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A story I read years ago culminated with the protagonist holed up in a cheap hotel in the Balkans, listening unwillingly through the paper-thin wall as the man in the room next door beat his wife. As he pummeled her, she cried again and again, “Balkan! Balkan!” “Balkan,” it seems, may be a term of opprobrium even in the Balkans.
Few episodes in American history have been more Balkan than our late war there. In case the folly of the war in Iraq and the futility of the war in Afghanistan have caused us to forget, the Clinton administration bombed Serbia for almost three months, for reasons no one quite remembers. Somewhere around 5,000 Serbian civilians were killed, and much of an already poor country’s economic infrastructure was wrecked. As usual, the bombing had virtually no effect on military targets.
The Serbs caved when the Russians pulled the rug out from under them and NATO dropped its most extreme demands. NATO could have gotten the same deal with no bombing, had the initial ultimatum to Serbia not been written to make acceptance impossible (Operation Franz Ferdinand?).
The truce, which is the most one can get in Balkan wars, required Serbian forces to evacuate Serbs’ ancestral homeland, Kosovo. That turned Kosovo’s remaining Serbian civilians over to the tender mercies of the Albanians, who promptly ethnically cleansed most of them while NATO forces stood by. Serbia did not renounce its claim to Kosovo; no Serbian government could do that and survive.
Now, it seems, our distinguished secretary of state, Madame Clinton, wishes to revisit the scene of the crime. Perhaps looking about for something more promising than fighting Pashtuns, she is rumored to want another round with the Serbs. The demands, this time, are to be Serbian recognition of Kosovo’s “independence” (Kosovo is not a country and never has been; there are no Kosovars, only Serbs and Albanians who live in Kosovo) and the destruction of Republika Serbska, the Serbian portion of Bosnia. The effects would be to de-legitimize the current moderate Serbian government and drive the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Bosnia out as refugees.
Only people as shallow and self-absorbed as the Clintons could want to mess around in the Balkans. Talk about smoking in the powder magazine. The potential for disaster is always high, and the effects can spread, as the unpleasantness between 1914 and 1918 might remind us.
In fact, the two previous rounds of Balkan fighting and American and NATO meddling have left unstable situations needing only a spark to erupt. Bosnia is a hothouse creation, a figment of the globalist elite’s imagination. Like Oakland, there is no there there. It is a Croat-Muslim “federation” neither party accepts. The Croats want out, and the Muslims want to cut the Croats’ throats. All that keeps the lid on is the money that pours from the foreign troops who occupy the place.
Kosovo remains a festering boil, home to jihadists, drug distribution networks, and other 4GW elements of every sort. Serbia won’t give it up, and the Albanians will not rest until every Serb is gone or dead and every Serbian church or cultural monument is obliterated.
Mrs. Clinton wants to push America’s nose back into this beehive, or so the rumor mill in Washington has it. We must pray that adults somewhere in the Obama administration won’t let the children again set fire to the house so they can roast marshmallows over the embers. A few folks who, unlike the Clintons, know something of Balkan history are sponsoring a conference on Capitol Hill on May 27 to urge we let sleeping dragons lie. Let’s hope that for once someone listens.
WILLIAM S. LIND, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.