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Dave

Sugar Ape

Rise of the far right in Europe.

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Those Hungarian mothafuckaz sound like what it will be under a future ConKIP government.  Mothafuckaaaaaaaz.

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Those Hungarian mothafuckaz sound like what it will be under a future ConKIP government.  Mothafuckaaaaaaaz.

No chance that those two would ever get the kind of majority whereby you can basically spend eight years rewriting the constitional over a hundred times and redesign the election process every time so that you get another supermajority.

 

Some of the things have taken a little imagination though. The first time Orban did it, the constitutional court sent it back saying that there really wasn't any need for the constitution to explicitly state that marriage was between a man and woman. Orban came up with the genius idea of introducing a mandatory retirement age for judges. Within six months, two thirds of the country's senior judiciary had been replaced by people chosen directly by him. Quite an elegant solution.

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No chance that those two would ever get the kind of majority whereby you can basically spend eight years rewriting the constitional over a hundred times and redesign the election process every time so that you get another supermajority.

 

Some of the things have taken a little imagination though. The first time Orban did it, the constitutional court sent it back saying that there really wasn't any need for the constitution to explicitly state that marriage was between a man and woman. Orban came up with the genius idea of introducing a mandatory retirement age for judges. Within six months, two thirds of the country's senior judiciary had been replaced by people chosen directly by him. Quite an elegant solution.

 

It could never happen here.  It doesn't need to, because we are attuned to regarding corporatism as capitalism rather than fascism.

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Going to be some real trouble in the near future I reckon. Poland, Switzerland, Sweden all seeing surges to the right with the refugee crisis, Merkel is going to come under a shit load of pressure soon I'd imagine, her offer to fast track Turkey into the EU seems a spectacularly bad idea.

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Let them in sure.

It's all building up to one big blow out, the war to end all wars. And exactly what the cunts in power want.

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Thick first-world people exploiting poor workers in third-world countries want to stop second-world people from joining in the fruits of the exploitation. Finding it hard to give a fuck about this world anymore. 

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Commies!

 

 

Portuguese MPs force minority government to quit over austerity

 

Alliance of socialists and communists brings down centre-right coalition weeks after general election

 

A surprise alliance of leftwing parties with a mission to “turn the page” on austerity has ousted Portugal’s centre-right government barely 11 days after it took power.

 

The moderate centre-left Socialist party forged an unprecedented alliance with the smaller Communist party and the radical Left Bloc, linked to Greece’s anti-austerity Syriza party, and used a parliamentary vote on policy to force the government to resign on Tuesday.

 

The Socialist leader, António Costa, is now expected to become prime minister in the coming weeks with a broad, leftwing coalition government, which hopes to ease austerity while still adhering to European Union rules.

 

“The taboo has ended, the wall has been broken,” he said after the vote. “This is a new political framework, the old majority cannot pretend to be what it stopped being.”

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/10/portuguese-mps-force-minority-government-to-quit-over-austerity

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From To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia, by Michael Parenti. Part of Chapter 3 - Divide and Conquer. Posting here so I don't derail the Paris thread with it. Typed this out so apologies for any mistakes :




It is a matter of public record that the CIA fueled the Bosnian conflict. Consider these headlines : the Manchester Guardian, November 17 1994: "CIA Agents Training Bosnian Army", the London Observer, November 20 1994: "America's Secret Bosnia Agenda", the European, November 25 1994: "How The CIA Helps Bosnia Fight Back." Several years later, the Los Angeles Times reported that "the CIA station in Bosnia is now reputed to be one of the largest in the region."

Charles Boyd, former deputy commander of the US European command, commented: "The popular image of this war [in Croatia] is one of unrelenting Serb expansion. Much of what the Croatians call 'the occupied territories' is land that has been held by Serbs for more than three centuries. The same is true of most Serb land in Bosnia - what the Western media frequently refer to as the 70 per cent of Bosnia seized by rebel Serbs. In short the Serbs were not trying to conquer new territory, but merely to hold on to what was already theirs." As a result of the war, Serbian land holdings in Bosnia were reduced from 65 to 43 per cent. Boyd also faulted the US policy of covertly approving Muslim offensives that destroyed the very ceasefire Washington ostensibly supported. While US leaders claimed they wanted peace, Boyd concludes, they "encouraged a deepening of the war."

A ceasefire, the "Dayton accords," was brokered by the Western powers in November 1995, with terms that insured Western suzerainty over a thoroughly partitioned Bosnia-Herzegovina. The larger portion became the Bosnian Federation (Muslim-Croat) and a smaller territory became Republika Srpska, into which Bosnian Serbs were corralled, those who had not fled to Serbia. All this time, US leaders acted as if any attempt by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to resist secession was a violation of national self-determination and international law.

Under the FRY constitution, the will of a republican majority could not override the equally valid will of a constituent nationality. In other words, the Croatian vote for independence could not negate the rights of the Krajina Serbs within Croatia. The latter had overwhelmingly rejected separatism in a referendum of their own. According to FRY constitutional principles, Croatian independence should have been conditional upon a successful resolution of Krajina's competing claim. The same rule applied to Bosnia. All this was completely ignored by Western leaders and their media acolytes, who assumed that while it was outrageous that Muslims and Croats should accept a minority position within Yugoslavia, it was perfectly all right for Serbs to accept a far less secure minority position within Croatia and Bosnia.

When the FRY sent aid to the embattled Bosnian Serbs, this was seen as a sign of aggrandizement on behalf of a "Greater Serbia." But when Croatia sent its armed forces into Bosnia-Herzegovina "to carve out an ethnically pure Croatian territory known as 'Herceg-Bosna,'" it was punished with nothing more than "half-hearted reprimands." The same double standard would later be applied respectively to Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.

Were the secessions legal under international law, as the Western powers assumed? In fact, the recognition of Slovene, Croatian and Bosnian independence by the Western powers "constituted an illegal intervention in Yugoslavia's internal affairs, to which Belgrade had every right to object," argue Robert Tucker and David Hendrickson. While championing the right of self-determination in the former Yugoslavia, the Western powers recognize no such right of secession for Scotland (my addition - book is from 2002), nor France for Corsica, nor Spain for Catalonia or the Basque region. The United States does not acknowledge the right of any state or other constituent political unit or ethnic community within its boundaries to secede from the Union or, for that matter, to override the supremacy of federal power in any way. This was made perfectly clear in 1861-65, when the Southern Confederacy's secession was forcibly repressed in one of the bloodiest wars of the nineteenth century.

The US government does not recognize an innate right of secession for Puerto Rico, an "island commonwealth" unattached to continental USA, with a distinct ethnic population of its own that speaks Spanish rather than English. Puerto Rico is a colonial possession acquired by a war of aggression against Spain over a century ago. If Puerto Rico eventually attains independence, it will come as a concession conferred by Washington, not an inherent right exercised by the Puerto Ricans. There is an argument made for secession as enunciated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence: "a long train of abuses & usurpations" justify disassociation from an insufferable government. But as Tucker and Hendrickson point out, the Western interventionists have acknowledged the more or less equitable, peacable, "almost idyllic" relations that obtained between Bosnian Serbs, Croats, and Muslims before hostilities. This undercuts the view that the Muslims had endured the kind of long-standing insufferable oppression that justifies recourse to revolution. While Western spokespersons maintained that Bosnian Muslims had every reason to fear living in a state (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) dominated by Serbs, they repeatedly assumed that Serbs had no reason to fear living in a state (an independent Bosnia) dominated by Muslims and Croats. "That assumption is fundamentally implausible; it is, nevertheless, the unspoken assumption of the American government's position and of the dominant consensus in the United States regarding the origins of the [bosnian] war."

At the time of the Bosnian breakaway, all that remained of Yugoslavia - Montenegro and Serbia - proclaimed a new Federal Republic. Even this severely truncated nation proved too much for Western leaders to tolerate. In 1992, at the urging of the United States and other major powers, the UN Security Council imposed a universally binding blockade on all diplomatic, trade, scientific, cultural, and sports exchanges with Serbia and Montenegro, the most sweeping sanctions ever imposed by that body. The new FRY was suspended from the membership in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and was, in effect, ejected from the United Nations when not allowed to occupy the seat of the former Federal Republic.

The sanctions impacted disastrously upon Yugoslavia's already depressed economy, bringing hyperinflation, unemployment up to 70 per cent, malnourishment, and the virtual collapse of the health care system. Raw materials required for the production of medicines were not getting into the country, nor were finished medical products. Medicine was no longer available in local currency. Patients were being asked to buy their own medication on the black market in exchange for hard currency, something most could not afford to do. People began dying from curable diseases.

As in Iraq, so in Yugoslavia, international sanctions inflicted severe suffering upon innocents. John and Karl Mueller wrote in Foreign Affairs that economic sanctions may now well be considered the leading weapon of mass destruction, having possibly "contributed to more deaths during the post-Cold War era than all the weapons of mass destruction throughout history." The civilian population does not suffer accidental or collateral damage from sanctions; it is the prime target.

To conclude: when their life chances become increasingly less promising, ordinary people jostle for survival, with many turning into ethnic militants - and some even into ethnic killers. Yet nationality differences do not of themselves inexorably lead to armed conflict. Many countries have histories of internal ethnic, religious, or cultural clashes that have not devolved into all-out war and secession. In the case of Yugoslavia, underlying conditions must be taken into account. What outside interests were exercising what power on behalf of whose agenda? "Tensions along ethnical, racial, or historical fault lines," Susan Woodward concludes, "can lead to civil violence, but to explain the Yugoslav crisis as a result of ethnic hatred is to turn the story upside down and begin and its end."

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From the Paris thread again :
 

I might, when I find the time. I agree we should not derail this thread, I will only say it is not just the "mainstream media" narrative and you can safely take it to the bank.

 

Ok am just adding some more here to go with my last post :

 

Sara Flounders, from the book NATO in the Balkans :

 

 

Age-old ethnic hatred among small nationalities didn’t just explode into modern-day barbarism. Rather, war exists in the region as a result of the intervention of outside powers. In this process the U.S. has been neither an innocent bystander nor a neutral party.

A closer examination of the root causes of the incredibly destructive civil war raging in the region yields a completely different picture.

The reality is that the U.S. government lit the fire in the Balkans. At every stage Washington has acted as an arsonist pouring gasoline on the flames.

The greatest responsibility for the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the resulting civil war lies with the U.S. government. It was not an accident or an oversight. It was a policy decision.

Each step the U.S. has taken has widened the war and increased divisions in the region.

 

http://www.iacenter.org/bosnia/tragedy.htm

 

From Prof. Dr. Michel Chossudovsky, writing in Covert Action, 1996 :

 

 

Western-backed neoliberal macroeconomic restructuring helped destroy Yugoslavia. Yet, since the onset of war in 1991, the global media have carefully overlooked or denied their central role. Instead, they have joined the chorus singing praises of the free market as the basis for rebuilding a war shattered economy. The social and political impact of economic restructuring in Yugoslavia has been carefully erased from our collective understanding. Opinion-makers instead dogmatically present cultural, ethnic, and religious divisions as the sole cause of the crisis. In reality, they are the consequence of a much deeper process of economic and political fracturing.

Such false consciousness not only masks the truth, it also prevents us from acknowledging precise historical occurrences. Ultimately, it distorts the true sources of social conflict. When applied to the former Yugoslavia, it obscures the historical foundations of South Slavic unity, solidarity and identity. But this false consciousness lives across the globe, where shuttered factories, jobless workers, and gutted social programs are the only possible world, and "bitter economic medicine" is the only prescription.

 

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/62/022.html

 

From Chomsky writing in 2001 :

 

 

In the two State Department reports and the Tribunal indictment, the detailed chronologies are restricted, almost entirely, to the period that followed the bombing campaign initiated on March 24. Thus, the final State Department report of December 1999 refers vaguely to “late March” or “after March,” apart from a single reference to refugee reports of an execution on March 23, the day of NATO’s official declaration that the air operations announced on March 22 would begin. The one significant exception is the January 15 Racak massacre of 45 people. But that cannot have been the motive for the bombing, for two sufficient reasons: first, the OSCE monitors and other international observers (including NATO) report this to be an isolated event, with nothing similar in the following months up to the bombing; we return to that record directly. And second, such atrocities are of little concern to the U.S. and its allies. Evidence for the latter conclusion is overwhelming, and it was confirmed once again shortly after the Racak massacre, when Indonesian forces and their paramilitary subordinates brutally murdered 50 or more people who had taken refuge from Indonesian terror in a church in the remote Timorese village of Liquica. Unlike Racak, this was only one of many massacres in East Timor at that time, with a toll well beyond anything attributed to Milosevic in Kosovo: 3-5000 killed from January 1999, credible church sources reported on August 6, about twice the number killed on all sides in Kosovo in the year prior to the bombing, according to NATO. Historian John Taylor estimates the toll at 5-6000 from January to the August 30 referendum.

The U.S. and its allies reacted to the East Timor massacres in the familiar way: by continuing to provide military and other aid to the killers and maintaining other military arrangements, including joint training exercises as late as August, while insisting that security in East Timor “is the responsibility of the Government of Indonesia, and we don’t want to take that responsibility away from them.”

In summary, the State Department and the Tribunal make no serious effort to justify the bombing campaign or the withdrawal of the OSCE monitors on March 20 in preparation for it.

 

http://chomsky.info/200005__/

 

From the International Committee of the Fourth International, writing about the Foreign Affairs Select Committee report released in 2000 :

 

 

The report states that there is no evidence that the Serbs aimed at ethnic cantonisation prior to NATO's bombing campaign, and that even during it, there was no organised plan to expel Kosovar Albanians. During the NATO bombardment the picture was "one of generalised violence against the Kosovo Albanians, with some elements organised from Belgrade, but much of the violence was not carefully orchestrated.”

 

Several more details are added, including :

 - A former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia saying that "It is now generally accepted by those who have seen the Rambouillet Agreement that no sovereign state could have agreed to its conditions."

 - The U.S. made an agreement with the Kosovar Albanian delegation which contradicted the Rambouillet agreement.

 - It was an illegal war.

 - Cluster bombs and depleted uranium were used.

 - Ethnic cleansing claims exaggerated. 'Operation Horseshoe', supposedly a plan by Yugoslavia to expel the entire Kosovo Albanian population, was actually wrong. German officials pushed this just before the bombing started, but it was later found that Bulgarian intelligence, Germany's source for the plan, had been "misquoted", and that Yugoslavia never planned that at all.

 

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2000/06/kos2-j14.html

 

To add to what Chomsky has said (and Parenti has also brought this up in his book.) : if the U.S. were so bothered about ethnic cleansing, why aren't they bothered about the same thing when it happens in so many other places? East Timor was mentioned, but you could also ask why Israel is funded with billions of dollars each year, or why Turkey are allowed to do what they do to the Kurds. The same for so many other situations. I don't think that the idea that ethnic cleansing being a reason why the U.S. got so involved adds up very well when you see it happening in so many other places, and the U.S. not giving a shit, or even supporting those carrying it out.

 

A final bit (at least for now) from Balkan Insight in 2012 :

 

 

The International Monetary Fund is partly to blame for wars in former Yugoslavia, according to Stratfor document published by Wikileaks.

Wikileaks made public on Thursday the internal guidelines that the global intelligence company Stratfor issues to its analysts in the field.  

In the document from 2009, titled Europe Analytical Guidance, Stratfor alerts its analysts to watch out for any possible riots occurring due to economic crises, since the current situation in Balkans is complex and multifaceted.

“Do not forget, the IMF austerity measures imposed on Yugoslavia were in part to blame for the start of the war there. We need to be aware of any economically motivated social discontent,” document states.

 

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/wikileaks-the-imf-s-fault-for-balkan-war

 

 

I'm not expecting a response to each part of this, or even any response at all. I know that getting into areas like this can take up a fair amount of time. Just wanted to put these bits here as I don't think the official and mainstream media story of what happened in Yugoslavia is correct for many reasons.

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Yugoslavian war started in 1991 though RP, not 94.  The UN Peacekeeping force was the body involved there in trying to separate the armies, and mostly protect Bosnians from both sides.

The Kosovan conflict was then 98-99, which was when NATO got involved in bombing Serbia - and which most of your post above seems to be about, although I haven't read all the links.

Which bit are you interested in?

 

You could say that Blair and Clinton's championing of NATO intervention in Kosovo as outside the UN action is what led to giving Bush the idea of fucking off the UN for invading Iraq, therefore forever weakening the ability of the UN to intervene for peacekeeping reasons.

 

Of course the UN got involved in peace keeping in the Yugoslavian war at a time of Russian disarray and before China had risen to be a world power, so the UN could actually do things without being as wedged by global power politics. 

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Yugoslavian war started in 1991 though RP, not 94.  The UN Peacekeeping force was the body involved there in trying to separate the armies, and mostly protect Bosnians from both sides.

The Kosovan conflict was then 98-99, which was when NATO got involved in bombing Serbia - and which most of your post above seems to be about, although I haven't read all the links.

Which bit are you interested in?

 

You could say that Blair and Clinton's championing of NATO intervention in Kosovo as outside the UN action is what led to giving Bush the idea of fucking off the UN for invading Iraq, therefore forever weakening the ability of the UN to intervene for peacekeeping reasons.

 

Of course the UN got involved in peace keeping in the Yugoslavian war at a time of Russian disarray and before China had risen to be a world power, so the UN could actually do things without being as wedged by global power politics. 

 

Yeah the '94 dates are probably from when CIA involvement was reported more, I get that it started before then. As for which bit I'm interested in, first it was just the Kosovo war. Now it's from when the U.S. and IMF got involved with Yugoslavia more around the early 80's, and how things developed from that point onwards, especially with regard to how socialism faded in that time period as well (I'll probably use this to help with that part.)

 

There's clearly a lot of stuff going on from the early 80's though before reaching the point of the Kosovo war, so that's going to take quite a while to learn about. I'll have to be patient.

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Yeah the '94 dates are probably from when CIA involvement was reported more, I get that it started before then. As for which bit I'm interested in, first it was just the Kosovo war. Now it's from when the U.S. and IMF got involved with Yugoslavia more around the early 80's, and how things developed from that point onwards, especially with regard to how socialism faded in that time period as well (I'll probably use this to help with that part.)

 

There's clearly a lot of stuff going on from the early 80's though before reaching the point of the Kosovo war, so that's going to take quite a while to learn about. I'll have to be patient.

 

Looks interesting that book.  The early 80s I always assume is a much easier era to assign motives.  It was still the Cold War, albeit coming to the end with a bit of thawing, and so Yugoslavia with it's "Independent" status and position between Western Europe and the USSR would have been rife with spies and political shenanigans of all sorts to extract any kind of "win".

 

For example, while the IMF may have put pressure on the Yugoslav government to reform in order to receive financial assistance, the aims of the reforms might have been to align the country more to the West rather than to the USSR. 

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From To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia, by Michael Parenti. Part of Chapter 3 - Divide and Conquer. Posting here so I don't derail the Paris thread with it. Typed this out so apologies for any mistakes :

 

 

 

 

It is a matter of public record that the CIA fueled the Bosnian conflict. Consider these headlines : the Manchester Guardian, November 17 1994: "CIA Agents Training Bosnian Army", the London Observer, November 20 1994: "America's Secret Bosnia Agenda", the European, November 25 1994: "How The CIA Helps Bosnia Fight Back." Several years later, the Los Angeles Times reported that "the CIA station in Bosnia is now reputed to be one of the largest in the region."

 

Charles Boyd, former deputy commander of the US European command, commented: "The popular image of this war [in Croatia] is one of unrelenting Serb expansion. Much of what the Croatians call 'the occupied territories' is land that has been held by Serbs for more than three centuries. The same is true of most Serb land in Bosnia - what the Western media frequently refer to as the 70 per cent of Bosnia seized by rebel Serbs. In short the Serbs were not trying to conquer new territory, but merely to hold on to what was already theirs." As a result of the war, Serbian land holdings in Bosnia were reduced from 65 to 43 per cent. Boyd also faulted the US policy of covertly approving Muslim offensives that destroyed the very ceasefire Washington ostensibly supported. While US leaders claimed they wanted peace, Boyd concludes, they "encouraged a deepening of the war."

 

A ceasefire, the "Dayton accords," was brokered by the Western powers in November 1995, with terms that insured Western suzerainty over a thoroughly partitioned Bosnia-Herzegovina. The larger portion became the Bosnian Federation (Muslim-Croat) and a smaller territory became Republika Srpska, into which Bosnian Serbs were corralled, those who had not fled to Serbia. All this time, US leaders acted as if any attempt by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to resist secession was a violation of national self-determination and international law.

 

Under the FRY constitution, the will of a republican majority could not override the equally valid will of a constituent nationality. In other words, the Croatian vote for independence could not negate the rights of the Krajina Serbs within Croatia. The latter had overwhelmingly rejected separatism in a referendum of their own. According to FRY constitutional principles, Croatian independence should have been conditional upon a successful resolution of Krajina's competing claim. The same rule applied to Bosnia. All this was completely ignored by Western leaders and their media acolytes, who assumed that while it was outrageous that Muslims and Croats should accept a minority position within Yugoslavia, it was perfectly all right for Serbs to accept a far less secure minority position within Croatia and Bosnia.

 

When the FRY sent aid to the embattled Bosnian Serbs, this was seen as a sign of aggrandizement on behalf of a "Greater Serbia." But when Croatia sent its armed forces into Bosnia-Herzegovina "to carve out an ethnically pure Croatian territory known as 'Herceg-Bosna,'" it was punished with nothing more than "half-hearted reprimands." The same double standard would later be applied respectively to Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.

 

Were the secessions legal under international law, as the Western powers assumed? In fact, the recognition of Slovene, Croatian and Bosnian independence by the Western powers "constituted an illegal intervention in Yugoslavia's internal affairs, to which Belgrade had every right to object," argue Robert Tucker and David Hendrickson. While championing the right of self-determination in the former Yugoslavia, the Western powers recognize no such right of secession for Scotland (my addition - book is from 2002), nor France for Corsica, nor Spain for Catalonia or the Basque region. The United States does not acknowledge the right of any state or other constituent political unit or ethnic community within its boundaries to secede from the Union or, for that matter, to override the supremacy of federal power in any way. This was made perfectly clear in 1861-65, when the Southern Confederacy's secession was forcibly repressed in one of the bloodiest wars of the nineteenth century.

 

The US government does not recognize an innate right of secession for Puerto Rico, an "island commonwealth" unattached to continental USA, with a distinct ethnic population of its own that speaks Spanish rather than English. Puerto Rico is a colonial possession acquired by a war of aggression against Spain over a century ago. If Puerto Rico eventually attains independence, it will come as a concession conferred by Washington, not an inherent right exercised by the Puerto Ricans. There is an argument made for secession as enunciated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence: "a long train of abuses & usurpations" justify disassociation from an insufferable government. But as Tucker and Hendrickson point out, the Western interventionists have acknowledged the more or less equitable, peacable, "almost idyllic" relations that obtained between Bosnian Serbs, Croats, and Muslims before hostilities. This undercuts the view that the Muslims had endured the kind of long-standing insufferable oppression that justifies recourse to revolution. While Western spokespersons maintained that Bosnian Muslims had every reason to fear living in a state (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) dominated by Serbs, they repeatedly assumed that Serbs had no reason to fear living in a state (an independent Bosnia) dominated by Muslims and Croats. "That assumption is fundamentally implausible; it is, nevertheless, the unspoken assumption of the American government's position and of the dominant consensus in the United States regarding the origins of the [bosnian] war."

 

At the time of the Bosnian breakaway, all that remained of Yugoslavia - Montenegro and Serbia - proclaimed a new Federal Republic. Even this severely truncated nation proved too much for Western leaders to tolerate. In 1992, at the urging of the United States and other major powers, the UN Security Council imposed a universally binding blockade on all diplomatic, trade, scientific, cultural, and sports exchanges with Serbia and Montenegro, the most sweeping sanctions ever imposed by that body. The new FRY was suspended from the membership in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and was, in effect, ejected from the United Nations when not allowed to occupy the seat of the former Federal Republic.

 

The sanctions impacted disastrously upon Yugoslavia's already depressed economy, bringing hyperinflation, unemployment up to 70 per cent, malnourishment, and the virtual collapse of the health care system. Raw materials required for the production of medicines were not getting into the country, nor were finished medical products. Medicine was no longer available in local currency. Patients were being asked to buy their own medication on the black market in exchange for hard currency, something most could not afford to do. People began dying from curable diseases.

 

As in Iraq, so in Yugoslavia, international sanctions inflicted severe suffering upon innocents. John and Karl Mueller wrote in Foreign Affairs that economic sanctions may now well be considered the leading weapon of mass destruction, having possibly "contributed to more deaths during the post-Cold War era than all the weapons of mass destruction throughout history." The civilian population does not suffer accidental or collateral damage from sanctions; it is the prime target.

 

To conclude: when their life chances become increasingly less promising, ordinary people jostle for survival, with many turning into ethnic militants - and some even into ethnic killers. Yet nationality differences do not of themselves inexorably lead to armed conflict. Many countries have histories of internal ethnic, religious, or cultural clashes that have not devolved into all-out war and secession. In the case of Yugoslavia, underlying conditions must be taken into account. What outside interests were exercising what power on behalf of whose agenda? "Tensions along ethnical, racial, or historical fault lines," Susan Woodward concludes, "can lead to civil violence, but to explain the Yugoslav crisis as a result of ethnic hatred is to turn the story upside down and begin and its end."

You asked me to respond to this in the Paris attacks thread RP, but I will try to keep it as brief as possible, there is not much point in refuting each of the many untrue assertions above.

 

First of all, hardly any outside agency played a part in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, as I tried to explain in the other thread, it was the consequence of the chain of events instigated by the leadership of Serbia, who wanted to tip the balance in favour of the biggest and the most populous republic. When Slovenia and Croatia declared independence in 1991 and short war broke out between Slovenia and the federal army over the control of Slovenia's borders, the EU pressured S and C into a 3-month moratorium during which the independence was formally suspended, an arms embargo was introduced which only helped the federal army, the EU practically had it arm twisted by Germany in December 1991 to recognize S and C independence in January 1992. The US at the same time showed next to no interest in the situation before April 1992, when Bosnia was recognized and accepted in the UN after the referendum, as this was seen as the best way to prevent the explosion of hostilities (as the international recognition stopped the full-scale war in Croatia previously).

 

The American involvement in Bosnia grew stronger when Clinton administration took over in 1993, their analysis of the situation was that all previous constituting parts of Yugoslavia should be helped to gain independence, or their independence should be protected from Serbia, which aggressively tried to prevent it (it was the only republic which consistently openly supported federal army in its short conflict with Slovenia in 1991, it organized and funded the ethnic Serb rebellion in Croatia, it organized the transformation of the remnants of the federal army in Bosnia into the army of Bosnian Serb and then funded this army, it tried to crush the Kosovo liberation movement, it later supported through propaganda the pro-Serbia forces in Montenegro which campaigned against independence (there was no armed conflict), the only conflict in the process of the break-up of Yugoslavia which didn't have Serbia or ethnic Serbs as an active party was a short lived conflict between elements from ethnic Albanians and Macedonia - not counting Croat vs Bosniak as it was part of a wider conflict).

 

Bosnia was also potentially dangerous because of the spread of Islamism, Islamist volunteers fought on the side of Bosniaks (Bosnia Muslims),

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad who masterminded the 9/11 attacks spent some time in Bosnia etc., this is one of the reasons why Americans were keen Bosnia should survive as a state and not become some kind of European Afghanistan. They pressured warring Croat and Bosnian factions into a peace agreement in 1994, as they realized this was a prerequisite for a military defeat of the Bosnian Serb army, which was seen as the only thing that could bring Serbs to the negotiating table. Again, this analysis was proved correct.  This is why Croatia's troops, which more or less openly fought in Bosnia were tolerated, and Serbia was punished with sanctions. This policy of constantly curbing Serbia's attempts to prevent further disintegration of a moribund political entity continued until 1998 and 1999 when Serbia was bombed over Kosovo.

 

With respect to the economy, it hardly contributed to the break-up and the hostilities, 1990 and 1991 were years of relative prosperity during the reformist federal government of Ante Marković (who famously introduced internal full convertibility of the national currency in early 1990), which didn't stop the disintegration of the country. The armed conflict was mainly the result of the inability of political elites to resolve the situation, by recognizing each other's independence and borders, guaranteeing minority rights etc. 

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Yeah the '94 dates are probably from when CIA involvement was reported more, I get that it started before then. As for which bit I'm interested in, first it was just the Kosovo war. Now it's from when the U.S. and IMF got involved with Yugoslavia more around the early 80's, and how things developed from that point onwards, especially with regard to how socialism faded in that time period as well (I'll probably use this to help with that part.)

 

There's clearly a lot of stuff going on from the early 80's though before reaching the point of the Kosovo war, so that's going to take quite a while to learn about. I'll have to be patient.

 After Tito's death in 1980, Yugoslavia was ruled by a collective 8-member presidency represented by 6 republics and 2 autonomous provinces (Kosovo and Vojvodina, part of Serbia). The provinces were de facto republics, it was done deliberately by the Communist regime to weaken Serbia's position, so it would not be dominant as it was in the first 1918-1941 Yugoslavia.

 

During the rise of Milošević (1987-1989), the Serbian revival movement used mass rallies to topple the leaderships of Vojvodina and Montenegro and installed its puppets in Kosovo, during the state of emergency (I am condensing here). This caused a nationalist anti-Serbian backlash primarily in Croatia, which first led to the rise in popularity of Communist leaders who were seen as opposing Milošević, and than opened the door for the hard-line nationalist conservative party of Franjo Tudjman to come to power in Croatia at first multi-party elections in 1990, with a not so well concealed program of taking Croatia out of Yugoslavia. Similar thing happened in Slovenia, so about a year-long negotiation process began on the federal level on how to reform Yugoslavia, during which Slovenia and Croatia tried to negotiate some kind of lose confederation (hoping of course the negotiations would fail and they could declare independence), whilst Serbia tried to undermine any such deal pushing for a more unitarian state and flexing its muscle, using its recently acquired 4 votes to block all initiatives (condensing). At the same time, they all prepared for an armed conflict, Serbia through incessant propaganda spreading fear among ethnic Serbs and arming them, whilst Slovenia and Croatia used the existing and new structures to create their own armed forces. Both republics declared independence in June 1991, when Slovenia actually caused the war by deploying its police and territorial army on border crossings, to which the federal army reacted forcibly.

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Thanks for the posts SasaS, I'm not going to try and agree or disagree with what you're saying, because it's clear you have a much broader knowledge of what's happened there over the years, and I've only been able to try and focus on Kosovo so far. I'll have to come back at another point after reading up more on the history of the area.

 

Have you studied this subject then in the past or something?

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It is, in Croatia, so my views would reflect that perspective, however, I think I am pretty detached from all of it now, as in, I'm sick of them all . I also read extensively about it during and afterwards, so I'd venture to say I have a decent grasp of the matter and although people always argue from a certain position, I fancy myself as  having a relatively balanced view now.

 

The main dynamic when it comes to Yugoslavia has always been relations between Serbs and Croats, and the central issue is always the position of Serbia. Between 1918-1941 it was a dominant part, which made other constituent parts unhappy with the union, 1945-1991 it was deliberately weakened to make all republics more powerful, which in turn made Serbs unhappy and created space for a populist movement, this opportunity was seized by a little known apparatchik Milošević and this eventually ended the union as a project.

 

The economy on the whole failed as part of the wider process which happened in all socialist countries in the 1980s, you can certainly make an argument it was influenced by the West or make some other anti-capitalist argument, it's a different discussion, but there was no real reason to break up the country from the outside to seize its assets, as everything of value would have been privatized or sold to foreign capital anyway, as it happened in other socialist countries, such as Hungary, for example, which was mostly sold off even before the Berlin wall came down.

 

There is however a relatively recent tendency to promote the outside influence theory, it mostly comes from pro-Serbia authors, and some authors on the left with an axe to grind (it fits the anti NATO, or anti IMF narrative). The best example is a documentary The Weight of Chains, which can be easily found on the Internet, by a Serbian propagandist Boris Malagurski, which purports to be objective but in reality just uses the outside conspiracy theory and anti IMF sentiments to muddle the issue.

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