yugoslavia and NATO in the Balkans. Copyright 1995-2007 Workers World. Read other articles by Sara, or visit Sara's website.

25 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. sk said on February 23rd, 2008 at 5:50am #

    This is why National Security types love “independent” city-states (Tariq Ali calls them “petrol stations”) like Bahrain (pop. 700,000), Qatar (pop. 840,000), Kuwait (pop. 3,100,000), Oman (pop. 3,200,000), and the United Arab Emirates (pop. 4,500,000). The majority of even these paltry numbers–over 80% of UAE residents, for instance–are not locals, but “guest workers” doing everything from cleaning restroom stalls to (wo)manning the brothels and running the oilfields.

    Small wonder then that as the ‘current national security adviser, trying to explain Bush’s recent farewell calls on pro-American dictators in the Middle East, put it, “these folks…are on board with the freedom agenda and they are pursuing it in their own fashion.”‘

  2. Lloyd Rowsey said on February 23rd, 2008 at 7:14am #

    Wow!

    No wonder the Djokavic family releases tension by watching their son compete at the highest level of men’s tennis.

    And thank you, sk.

    BTBye, hasn’t this Zbigniew Brzezinski fellow had something to do with the Barak Obama campaign?

  3. Michael Kenny said on February 23rd, 2008 at 8:25am #

    When you strip away the hysterical ranting from Ms Flounders’ floundering, you’re left with practically nothing! She doesn’t really say anything! All she does is whine and whinge about the past but has no proposals for the future. She just capitulates to the status quo!

    Nothing could better illustrate the intellectual bankruptcy of the American “left”. They have no ideology, hence no vision for the future and, necessarily therefore, no strategy for moving forward. They just sit there in their 1965 time warp, gaping open-mouthed at a world that has left them high and dry.

    The other interesting point is that, like all the other US articles on this subject, Ms Flounders is propounding the very same racist, hegemonist ideology that she claims to be criticising! She does not assert that the US had no right to meddle in ex-Yugoslavia, she merely criticises the fact that it did not meddle in favour of her pals! She objects to Europe being ground under America’s right jackboot because she believes it should be ground under America’s left jackboot!

    Do you wonder that the US has become the laughing stock of the planet!

  4. D.R. Munro said on February 23rd, 2008 at 8:43am #

    Ok, Michael Kenny, put your money where your mouth is.

    Where is YOUR plan?

    Unless, of course, you don’t have one. Then you’re just a hypocrite.

  5. sierra said on February 23rd, 2008 at 9:02am #

    Michael Kenney:

    Your “critical thinking” is as sloppy as a loose drive train!!

    Most of SF’s article are right, “on the mark!”

    Read the history of the formation of Yugoslavia; it’s role in WW2; and its complete betrayal by the US afterwards….

  6. Vigilante said on February 23rd, 2008 at 9:18am #

    Kudos to D.R. Munro. Additionally, I marvel at the brief bio on Flounders, which refers to “Yugoslavia” as opposed to ex-Yugoslavia or rump Yugoslavia, which are terms more descriptive.

  7. Max Shields said on February 23rd, 2008 at 12:18pm #

    Michael Kenny sounds to me you’re reading into this article some kind of leftist rant that just isn’t there. Perhaps you’re confusing this post with the real problem from hell – Samantha Powers. Now there’s a piece of work. And she is the numero uno adviser to Barak Obama on these matters of humanitarian (bombing) interventionism.

  8. John Wilkinson said on February 23rd, 2008 at 1:13pm #

    I have addressed some of the falsehoods in this article in my responses to the Feb. 19 article on kosovo independence:
    http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/02/the-independence-of-kosovo/
    so, I am not going to waste my time.

    Let me just address one thing — that the US supposedly was complicit in the breakup of Yugoslavia, that it was their work. So, this is how it works: let’s look for bad things happening anywhere in the world. Then, let’s publish articles blaming the US for that. US is omnipotent, it is this voodoo magician who is always there everywhere doing the impossible deeds on behalf of the forces of Darkness. Everything it touches goes perfectly per the hidden agenda of the Death Star. You see, that way, you get brownie points on the left, you energize the ignorant base, and you enhance your own prestige and monetary situation (it’s all about the money, on the left and on the right, absolutely no diff).

    So, it wasn’t the corrupt Balkan elites who started those wars, who gained immense and fabulous wealth in those wars (as I pointed out), who incited their countrymen to unspeakable hate and unspeakable deeds — no, it was the US. For those of us ignorant and inferior foreigners (savages really), being responsible for our actions and pointing out what our own corrupt and immoral elites have done, that’s not for us, the US left elite moves in and shows us it’s all the US’s fault anyway. So,THEY can get the attention and the MONEY. Without a shred of evidence in this case. (Yes, plenty of evidence on Chile, Iran, Iraq, I agree with that).

    It is IMMORAL to let the Serbian (and other Balkan) elites get away with murder and to cloud the issues with your irresponsible fantasies!!!!!!

  9. Max Shields said on February 23rd, 2008 at 1:31pm #

    John Wilkinson,

    You say the US was not complicit in the 78 day bombardment of the Balkins in 1999? That’s the issue. What the US did, not what precipitated it. We know the Balkins did not attack the US. Right? It was the NATO/US airforce that did the bombing.

    That afterall is the point, and it is irrefutable. And it is from this point that we begin the analysis of what sets us up for this kind of interventionism and the thousands of civilian deaths that follow.

    The issue is interventionism and how what follows is almost always hegemonic in nature by those forces who step in with military might. Does that mean there aren’t other players. Not at all. Clarify those, present your case, but to state that the US was, because it serves some leftist agenda, not complicit seems a distortion of the obvious.

  10. Max Shields said on February 23rd, 2008 at 1:35pm #

    By the way, I think Philip Cunliffe from the King’s College of London, hardly a “leftist” has done some very interesting analysis on this. He was interviewed recently on Antiwar.Com

    Take a listen:
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2008/02/19/philip-cunliffe/

  11. brian said on February 23rd, 2008 at 4:46pm #

    Dont tell me there are still lost souls like Wilkinson a self-proclaimed part serb (what part of you is a serb?) who believes its all serbs/balkan elites fault?
    Wilkinson: ‘Yes, it’s true, in my opinion, based on what I’ve seen firsthand, etc., we Serbs did commit a vast majority of heinous war crimes in the 90s; it’s immoral to say otherwise.’

    Well, no, the serbs did not.
    Ever hear of the Paradox? It was reported in the Kangaroo trial of Milosevic…you may not have heard of it as the media didnt report on it:

    ‘ Serbia proper, the alleged heartland of this “joint criminal enterprise,” was itself subject to no “ethnic cleansing” whatsoever throughout the wars, but witnessed a net inflow of refugees from other former republics. (For data on refugee flows in the former Yugoslavia, see section 9.) This dramatic fact was brought out by Milosevic in his trial, during his examination of defense witness Mihailo Markovic, a noted professor of philosophy and one of the founders of Praxis. Acknowledging the “paradox in view of all these charges” concerning “Greater Serbia” and “ethnic cleansing,” Markovic said that “Serbia still has today the same national structure that it had in the 1970s,” and that although “Serbs were expulsed from practically all the other republics, Serbia did not change.” “Why would Serbs be expelling Croatians from Croatia if they’re not expelling them from Serbia?” Markovic asked the court. “Why would Serbs be expelling Albanians from Kosovo if they’re not expelling them from Belgrade and other parts of Serbia?” Shortly thereafter, Milosevic directed much the same question back toward Markovic:

    Milosevic: [I]f you have in mind that the greatest part of that Greater Serbia would be precisely the Republic of Serbia, which did not see any expulsions at all throughout the crisis, do you find it logical that Serbia should initiate expulsions from territories outside of Serbia?
    Markovic: Well, I already told you it seems illogical to me.32
    Obviously, these are important questions, whose answers cast doubts on a fundamental tenet of the standard narrative. If the Belgrade Serbs, as the alleged originators of the “joint criminal enterprise” to create a “Greater Serbia,” did not implement their conspiracy where they held unquestioned power, inside Serbia proper, then what is the likelihood that the prosecution’s theory for the wars has any merit? Lead prosecutor Geoffrey Nice had no solution for this “paradox.” And Marlise Simons, Mark Danner, Ed Vulliamy, David Rieff, and others have not dealt with it by any method other than yet more misleading rhetoric and strategic silence. This exchange was unreported in any Western media institution.

    http://www.monthlyreview.org/1007herman-peterson1.php

    So, no ethnic cleansing by the Serbs! No war crimes committed by milosevic. While real ethnic cleansing was taknig place by the croats slovenes and you guess it, the kosovo albanians.

    I suggest you and everyone read the Herman/Peterson article in full.

    As for US innocence, back in 1991, after the fall of the soviets, we find:

    ‘Diana Johnstone recounts a January 1991 meeting in Belgrade between the U.S. ambassador and Borisav Jovic, a Serb then serving on Yugoslavia’s collective State Presidency. “[T]he United States would not accept any use of force to disarm the paramilitaries,” Jovic was told. “Only ‘peaceful’ means were acceptable to Washington. The Yugoslav army was prohibited by the United States from using force to preserve the Federation, which meant that it could not prevent the Federation from being dismembered by force”12—a remarkable injunction against a sovereign state. Similar warnings were communicated by the EC as well. We might try to imagine what the United States would look like today, were the questions it faced in 1860 about its federal structure and the rights of states handled in as prejudicial a manner by much stronger foreign powers’

    Us was prepared to see Yugoslavia breakup, with the soviets gone, its strategic use was gone, but it was still a socialist multi-ethnic country, and that was not what the US or NATO now wanted. The era of neoliberal privatisation was forced on the remains of Yugoslavia by the US/ NATO.

  12. Shabnam said on February 23rd, 2008 at 5:26pm #

    Shame on those “left” who help the enemies of humanity to bring countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Sudan down by covering for the crimes of imperialism and Zionism in name of fighting for “democracy’ in these countries. What are you talking about, John Wilkinson, when you say “for those of us…….being responsible for our actions and pointing out what our own corrupt and immoral elites have done, that’s not for us, the US left elite moves in and shows us it’s all the US’s fault anyway.”
    It is disappointing to see this kind of talk on this website. If that is not imperialist’s fault then whose fault is? The International system is ALL under control of US imperialism and their colonial and Zionist accomplice who set the “LAWS” and when is not in their interest they break them all and no one has power to challenge these criminals. Saddam was let into power by the US and they used Saddam to kill more than 30,000 Iraqi people in name of fighting against
    “communism.” When Mosaddeq, prime minister of Iran, wanted to nationalize oil industry because Iran was not receiving a fair share from the colonial power, the British, then he was toppled by American /British coup. Now the Iranian “left” as opposition and some as puppet of the imperial and Zionist forces are writing books after books to change the nature of 1953 coup to sell it as revolt by Iranian people against democratically elected Mosaddeq, the prime minister, to serve the American empire ‘s interest and presents the US as a good empire. They have received generous grant from US government to re-write the Iranian history for the younger Iranian generation according to US interest. One of these Iranians is Abbas Milani who is the director of the “Democracy Project” at the Hoover Institution. Others, such as Hekmat has been publishing articles and books to brain wash Iranian youth who like other young people in the empire are mainly interested to remain as a royal consuming partners.
    All these former Iranian “left” and majorities of the “Iranian Opposition” group are residing in the “democratic west” because the international set up with the “leadership” of the US can not support a normal life in these countries and the West not only rob other nations’ resources but also rob other nations’ human capital.
    I have seen this kind of nonsense talking with so called “Iranian opposition” groups elsewhere, where, majority of these websites are funded by the West to condemn the “elites” of those countries who does not wish to be servant of the empire. I have read these kind of rubbish by the Iranian “left” on Voice of America, National Endowment for democracy, Freedom House and Institute for the near east policy, an Israeli Think Tank, and many other imperialist organizations where their aim is towards destabilization of other countries for regime change using the language skills of the Iranian opposition groups to achieve their goals. No one should support these traitors and they should be exposed and isolated from the population of these countries.
    Instead of attacking those who criticize the brutality of the empire , people should take responsibility for their crimes against humanity against others starting with the massacred of the indigenous population of Americans and wake the ignorant population up to bring their destructive force, the military, home and stop stealing other people resources.

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain said on February 23rd, 2008 at 11:37pm #

    The history of US subversion in Yugoslavia goes back, I believe, to the end of WW2. The Yanks gave sanctuary to numerous East European fascist emigres, allies of the Nazis, who were fleeing Soviet justice. Many of these fascists, with their expertise in murder, torture and terrorism, were employed by the US intelligence services in the Third World, particularly Latin America. The Nazis having turned out not to be up to the job, the Yanks took on the task of destroying the Soviet Union themselves.
    Yugoslavia was always slated for destruction, its type of polity and economy, not being of the one true, Market Capitalist, faith, being anathema. I first read expositions of the tactics the US intended to use, policies of ‘divide and conquer’, decades ago, possibly from the pen of the super-villain Brzezinski himself-memory fails me. And so it unfolded. With invaluable help from that Polish fascist, Wojtyla, in the Vatican (after all it was the Vatican that provided the Croatian and other fascist leaders with disguises and passports to enable their escape)and the successor regime to Nazism in Germany, led by the corrupt Kohl, the US engineered the break-up and the wars of succession. Indeed in the Croatian attack on Krajina, where thousands of Serbs were massacred and ethnically cleansed, to the studied and near total indifference of the ‘civilised and humanitarian’ West, the planning was undertaken by a US military corporation consisting of ‘ex’-Pentagon operatives.
    Now the Yanks have colonies not only in Kosovo, but in Bosnia as well, and puppet fascist regimes in Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and elsewhere. This has been such a stunningly successful policy, due in no small part to the trademark and fathomlessly vicious hypocrisy and mendacity of the ‘Free Press’ and the congenital ignorance and disinterest of the Western popular mass, that you often see it mooted as a possible means to derail China’s rise. After all, in the Soviet Union, the drunken, cirrhotic, Quisling scum-bag Yeltsin organised the break-up of the country despite the public voting by a large majority against it in a now deliberately forgotten referendum. But he had his orders from his masters. Breaking up China will take some doing, but undoubtedly the strategy of tension will be cranked up soon, lest it be left too late. Ten or twenty more years of break-neck growth in the economy and scientific and technological advance, and the position of global hegemon may move from Europe and its ghastly offspring, for the first time in 500 years. That will not be allowed to happen if the current rulers of the world, in Washington and Tel Aviv have anything to do with it.

  14. denk said on February 24th, 2008 at 5:28am #

    michael kenny
    **Do you wonder that the US has become the laughing stock of the planet!**

    mk, lol
    if not for the “lefties” who are standing up to us imperialism, we the world communities would have written off you yanks by now.

    us complicity in the breaking up of yugo
    http://nato-media-lies-exposed.blogspot.com/2006/01/srebrenica-atrocity-video-natasa.html

    us crimes against humanity in ex yugo,
    http://www.snd-us.com/Liberty/sj_1758.htm

    if there’s any justice left in this world, this alone should bring the us /uk to face the music at the world court

    its people like u and john wilkinson, shilling for the empire , who are the embarrassment of the usa.

  15. D.R. Munro said on February 24th, 2008 at 9:43am #

    I think, denk, that justice was burned at the stake for heresy a long time ago.

    Let us not forget that those who bring others to “justice” are the victors. Hence the United States was granted amnesty in regards to all war crimes carried out by the Allies (fire bombing of Dresden, fire bombing of Tokyo, near complete annihilation of Munich, detonation of two strategic nuclear bombs – all come to mind off the top of my head) in World War II because we were “crushing Nazi scum!”

    Until the United States succumbs to another military power, there will never be justice for the crimes committed in the name of Empire.

  16. Max Shields said on February 24th, 2008 at 11:01am #

    D.R. Munro,

    Yes and this is what has made the U.N. totally worthless. The resolutions, particularly the General Assembly resolutions become little more than “non-binding” pronouncements.

    Any complaining about the U.N.’s role in the world by the neo-cons and libertarians is really a push to destroy what little effect a global body might have in holding up some moral high ground. It is not just that the U.N. has been designed to keep the Security Council members outside of the sphere of international law (as well as their client nations), but it actually defeats the purpose of what “good” it would like to think that it is making in the world. Whether that be conflict resolution or hunger and disease. As powers have their way they undermine all of those efforts.

    I don’t think the answer is the endless replacement one superpowers for another. The answer it seems is to realize the unsustainability of domination/superpower model from anyone nation-state or coalition of states. We know (whether we’re capable of acting on this knowledge is another thing) that we’ll need to de-industrialize much of the developed world and curtail the the industrialization that is happening in developing nations if we are to avoid the ultimate demise of human life on the planet. Supposing we do, than the question is will a de-industrialized (certainly vastly reduced dependency on industrial consumption of energy) world undermine the tendency for domination? Will that lead to a justice forced upon us by nature rather than by some attempt (cynical at worst, and futile at best) at creating justice from institutions (ala U.N.)? I think it’s possible.

    If we look at food and agriculture we can learn a lot about where we’re headed and it’s happening at a fairly rapid pace. Add to that issues of water supply and you have a better sense of human trajectory than who’s going to win an election or where the next conflict or war will occur.

  17. D.R. Munro said on February 24th, 2008 at 2:52pm #

    That is a very good point, expecially about the UN.

    The only nation-states bound to UN resolutions are those with significant less political power than the UN. That is not to say, like you said, that it is designed to allow major powers to circumvent its resolutions – but it doesn’t have the political pull to force adherence.

    I find it impossible to believe that the developed world will take it upon itself to de-industrialize, even though it is imperative that it happens to a great extent.

    My thinking, looking at the track record of humanity, we will start to tear down these monuments to greed and slavery some twenty years or so after it’s already too late.

    And water, oh man – if the population increases keep steady at this rate for too much longer, water will be more valuable than gold. A luxury only the rich can afford.

  18. Lloyd Rowsey said on February 25th, 2008 at 12:01am #

    Regarding the role of nation-states in our future, it seems supremely ironic to me that BushCo’s sleight-of-hand has succeeded in replacing a “threat to a nation” with “a threat to individuals within a nation.” In that almost no one with sense ever thought Iraq constituted a threat to America as a nation. (Cf. The ever-unanswered question: “Why would Iraq be so stupid as to attack the United States?”) While the Administration’s terrorist-mongering will apparently keep the Iraq Occupation proceeding nicely, thank you, indefinitely.

    And as for the future? What wishful thinking — that the dissolution of nation-states will produce more eco-friendly, or in-any-way-friendly, groupings of human beings! A dream which I attribute in about equal parts to hopelessness among lefties and radical environmentalism.

  19. Max Shields said on February 25th, 2008 at 8:01am #

    “I find it impossible to believe that the developed world will take it upon itself to de-industrialize, even though it is imperative that it happens to a great extent.”

    Hard to argue that. It’s not what we know it’s whether or not we’ll act on what we know.

    That is why I find it just about impossible to look at the USA and it’s national presidential races as change agents. It’s not just that the 2 parties are deadends, but that the sheer size of this country makes such needed fundamental change impossible.

    Human scaled change is possible. Cuba dealt with it and arguments can likewise be made that they would have stuck with the old Soviet style of feeding its people – just as you have pointed out. But that’s not what happened. Because there were already the seeds of a different way, that narrative took over. In a word, begin where your at.

    I’m use to nay-sayers and phony preachers. All turn into followers once direction has been set. You find both at the local level, but it should not stop us from organizing the champions and moving forward.

    Or we can just stew. We have choices…

    Cheers
    Max

  20. Adnan said on February 25th, 2008 at 2:09pm #

    Yes Sara,

    Serbs and Jews are always victims. Yes, Serbs were ones who tried to save Yugoslavia by killing, and expelling everybody else in a same way Israel is saving Palestine.

    “When everybody else in the neighborhood hates you, or hates something you do, it’s a moment for a little reflection and introspection, isn’t it? Unless, of course, you’re just an asshole. Then why bother?”

    Yes, MOST of Serbs and Jews do not need to bother, we know what they are.

  21. denk said on February 25th, 2008 at 10:20pm #

    dr munro

    nowdays if i want to know whats actually happening behind the headlines , i come to “lefties” sites like dv.
    you guys are the conscience of usa.
    as for michael kenny, sigh, why doesnt he just stick with faux news or war street journals i wonder ?

  22. Gary Corseri said on February 25th, 2008 at 11:15pm #

    Instead of commenting on the commentators–some of whom resist education like the plague–why not simply pass on Ms. Flanders’ excellent piece, based upon her solid journalistic inquiry, boots-on-the-ground experience, interviews and investigations.

    Save this piece to “Favorites” (as with other worthy pieces at D.V. and cousin sites) and next time one of the benighted spouts falsehoods and half-truths, pass the information on.

    So it is written in the Book of Proverbs: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning … but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.”

  23. D.R. Munro said on February 26th, 2008 at 6:36am #

    Denk,

    Some people just like to create turmoil with others and draw some strange enjoyment from it.

    I suppose it does take a period of, say, de-tox to rid yourself of all the bullshit that corporate media feeds you. Perhaps Michael Kenny just hasn’t finished his yet.

    The thing I like about “leftie” and alternative news sites, is that even if I’m wrong, or if you’re wrong, or if Michael Kenny is wrong – we’re thinking about things critcally, analyzing information and coming to our own conclusions, not letting talking heads on television spin us how they want to.

    That is what is important, thinking.

  24. hp said on February 26th, 2008 at 9:51am #

    This article could have been written ten years ago.

  25. Sasha said on February 27th, 2008 at 9:25am #

    To Adnan from Serbia.I suppose that you believe the Angel that bombed us was sent from Heaven to punish us but Adnan those were NATO planes.God has nothing to do with that.Love from Sasha.