Friday, November 30, 2007
If the US respected UN Security Council resolution 1244, which treats Kosovo as a part of Serbia, and the UN Charter, which guarantees sovereignty of internationally recognized states and their borders, a compromise solution for Kosovo could be found, Kostunica said in a statement distributed to Serbian media.
But he warned if Washington compromised the resolution and the UN Charter, peace and stability in the entire Balkan region would be at risk.
“Peace and stability in the Balkans can’t be built by force, legal violations and lawlessness,” Kostunica said.
“The whole responsibility is obviously on America and her choosing between law and stability on one side and lawlessness and long-term instability on the other."
Kostunica was responding to threats from Washington that the US and most European Union countries would recognise Kosovo bypassing the UN Security Council after negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina failed this week.
Kosovo has been under UN control since 1999 when NATO bombing drew Serbian forces out of the province amid reports of gross human rights violations in suppressing ethnic Albanian rebellion.
Belgrade has offered ethnic Albanians broad autonomy, but ethnic Albanians, who outnumber the remaining Serbs in Kosovo by 17 to one, have insisted on independence.
Kosovo president Fatmir Seidiu said on Thursday ethnic Albanians would proclaim independence soon after 10 December, when the UN negotiating troika submits a report to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
“We will make these decisions in co-operation with our friends, the US and EU, immediately after constituting the new institutions, the government and parliament by 10 December,” Seidiu said.
He said the new parliament and government, based on November 17 election results, should be formed in the next ten days. The elections were won by the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK) and its leader Hasim Taci is likely to take over as new prime minister from Agim Ceku.
Taci, a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which started a rebellion against Serbian rule in 1998, has said the proclamation of independence was his first major goal.
Belgrade and its ally Russia oppose independence and advocate continuation of talks until a negotiated solution is found.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Kosovo Albanians refused to give up the dream of independence Wednesday during the final round of talks on the future status of the province. Serbia, however, is refusing to grant anything more than autonomy. German papers fear the consequences for the region and the EU.
Last-ditch efforts to find a solution to the problem of Kosovo failed on Wednesday -- as expected.
Three days of talks involving Serbia, the Kosovo-Albanians and envoys from the European Union, the United States and Russia had failed to produce an agreement for the future status of Kosovo that would be palatable to both sides. Now it looks increasingly likely the Kosovo-Albanians will declare independence from Serbia after the Dec. 10 deadline when the envoys are due to report back to the United Nations.
The only glimmer of hope was that the rival sides pledged to refrain from the use of force. "Both sides have made it clear to us that they are committed to avoiding violence," EU envoy Wolfgang Ischinger said after the talks in the Austrian town of Baden failed to find a way out of the deadlock. "The peace of the region is very much at stake," his US counterpart Frank Wisner said. "We're going to have a very difficult time."
Kosovo leaders have said that they will declare independence unilaterally if they do not gain UN Security Council approval -- something that is highly unlikely given that Russia, Serbia's key ally, intends to block recognition.
The province, whose population is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, has been administered by the UN since the war in 1998-99 when Albanian guerrillas fought Serb security forces. Over 10,000 civilians were killed and 800,000 forced to flee before NATO brought a halt to Serbia's offensive with three months of bombing.
A previous plan for eventual independence put forward by UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari was rejected by Serbia last summer and then blocked by Russia's Security Council veto. The UN then embarked on new diplomatic efforts to end Kosovo's limbo.
During the recent talks, Serbia had offered the province autonomy but the Kosovo-Albanians, encouraged by the United States, were unwilling to compromise and have insisted on nothing short of independence. Serbia is insisting that any unilateral declaration would violate international law and is drawing up plans which may include embargos and blockades. Serbia and Russia claim an independent Kosovo could trigger a domino effect in the region.
German papers are united in accepting that Kosovo will eventually declare independence and warn that this could have serious consequences for the region and for the European Union's foreign policy.
The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes:
"Kosovo ... will declare independence unilaterally, probably in the spring. The politicians in the West will be able to say that they had wanted a different development and did everything conceivable to achieve that -- but things are the way they are. And it will then be time to quickly recognize this reality: the state of Kosovo. For the EU that will be a severe test. Only a short time ago countries with minorities were reluctant to reward the separatism of the Albanians in any way. Now, in the face of the complete lack of prospects for any other option, only Cyprus looks like blocking it."
"The example of the neighboring states would support the quick recognition of Kosovo. When Slovenia and Croatia declared independence a decade and a half ago, the EU had a lot of misgivings. The speedy recognition was criticized by many as a fatal mistake. But from today's perspective, it seemed to stablize both countries, and was exactly the right move."
The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:
"Wolfgang Ischinger failed ... due to the intransigence of the Albanians. They want only one thing: independence ... None of the suggestions the Serbs made during the 120-day negotiations had the slightest chance. Why should the Albanians settle for autonomy when George W. Bush had already promised them their own state?"
"The EU mission in Kosovo has to have a sensible legal basis and the EU must unanimously accept an independence that is no longer avoidable."
"Both need time -- time the Albanians in their independence delirium don't want to take. Europe now has to try to exert a moderating influence on the leaders in Pristina. Because if independence is declared before the spring, it would have massive consequences for Serbian domestic politics. The Serbs are due to elect a new president at the start of next year. There is no doubt that the pro-European President Boris Tadic would lose to his radical opponent if Kosovo is independent by then. That could be fatal -- for Serbia and for the Balkans."
The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
"In a few days the clock will start to tick -- and then a series of events will be set in motion which has something fatalistic about it: The Kosovars will declare independence, America and the majority of EU states will recognize them, Serbia and Russia will furiously denounce the violation of international law (with Moscow playing a double game) and there will be unrest in Bosnia. The only thing that is clear is that the international community will be present in Kosovo for a long time -- and it will also have to have a military presence."
The conservative daily Die Welt writes:"The Albanians have spent eight years in a transitional phase, during which everything has stagnated, the economy has not developed and politics has been paralyzed. One cannot leave 2 million people permanently stranded just because the big powers cannot agree. The human right to pursue happiness, as laid down in the American Declaration of Independence, is also valid for Kosovars."
"The Balkans is going to become a test case for Europe's foreign policy once again. This failed miserably in the 1990s when Yugoslavia tore itself apart in a series of wars. Now the Europeans have to prove that they have learnt from previous mistakes and can act as the peacekeeping power in the Balkans and prevent new conflicts."
-- Siobhán Dowling, 12:45 p.m. CET
French Lt. Gen. Xavier de Marnhac also said the problem of tense relations between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority and Serb minority would eventually reach a "biological end" as the average age of the Serbs was much older.
Ethnic Albanians and Serbs failed in three days of talks in Austria to reach an agreement on Kosovo's final status, mediators said on Wednesday. Leaders of the 90 percent Albanian majority are preparing to declare independence within months.
De Marnhac said his KFOR peacekeeping force was prepared for a rise in tensions but declared: "It's going to be tough and to expect to do that without breaking eggs, forget it. We will definitely break some eggs."
Speaking by videolink from Pristina, he said: "We need, from a military perspective, to have a very clear understanding on what is the international community intent here in Kosovo."
He said this was particularly true for the Serb-dominated north if Serbs and the Serbian government refused to accept the authority of an ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo government.
Western powers are widely expected to accept Kosovo independence under European Union supervision. But Belgrade, backed by Russia, insists Kosovo should remain part of Serbia.
The province, with a population of around 2 million, has been under U.N. administration since NATO bombed Serbia in 1999 to end Serb repression of ethnic Albanians.
At the briefing organized by the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington, de Marnhac said the Serbian government had exerted increasing influence in the administration of Serb areas of Kosovo.
He said it appeared Belgrade was considering "some kind of separate ruling of these areas."
De Marnhac also said he was worried there could be a gap in the capabilities of Kosovo's international police force while it made the transition from a U.N. to an EU mission.
"Any gap that might happen in the changing of the international police presence here in Kosovo is a major concern for me," he said.
Albanian riots erupted in Kosovo in March 2004, killing 19 people and catching NATO flat-footed.
Asked if he had requested more troops for his 16,000-strong force, de Marnhac said he could call on reserve forces outside Kosovo but had not done so yet. One such battalion was conducting mission rehearsals in Kosovo now, he said.
In his briefing, de Marnhac also noted the average age of Kosovo's Albanians was 28, while the figure for Serbs was 54.
"In the mid to long term there will be some kind of biological end to the problem here because, you know, one of the population(s) will simply disappear," he said. (Editing by David Wiessler)
SerbBlog: And no one has the guts to call this what it is -- genocide!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
State Department Pushes Throttle Despite Clear Warnings
Renewed Violence Likely – But, Hey, Let’s Do It Anyway!
Editorial Comment from the American Council for Kosovo – You would think that anyone generally regarded as a skilled American diplomat, looking ahead to a looming confrontation among the major world powers, would be interested in finding a way to avert it. You would think that with U.S. forces stretched thin in so many places, notably in Iraq and Afghanistan, such an American diplomat would not seek to trigger violence in a region that, if not entirely quiet, at least has not been sufficiently unstable as to require the deployment of additional American forces. You would think that with America engaged in a global struggle with jihad terrorism, any competent diplomat would want to make extra sure the U.S. took no action that would strengthen terrorist and organized crime elements.
If that was what you thought, then meet former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke.
Writing in the Washington Post, Ambassador Holbrooke as much as says that an Albanian Muslim unilateral declaration of independence will lead to renewed violence in the Balkans – not just in Kosovo but possibly spilling over into Bosnia. (Anyone remember Bosnia?) Yet, applauding such a declaration as “long overdue,” his answer is to “beef up” the American and NATO presence in advance of the violence his recommended course would in fact trigger.
Perhaps even worse, Ambassador Holbrooke himself describes as a “train wreck” the inevitable confrontation U.S. recognition of an illegal and forcible attempt to separate the province from Serbia would provoke with Russia. (In a strange inversion of the truth, Ambassador Holbrooke blames Russia for the collision that would occur – because Moscow refuses to go along with an action that violates every accepted principle of the international system – not his friends at the State Department for insisting on it.) Meanwhile, Serbia’s reaction to any illegal and forcible attempt to grab any of its territory should not lightly be dismissed. “No one should have any doubt that we will annul any unilateral act, and treat unilateral independence as a null, void and non-binding phenomenon,” said Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, after once again offering a deaf Albanian delegation the widest autonomy enjoyed by any ethnic or religious minority anywhere in the world; but, he said, “Serbia will not let an inch of its territory be taken away.”
It remains to be seen if the Bush Administration will proceed with eyes wide shut down the path Ambassador Holbrooke has marked. (And one can’t help asking: What’s he doing calling the shots for the Bush Administration, anyway?) But if they do, they can’t say they weren’t warned.
James George Jatras
Director, American Council for Kosovo
Other news worthy of note:
1. In November 21, 2007 Wall Street Journal letter-to-the-editor, “Mr. Ceku’s Disorderly House,” James George Jatras wrote: For the sake of brevity, let us focus on just one [assertion]: Mr. Ceku's suggestion that Kosovo, under his U.N.-supervised administration, has "put our structures in place and our house in order." This month's report by the European Commission tells a very different story: "Due to a lack of clear political will to fight corruption, and to insufficient legislative and implementing measures, corruption is still widespread," the report said. "Civil servants are still vulnerable to political interference, corrupt practices and nepotism" and "Kosovo's public administration remains weak and inefficient," the report added. Furthermore, "the composition of the government anti-corruption council does not sufficiently guarantee its impartiality," and "little progress can be reported in the area of organized crime and combating of trafficking in human beings." War crime trials are being "hampered by the unwillingness of the local population to testify" and "there is still no specific legislation on witness protection in place," according to the report. "Civil society organizations remain weak" and "awareness of women's rights in society is low." If this is the "house" Mr. Ceku claims "is in order" in advance of what he hopes will be conferral of independence, one shudders to think what disorder would look like. To be sure, Mr. Ceku makes use of the usual dodge that Kosovo's progress is limited by the absence of "clarity on our future status," namely independence. But Taiwan, by contrast, has gone without such clarity for over half a century and is nothing like the disaster over which Mr. Ceku presides. Instead of falling for his fairy tales about Kosovo's fitness for sovereignty the international community needs to open its eyes to the reality of this corrupt, criminal, and nonviable entity. Granting independence to Kosovo, which would mean handing de jure power to those responsible for this state of affairs, can only turn a disaster into a catastrophe.
2. In a November 20, 2007 WorldNetDaily column, “Kosovo and Israel,” Joseph Farah wrote: Let's face it: Americans don't care about Kosovo. So I want to talk about Kosovo today in a way that may help you care. If for no other reason, you should care because your government is about to shape the destiny of this province in Serbia in a way that is, well, immoral, illegal and counterproductive, to say the least. For starters, Kosovo is, and always has been, a part of Serbia. Its population is mostly Muslim and ethnically Albanian, in part due to a campaign of anti-Christian persecution that continues even under the watchful eye of the United Nations and NATO since 1999. Apparently George Bush and Condoleezza Rice believe America can win goodwill with radical Muslims around the world by creating a new state for them in Europe by ripping a province away from the predominantly Christian country of Serbia. Think about this: Globalists like Bush and Rice are at once promoting mergers and integration of sovereign nations into ever larger superstates and, at the same time, breaking apart tiny states like Serbia and Israel into even smaller pieces based on religious identity and ethnic issues. Why, on the one hand, does George Bush see no problem in welcoming tens of millions of Spanish-speaking Mexicans into the U.S. without regard to our laws but insists Arabs who recently moved into land controlled by Jewish Israel should have their own independent state? Is this consistent? Will Bush turn around at some time in the future and apply the same self-determination rules to his own country, creating an independent Spanish-speaking state? Supporters of Israel should be especially concerned about what is taking place in Kosovo. This is proving ground for the New World Order. Do you think the U.S. and the Western world should have the power to break apart sovereign nations that pose no threat whatsoever, carving them up and creating new states out of existing ones? I don't think so.
3. In a November 20, 2007 Boston Globe editorial, “First Kosovo, and then what?,” the editorial page opined: While 20 of the EU's 27 members favor independence for Kosovo, nearly all dread a unilateral declaration. That prospect conjures up memories of Europe's careless acceptance of declarations of independence from Yugoslavia by Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia in the early 1990s. Those acts ushered in horrific wars and crimes against humanity. A unilateral lunge for independence by Kosovo could spur Serbs in Bosnia and Herzogovina - half that country's population - to follow suit. And Kremlin warnings against the imposition of any Kosovo formula not acceptable to Serbia raises the specter of Russian backing for independence movements in Georgia, Moldova, and even Ukraine. This would be a prescription for armed conflict around the periphery of Europe. Some European diplomats also worry about the United Nations carving new countries out of older countries' provinces. They recognize that separatist reflexes persist in regions such as Catalonia and the Basque country. Even the Flemish and Walloon populations of tiny Belgium may want a nationalist divorce. The Kosovo majority's impatience for independence is understandable, particularly since it has been subjected to a corrupt and inefficient UN tutelage. But the European, American, and Russian mediators should keep Serbia and the Kosovars at the negotiating table as long as it takes to hammer out a resolution to which both sides agree. This may mean incorporating the Serbian-populated area of Kosovo into Serbia proper, along with Serbian monasteries and holy sites. It may entail minor population transfers. But whatever the eventual solution, it should be accepted by the two peoples and not imposed by outsiders.
4. In a November 21, 2007 Washington Times Forum, “Jihad can’t break our cold war addiction,” Julia Gorin wrote: Despite al Qaeda and Iran considering it their greatest recent victory, the Balkans remain the most aggressively ignored region in the context of the war on terror — by media, by the blogosphere that is supposed to police the media, and by our politicians — busily feeding off the spoils of our suicidal machinations there. It is popularly thought that this forgotten and convoluted region is insignificant. Most people hardly remember the word “Kosovo” and even members of the conservative (and liberal) intelligentsia furrow their brows when someone is odd enough to bring it up. And yet “insignificant” Kosovo has so far managed to restart the Cold War; to lay the foundation for Europe's next Muslim state; to foist a terrorist neighbor onto Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia; to break international law; to set a precedent for secessionist movements the world over; to reverse the American imperative in the War on Terror and the War on Drugs; and to expand al Qaeda's long-sought European base. In short, it has managed to turn America into a traitor to itself and the Free World it once led. Had the Right grasped the horror of what Bill Clinton's Balkan wars have achieved, and exposed the mainstream media lies that led to them, the Bush policy could have charted a different course there, one consistent with post-September 11, 2001, thinking, and conservatives would be setting the terms of debate today rather than constantly defending their war in Iraq.
5. In a November 23, 2007 EUobserver comment, “A Baltic Solution to a Balkan Problem,” Peter Sain ley Berry wrote: We are not often given the privilege of seeing into the future. Certainly, if we expect something to turn nasty, we rarely know when that nastiness will begin. Yet we have on the European continent at the present time just such a time bomb with the days and minutes until it goes off quietly ticking away. I wonder that they don't erect a large digital display on the Berlaymont in Brussels; it might help to concentrate minds. I refer, of course, to Kosovo and the deadline of Monday 10 December by which date a determination of that province's final status has to be determined. At the time of writing, we are a mere 18 days away. Legally the province is a part of Serbia but has been under United Nations administration since NATO led troops drove out the Yugoslav army almost a decade ago. The population is overwhelmingly Albanian and in last Sunday's general election, boycotted by the few remaining Kosovo Serbs, the largest number of seats were taken by a party pledged to declare independence unilaterally after 10 December, if an agreed solution has not been found beforehand. Such a unilateral declaration has always been seen as potentially damaging to orderly relations and poses a special problem for the European Union whose members would be split over whether to recognise the new entity in the absence of a UN resolution. It would also split the USA and Russia whose sympathies lie respectively with the Kosovans and the Serbs; Russia wielding a UN veto over any independence proposal, not approved by its Serbian ally.
1. Mr. Ceku’s Disorderly House
By James George Jatras
The Wall Street Journal – November 21, 2007
The recent column by Agim Ceku ("Kosovo Wants Independence," Nov. 15) presents the critic with what military planners would call a target-rich environment. Virtually every assertion about Kosovo's prospects as an independent state screams out for rebuttal.
For the sake of brevity, let us focus on just one: Mr. Ceku's suggestion that Kosovo, under his U.N.-supervised administration, has "put our structures in place and our house in order." This month's report by the European Commission tells a very different story:
"Due to a lack of clear political will to fight corruption, and to insufficient legislative and implementing measures, corruption is still widespread," the report said. "Civil servants are still vulnerable to political interference, corrupt practices and nepotism" and "Kosovo's public administration remains weak and inefficient," the report added.
Furthermore, "the composition of the government anti-corruption council does not sufficiently guarantee its impartiality," and "little progress can be reported in the area of organized crime and combating of trafficking in human beings."
War crime trials are being "hampered by the unwillingness of the local population to testify" and "there is still no specific legislation on witness protection in place," according to the report. "Civil society organizations remain weak" and "awareness of women's rights in society is low."
If this is the "house" Mr. Ceku claims "is in order" in advance of what he hopes will be conferral of independence, one shudders to think what disorder would look like. To be sure, Mr. Ceku makes use of the usual dodge that Kosovo's progress is limited by the absence of "clarity on our future status," namely independence. But Taiwan, by contrast, has gone without such clarity for over half a century and is nothing like the disaster over which Mr. Ceku presides.
Instead of falling for his fairy tales about Kosovo's fitness for sovereignty the international community needs to open its eyes to the reality of this corrupt, criminal, and nonviable entity. Granting independence to Kosovo, which would mean handing de jure power to those responsible for this state of affairs, can only turn a disaster into a catastrophe.
James George Jatras
American Council for Kosovo
2. Kosovo and Israel
By Joseph Farah
World Net Daily – November 20, 2007
Let's face it: Americans don't care about Kosovo.
So I want to talk about Kosovo today in a way that may help you care.
If for no other reason, you should care because your government is about to shape the destiny of this province in Serbia in a way that is, well, immoral, illegal and counterproductive, to say the least.
For starters, Kosovo is, and always has been, a part of Serbia. Its population is mostly Muslim and ethnically Albanian, in part due to a campaign of anti-Christian persecution that continues even under the watchful eye of the United Nations and NATO since 1999.
Apparently George Bush and Condoleezza Rice believe America can win goodwill with radical Muslims around the world by creating a new state for them in Europe by ripping a province away from the predominantly Christian country of Serbia.
Think about this: Globalists like Bush and Rice are at once promoting mergers and integration of sovereign nations into ever larger superstates and, at the same time, breaking apart tiny states like Serbia and Israel into even smaller pieces based on religious identity and ethnic issues.
Why, on the one hand, does George Bush see no problem in welcoming tens of millions of Spanish-speaking Mexicans into the U.S. without regard to our laws but insists Arabs who recently moved into land controlled by Jewish Israel should have their own independent state?
Is this consistent?
Will Bush turn around at some time in the future and apply the same self-determination rules to his own country, creating an independent Spanish-speaking state?
Supporters of Israel should be especially concerned about what is taking place in Kosovo. This is proving ground for the New World Order. Do you think the U.S. and the Western world should have the power to break apart sovereign nations that pose no threat whatsoever, carving them up and creating new states out of existing ones?
I don't think so.
It's a power grab. And it is wrong. Where does this stop? If the New World Order crowd gets away with it in Kosovo, as soon as next month, will Israel even need to agree to future land grabs by world powers? Serbia doesn't agree.
I want to go on record right now: I object to my government's participation in this fraud, this meddling, this unlawful intrusion into the affairs of a sovereign nation posing no threat to its neighbors.
By the way, this is going to be done over the strong objection of Russia – a long-time, historic ally of Serbia.
I thought Bush was interested in improving relations with his buddy, Vladimir Putin. Why is he sticking his finger in his eye over a piece of real estate that means nothing to the interests of the United States? Why is he siding with radical Islamists against pro-Western Christians in the Balkans?
Let me explain, again, in case the Bush administration has missed my many previous explanations of why this policy will come back to haunt the U.S.
The Islamist world Bush seeks to mollify and appease with this strategy will not recognize this effort as an act of goodwill. It will see it as a retreat by the West. It will see it as a victory for its cause and its tactics – namely terrorism. That's how jihadists see concessions of any kind. Once they have Kosovo, their demands for more territory will increase.
Already, even under NATO-U.N. control, Kosovo resembles a jihadist state. The Saudis are building fabulous new mosques. Ancient churches are being torn down. Armed militias roam the countryside intimidating the minority population of Christians.
If anyone should be able to recognize the danger of U.S. meddling in Kosovo, it is supporters of Israel. What's happening in Europe is a warning shot of what is to come in the Middle East.
I know it's off your radar screen. I know you feel like you have more important things to worry about. I know the fix is in. But it's time for Americans to stand up and scream about what their government has been doing, is doing and is about to do in Serbia with Kosovo.
Time is running out.
3. First Kosovo, and then what?
Boston Globe – November 20, 2007
EUROPE STILL has a Balkans problem. This is the message to take away from the victory of former guerrilla leader Hashim Thaci's party in Saturday's parliamentary elections in Kosovo - balloting that was boycotted by the 10 percent of Kosovo's population who are Serbs.
The UN-supervised region is officially part of Serbia. But ever since NATO went to war in 1999 to force Slobodan Milosevic to end his ethnic cleansing of Albanian villages in Kosovo, the region's Albanian majority have set their sights on separation from Serbia. Recently, American, Russian, and European mediators have been trying to craft a formula for autonomy or phased independence that would be acceptable both to Serbia and the Albanian Kosovar government.
The mediators are due to report to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by that date, and Thaci has threatened to declare independence unilaterally if they do not recommend independence for Kosovo. But any such unilateral action could set off instability across the Balkans and beyond.
While 20 of the EU's 27 members favor independence for Kosovo, nearly all dread a unilateral declaration. That prospect conjures up memories of Europe's careless acceptance of declarations of independence from Yugoslavia by Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia in the early 1990s. Those acts ushered in horrific wars and crimes against humanity.
A unilateral lunge for independence by Kosovo could spur Serbs in Bosnia and Herzogovina - half that country's population - to follow suit. And Kremlin warnings against the imposition of any Kosovo formula not acceptable to Serbia raises the specter of Russian backing for independence movements in Georgia, Moldova, and even Ukraine. This would be a prescription for armed conflict around the periphery of Europe.
Some European diplomats also worry about the United Nations carving new countries out of older countries' provinces. They recognize that separatist reflexes persist in regions such as Catalonia and the Basque country. Even the Flemish and Walloon populations of tiny Belgium may want a nationalist divorce.
The Kosovo majority's impatience for independence is understandable, particularly since it has been subjected to a corrupt and inefficient UN tutelage. But the European, American, and Russian mediators should keep Serbia and the Kosovars at the negotiating table as long as it takes to hammer out a resolution to which both sides agree.
This may mean incorporating the Serbian-populated area of Kosovo into Serbia proper, along with Serbian monasteries and holy sites. It may entail minor population transfers. But whatever the eventual solution, it should be accepted by the two peoples and not imposed by outsiders.
4. FORUM: Jihad can't break our Cold War addiction
By Julia Gorin
Washington Times Forum – November 21, 2007
It appears to many American observers that Moscow has been gravitating toward Cold War behavior without any rationale. This would certainly be puzzling behavior, given that, as some astute observers have pointed out, this is a Russia that recalled the Red Army from everywhere outside Russian borders, a Russia that allowed its satellite states to be thrown out of power, a Russia that recently embraced freedom and capitalism and let us show them how to do it
But soon after, the U.S. did something to sabotage, and ultimately reverse, this progress, making Russia legitimately wary of U.S. “interests” and leading it — and other nations — to conclude America is capable of being as mischievous as Russia. We bombed Europe. Specifically Serbia, for the crime of launching a counteroffensive against a terrorist insurgency in Kosovo whose aim was to snatch 15 percent of the country's land. And now the United States supports severing Kosovo from Serbia via a precedent-setting unilateral declaration of independence next month by the province's terrorist masters — over Moscow's logical objections. One of those terrorist masters, Agim Ceku — the province's “prime minister” — made the terrorist case in last week's Wall Street Journal.
To this day, almost no one grasps the significance of the damage the 1999 intervention single-handedly did to American standing and American credibility, when the United States turned NATO into an aggressive body, attacking a sovereign nation fighting none other than Islamic-financed separatists within its borders.
The current puzzlement at Russia's behavior harkens to a job interview I had the following year for a PR-writing position for a group called the Conference of Presidents of Major American-Jewish Organizations. Interviewing me was the executive vice president, a man named Malcolm Hoenlein. After discovering I was from Russia — and even recognizing my family name from the Refusenik lists he and other Jewish activists in the 1970s kept for clandestine visitations behind the Iron Curtain — he told me of a recent trip the and some other giants of organized Jewry took to Moscow. They were on a mission to impress upon the Russian government U.S. concerns about the selling off of Russia's military weaponry to the highest bidder.
Mr. Hoenlein said he and his colleagues were blindsided by the chilly and condescending reception they got from Moscow. “They laughed at us,” he told me. “They said, 'Why should we do what you Americans tell us?' The way we were treated — it was as if it was 20 years ago.”
I thought for a moment, then asked whether he thought it could have something to do with our recent actions in Yugoslavia (which, incidentally, were carried out while telling the Russians to take it easy on their own rebels, the Chechens). Mr. Hoenlein looked at me as if I had two heads: “What does that have to do with anything?” he snapped indignantly. But at that moment the phone rang, and afterward the subject was dropped.
Despite al Qaeda and Iran considering it their greatest recent victory, the Balkans remain the most aggressively ignored region in the context of the war on terror — by media, by the blogosphere that is supposed to police the media, and by our politicians — busily feeding off the spoils of our suicidal machinations there.
It is popularly thought that this forgotten and convoluted region is insignificant. Most people hardly remember the word “Kosovo” and even members of the conservative (and liberal) intelligentsia furrow their brows when someone is odd enough to bring it up.
And yet “insignificant” Kosovo has so far managed to restart the Cold War; to lay the foundation for Europe's next Muslim state; to foist a terrorist neighbor onto Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia; to break international law; to set a precedent for secessionist movements the world over; to reverse the American imperative in the War on Terror and the War on Drugs; and to expand al Qaeda's long-sought European base.
In short, it has managed to turn America into a traitor to itself and the Free World it once led.
Had the Right grasped the horror of what Bill Clinton's Balkan wars have achieved, and exposed the mainstream media lies that led to them, the Bush policy could have charted a different course there, one consistent with post-September 11, 2001, thinking, and conservatives would be setting the terms of debate today rather than constantly defending their war in Iraq.
Had even one A-list blog bothered to investigate and shine a light on that debacle — which will yet prove itself to be the nexus of the free world's demise — there never would have been even any talk of a Clinton candidacy for 2008.
5. [Comment] A Baltic solution to a Balkan problem
By Peter Sain ley Berry
EUobserver – November 23, 2007
EUOBSERVER / COMMENT - We are not often given the privilege of seeing into the future. Certainly, if we expect something to turn nasty, we rarely know when that nastiness will begin. Yet we have on the European continent at the present time just such a time bomb with the days and minutes until it goes off quietly ticking away. I wonder that they don't erect a large digital display on the Berlaymont in Brussels; it might help to concentrate minds.
I refer, of course, to Kosovo and the deadline of Monday 10 December by which date a determination of that province's final status has to be determined. At the time of writing, we are a mere 18 days away.
Legally the province is a part of Serbia but has been under United Nations administration since NATO led troops drove out the Yugoslav army almost a decade ago. The population is overwhelmingly Albanian and in last Sunday's general election, boycotted by the few remaining Kosovo Serbs, the largest number of seats were taken by a party pledged to declare independence unilaterally after 10 December, if an agreed solution has not been found beforehand.
Such a unilateral declaration has always been seen as potentially damaging to orderly relations and poses a special problem for the European Union whose members would be split over whether to recognise the new entity in the absence of a UN resolution.
It would also split the USA and Russia whose sympathies lie respectively with the Kosovans and the Serbs; Russia wielding a UN veto over any independence proposal, not approved by its Serbian ally.
So much is known and indeed has been discussed many times as talks over UN envoy Marti Ahtisaari's plans for the province to have supervised independence have ground on.
Now a spectacle far more hideous than a mere diplomatic split threatens to raise its ugly head. It is no exaggeration to say that the spectre of war is again hanging over the Balkans.
The fear is that a unilateral declaration of independence could prompt a new invasion of Kosovo by Serbia with the immediate objective of securing those Serb communities in Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok,and Leposavic on the Kosovo side of the border and leading to a de facto partitioning of the province.
This would be resisted of course, both by the UN's NATO led peacekeeping forces - KFOR - and certainly by the Kosovans. In recent days the UN administration has dispatched KFOR forces to the Kosovo-Serb border, effectually closing it off to possible incursions.
Inexorably we could be dragged into conflict again. And not just in Kosovo. For even a minor skirmish would threaten to destabilise the fragile status quo among the Serb communities in neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina, at least some of whom are still attached to the idea of a greater Serbia and not entirely comfortable in their Bosnian republic.
It would not take much for them to come to the aid of the Kosovo Serbs and perhaps to try a little border alteration of their own between Bosnia and Serbia. Even Macedonia is still not completely stable with recent clashes between police and armed Albanians. By Christmas a swathe of the Balkans could be alight.
That we can even be contemplating such a scenario in the heart of the European continent in the first decade of the twenty-first century and among nations whose future membership of the great European partnership is all but assured, is remarkable to say the least. That we can be contemplating such a scenario without the most strenuous efforts being made to avert the crisis in the capitals of the Union is almost unbelievable.
Far from being at the heart of the European continent, enveloped by the Union itself on three sides and by the sea on the fourth, the Balkans is too often treated as some distant and far away region of which we know little and care less. A problem for the UN, perhaps, or NATO, and one to which we contribute certainly, but not as a major EU problem for which we take the prime responsibility in finding a solution.
Well, that needs to change quickly if we are not to have another red stain on our proud European map.
Of course solutions are being advanced - various kinds of independence along the ‘now you see it now you don't' lines are proposed for Kosovo. The latest is to suggest that the province takes on a similar status to the Baltic Aland Islands, which belong to Finland but are, for all practical purposes, independent, neutral, and demilitarised. Their people speak Swedish to which country they are geographically and socially proximate.
Such solutions might have worked had not the Kosovans been encouraged first by the Ahtisaari plan and then by the United States and certain EU members who let it be known that independence was their preferred solution. Their strong indications to the effect that they would recognise an independent Kosovo, regardless of any UN resolution, have of course led the Kosovans to believe they have nothing to lose by taking a hard line.
Moreover, with a new electoral mandate (albeit on a low turnout of 43 per cent) behind him, Mr Hashim Thaci, the former Kosovo guerilla leader, is unlikely to back down now. Meanwhile the clock ticks away the minutes to potential disaster.
It is difficult to see what can be done, but a start might be for the EU and the USA to declare - as Russia does - that they would not recognise an illegal independence, unilaterally declared by the Kosovans, without a UN resolution. That at least would be a signal that the international community had re-adopted the principle of international law as a means of settling inter-state disputes.
This would send a clear signal to the Kosovans that although they might declare independence, no advantage, indeed considerable disadvantage, would result from such a declaration.
If the Kosovans could be made to understand this, just possibly they could be persuaded to join a Baltic cruise to the Aland Islands and to study ways in which they could enjoy the benefits of self-government without having their own seat at the UN. And just possibly we could continue to be able to say that the last conflict on mainland Europe took place in the 20th century.
The author is editor of EuropaWorld
by Srdja Trifkovic
(Excerpt) Three of the five men charged with plotting an attack on Fort Dix last spring have asked a judge to move them from a secluded part of their prison as they await trial, a youthful-sounding female NPR reporter told us on Monday night. She added that, in legal filings over the past week, the men complained that in the Special Housing Unit of the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia they are not being given “adequate access” to the government’s evidence in their case. From her two-minute “featurette” and a few dozen similarly worded agency reports in the “Mainstream Media” you’d never guess that those “men” were Albanian Muslims from Kosovo and Macedonia illegally residing in the U.S., or that they were plotting to murder as many American servicemen as they could get into the sights of their automatic weapons.
Welcome to post-modern, self-hating and terrorist-abating American journalism: Your favorite Gannett daily paper/TV news channel/Web site will tell you that “the men, all foreign-born and in their 20s, were charged in May with planning a raid on Fort Dix. They face life in prison if they’re convicted of conspiring to murder military personnel.” It’s a bit—no, it’s totally—like saying that “19 foreign-born men in their 20s died carrying out 9-11 attacks.”.....Chronicles
BELGRADE (Reuters) - More than half of some 200,000 Serb, Roma and other minorities who left Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province in the last eight years would like to return, but are afraid or have nowhere to go, a poll showed on Monday.
The poll on the living standards of those "internally displaced persons" showed they were poorer, less healthy and socially isolated compared to their Serb neighbors in the cities and towns where they settled.
"Those over 30 years of age and the rural population are more prone to want to return", said the survey, carried out by Serb authorities with support from international agencies.
"Their main reason for not doing so by now is the fear of violence, and their distrust of Kosovo institutions".
Half of the respondents would like to return to Kosovo despite the difficulties. Although more than 60 percent of them owned property in Kosovo, many houses had meanwhile been taken over by Albanians, making return even harder, the survey added.
Kosovo has been under U.N. rule since 1999, when NATO bombed Serbia to stop its brutal crackdown on separatist rebels.
A final round of talks on the future status of Kosovo began in Austria on Monday, with little hope of compromise. The Albanian majority demands independence, Serbia offers autonomy.
Some analysts have warned that if Kosovo's Albanian leaders proclaim independence and are recognized by the West, many of the province's 100,000 remaining Serbs -- a five percent minority -- will pack up and leave for Serbia proper.
Serbia already has one of the largest refugee populations in Europe, mostly ethnic Serbs who fled during wars in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s.
(Reporting by Ksenija Prodanovic; Editing by Ellie Tzortzi)
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday November 21, 2007
This one we can see coming. On December 10 the second round of so far abortive talks on Kosovan independence will expire, bringing to a crisis the unfinished last chapter of the west's 1990s "Balkanisation of the Balkans". In Brussels this week European ministers will make a final effort to forestall the decision of the newly elected Kosovan government to declare unilateral independence of Serbia. Since Serbia is equally determined not to grant it, irresistible force has met immovable object.
This is not a clash of tinpot dictators but one of democratic outcomes. Kosovo's independence is the clear wish of its electors, just as it is not the wish of Serbia's. The latter have long regarded Kosovo as part of their emotional and historic integrity. The auguries presage a return to conflict.
The instinct of British politicians and media is to declare that something must be done. It is usually then to do nothing and then something messy, and finally to say that something should have been done earlier as it would not have been so messy. This is what happened successively in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. In each case militant separatists were encouraged, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, to seek independence from whatever regime ruled in Belgrade, which they duly obtained with considerable shedding of blood.
Faced not just with the break up of Tito's wider Yugoslavia but with the defection of the core provinces of Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo, Serbs under Milosevic tried to hold them by force. They treated the Kosovans so cruelly that the outside world was moved to intervene. While most countries, including America, tut-tutted and for three months dropped bombs, probably hastening the carnage in Kosovo, Tony Blair rightly divined that only a ground invasion could reverse a humanitarian outrage. In this he was successful.
But what did he expect to happen next? As in Afghanistan and Iraq, Britain is, like the US, inclined to shoot first and plan afterwards. In Kosovo the outcome was to reward "terrorist" separatists with a country of their own, albeit smaller than Wales. Men who, were they Serbs, would be hauled before a war crimes tribunal are now hailed in the west as heroes.
For eight years Kosovo has enjoyed de facto autonomy under the protection of 17,000 Nato troops. These have allowed the regime to "reverse-cleanse" the province of half its Serbs, including virtually all the 40,000 who once lived in the capital, Pristina. There are barely 200,000 left, just 10% of the population. Although the new prime minister, the former guerrilla Hashim Thaci, declares that "Kosovo is ready for independence", he cannot mean it. Kosovo is a Nato protectorate under UN administration, with more aid per head than any state in Asia or Africa. What Thaci wants is not independence but the luxuriant post-intervention dependency enjoyed by Bosnia, Sierra Leone and the embattled regimes in Baghdad and Kabul.
To this the Serbs remain implacably opposed. Even moderate opponents of Milosevic's reign regard the enforced dismemberment of their nation as excessive punishment for the barbarities committed by the Serb army in 1998. Nor will they let it rest. Like the Basque country for Spain and the Falklands for Argentina, Kosovo will always be a cause celebre for Serbia.
Independence for Kosovo clearly accords with current realpolitik, but realpolitik is seldom the end of the matter in the Balkans. Russia says it would veto Kosovo's acceptance into the UN, and to that extent Kosovo would be an illegitimate state.
Nor is Russia's attitude purely due to Slav solidarity. Moscow is understandably averse to western troops coming to the aid of separatist movements wherever there is insurrection or cries of genocide, least of all within bombing distance of the Caucasus. Russia is supported in this view by Spain, Greece and Cyprus, each with separatist problems. And what does Britain, so keen on Balkan partition, say to the Pashtuns or the Kurds when they demand independence?
These are not diplomatic niceties. Already guerrillas of the shadowy Albanian National Army are reportedly roaming the Serbia/Kosovo border, partly financed by a massive heroin trade. Already Serbian militias are arming against them, preparing to defend their compatriots under siege inside Kosovo.
At best, resumed hostilities would mean further savage ethnic cleansing and a repartition of Kosovo. At worst, it would mean a long-running border war, with western troops sucked into defending Kosovan irregulars and Russia into defending Serbia's sovereignty. It is hard to imagine a worse outcome to Britain's glorious "mission accomplished".
Any visitor to the Balkans soon learns that what in Westminster seems a landscape of black and white, goodies and baddies, is in truth all grey. Britain has been party to the military partition of a sovereign European state at the instigation of its separatists, albeit with justice and local majority opinion on their side. Such self-determinations are never straightforward, as the English know in their dealings with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The prospect of war has commentators screaming that "something must be done". I have not read one sensible answer to the question: what? Had Nato negotiated some sort of delegated sovereignty for Kosovo with the post-Milosevic government in Belgrade, Pristina hardliners might have been faced down and Serbia's notional integrity preserved.
That day has passed. It is easy to "hope" that Thaci and the Serbian prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, might see the virtue of compromise and agree to go their separate ways under some sort of UN "sovereignty umbrella" (once proposed for the Falklands). But with Russia behind the Serbs, and Europe and America behind the Kosovans, why should leaders in either Belgrade or Pristina risk the wrath of their electorates by compromising? Once steeped in such dependency, no one feels any pressure to back down.
Kosovo is a western protectorate. There is no pressing need for de facto autonomy to become de jure independence. Pristina has as much autonomy as it can use and should be ordered to tone down its senseless confrontation and leave Serbia a shred of pride - on pain of a genuine independence it would certainly not like. In any resumed war, Kosovo would not be a winner.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Below is an article and interview that I did with Milo which was published in the American Srbobran early last year:
Murrow, McCarthy and
An Interview With
By Melana V. Pejakovich
I had known Milo Radulovich for nearly fifteen years before we finally sat down for this interview on February 23,2006 at Milo’s home in Lodi, CA -- but I must confess that for thirteen of those fifteen years that I hadn’t a clue about “The Case of Lt. Milo Radulovich A0589839” or its place in changing the course of American history. Instead, for all those years, Milo Radulovich”was – at least to me -- just “good old Milo”; “the smiling guy I went to Liturgy with in Jackson”; “the guy with the grandson he adored”; “the guy who worked hard for the Jackson church”; someone fun and interesting to talk to, but who always seemed more interested in talking to you about your history than he did in talking about his own.
In fact, the way I actually discovered “the case” (as Milo refers to it) was only because Milo came to me at a Sabor two years ago, curious as to whether my husband was related to a “John Pejakovich” who Milo had been in the Army with. As it turned out, John Pejakovich – FBI Agent and later second-in-command at the
In fact, it was an article in the
As a result of that episode, called “The Case Against Lt. Milo Radulovich A0589839”, McCarthy took Murrow’s bait and within six months, the fall of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his anti-communist witch-hunts in
The film “Goodnight and Good Luck” (now on video) and two books (“To Strike at a King” by Michael Ranville and the companion book to the GNGL film) have been produced about
And yes, the man being talked about on my computer screen that day was the “
A few days before our interview,
I guess that I am lucky that
MP: Have you always gotten this kind of “personal attention” in town or has it been mainly since the film?Milo: (Laughing) Since the film, mainly. Well, the book (“To Strike at a King”, published in ‘97) kind of started it but the film really changed things. Before that, I’d get a phone call once or twice a year from some newspaper or a student doing some kind of “Whatever happened to…”. Otherwise people rarely knew about “the case”.
MP:: Yes, I can imagine that “Goodnight and Good Luck” has been a real “whirlwind” for you. Has it been fun?
Milo: I was lucky in that the whole "production team" were really nice people to work with, and they were very kind to me.
I guess that it truly amazed me that, as they were filming, they wanted to know what I had to say about the look and feel of what they were doing. When I saw David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow, I told him that as far as I was concerned, it really was as though Edward R. Murrow had been “resurrected” in another body – it was actually a little eerie. You know, David Strathairn isn’t even American – he’s Welsh – and to get Ed Murrow’s voice so perfectly was a stunning feat.
MP: OK. I have to ask – what was it like to work with George Clooney?
Milo: I have to be honest – when George Clooney first called me, I had no idea who “George Clooney” was. I am not a television-watcher and I never saw ER, so at first, I thought that this was just going to be “some little unnoticed film” – especially when I heard the words “very low budget”, “93 minutes”, “limited release”, all of which it was. But I had no idea the kind of attention that this film was going to get. “Oscar contender” never entered my mind at the time.
But, George Clooney, personally was very kind. I remember when my daughter and I were flown in for the premiere. And George Clooney was there with his parents – I smiled “hello” from a distance because he looked very busy with all the people around him, and I started to move on. The next thing I know, I hear him calling, “Milo Radulovich, come here and meet my parents!” He gave me this big hug and triple kiss (I told him that we were going to make “a Serb” out of him yet! He said that this triple kiss was also Italian & he has a house in
MP: Yes, he was. Edward R. Murrow set the standard for television news reporting. Yet of all the stories that Murrow did in his life, he considered your story to be one of his “proudest moments”.
MP: So fifty years later, are you enjoying all of the public attention that you are getting again now?
Milo: Sure. But I can’t take all of this too seriously. Life is what it is – and it can turn on a dime. Your family are the ones who really matter --I think that this is one of those things that is very “Serb” – a sense of family that transcends all reason and distance.
Next week I am going to
MP: You are a Montenegrin Serb American, correct?
Milo: Yes, and I like the way that you said that -- “Montenegrin Serb”. That is exactly what I am “Montenegrin Serb” American. There are so many Montenegrins today who say that we aren’t Serbs at all, we are just “Montenegrins”, a different people. I don’t see it that way.
MP: Well, the “Old Serbs” saw themselves through the eyes of Orthodox Christianity and very much in the structure of Orthodoxy. Like you are “Montenegrin”, and he is “Lican” and he is “a Serbianac”, but we are all “Serbs” in much the same way that Orthodoxy has the Greeks, the Russians, the Serbs who are all different parts of the same whole -- all parts of “The Body of Christ” in Orthodoxy. Some are “the hands”, some are “the feet” – different yes, but part of an undivided whole. So you had Serbs with different nationalities, but who all saw themselves as “one”.
But, after so many years of communism, the newer generations don’t always see it that way. They often see only the physical “reality” of politics and geography. Serbian Orthodoxy is just some kind of “optional add-on” to their identities as “Serbs”, instead of the very essence of that identity. These newer generations often identify themselves as “Serbs”, based solely on “language”, “history” and “culture”, instead of on what actually created that history and culture. “There was a time when if you weren’t a steadfast Serbian Orthodox Christian, then you weren’t “a Serb”. Instead you were what your religious identity (and not your family history) said you were. And with people trying to constantly kill you for that religious identity, there wasn’t room for a lot of “fence-sitting”, “I don’t knows” and “does it really matter?” kind of questions that we American Serbs have the luxury of considering.
Milo: Precisely. Convert to Islam? Then you were “a Turk”. Convert to Catholicism? Then you were “a Croat”. Convert from something else to Serbian Orthodoxy? Then you were “a Serb” and no different from any other Serb – an equal to the “purest Serb lineage”. In that way, we were never “racists”. Bloodlines didn’t really matter for anyone other than royalty.
Many of our priests are still like that. God, love them. “Race” is not even a factor – and I have always admired them for that.
Where I grew up in
MP: Yes, I have mentioned before that I knew that they also used to have these Serb “literary clubs” all over.
Milo: My dad actually belonged to one. “The Montenegrin Educational Club of
You know that my father was very bright despite his station in American life. He read and wrote poetry. He knew about ancient Greek civilization. I have no idea where he learned it, but he knew about it.
Some of those men in that educational club were neighbors and were very dear to me. Blazo Kalabich saved my life when I fell into the creek at Dusan Kasom’s farm. I was about four years old and we were at the farm for a picnic. I remember going down into the water and I was bobbing up and down gasping for air. The next thing I know Blazo –a big ex-football player for Carnegie Tech – jumped in and saved me, clothes and all. They put some woman’s scratchy wool bathing suit on me because those were the only dry clothes available in my size and I had to wear that stupid thing for the rest of the day. Funny that I still remember that!
MP: Your parents were from
Milo: My dad, “Jovan” (John), was from a place in “the middle of nowhere” in
My mother was Ikonija Mijatovic from Krna Jela, a few valleys over from where my dad came from, and Dad didn’t even know her before they married. Dad had met her brother who was in the
My mother did not want to come to
My mother had been this beautiful 23-year-old young woman, alone in
Mom & Dad were finally married in
MP: How did your folks get to
Milo: Well, Dad was a really hard worker. He used to say that he had “a back made for a Number 9 shovel” (that was the shovel they used to pick up and load the coal into the bins) But mining was a hard and terrible life, underground all the time, breathing that dust and coming home covered with the stuff everyday. Finally, one day Dad said, “What am I doing here? I am going to
You know our people always got the worst jobs. These jobs were necessary for building and maintaining the growth of the
MP: What was life like for you growing up?
Milo: We were poor as church mice. Dad bought a little house, and we were almost thrown out of it a few times. When the auto industry strike came in the 1930’s, Dad didn’t work for five years – but that strike made it possible for people to earn a basic living with some reasonable living conditions later, so it was a good thing in the long run. But it was really hard back then. Luckily, Dad was pretty inventive, so during those years, he built an icehouse on a vacant lot and sold ice, then he sold candy on the street – anything legal to put food on the table for us. He had an old Model T car that required all the neighborhood kids giving it “a push” in order to start it. The only good part about those years was that it was during the Depression, so we weren’t alone --everyone around us was totally broke, too.
MP: Was your family religious?
Milo: My family was very spiritual, but we didn’t go to church every week -- we couldn’t afford it. The church was a long way away -- several streetcars worth. (Counting) With my mom & dad and four kids, it would have cost about $1.20 roundtrip – that was a huge amount of money per week during the Depression, especially for someone who was unemployed. But we were taught the Ten Commandments, and the value of love, honesty, loyalty and family.
As a little kid, I remember seeing the priest and his deacon coming down the alley on Slava. You know – beards to the waist in the long black mantijas – both of them looking like Rasputin. It used to scare my brothers and me. We’d hide under the bed! And my embarrassed mom would get a prut (switch) and whack us it under the bed until we came out. Then the priest, with his deep voice and a smile on his face, would laughingly say, “Ahhh…. You hide from me? You bad boys!” And that scared us even more! Luckily, we grew out of that fear.
But you know, in spite of how poor we were my mother always was able to create an incredible Slava every year. Hams and cakes, and a Kolach – don’t know how or where she got the money, but we never had a “poor Slava”. For one day a year, we ate like kings. It was always so good, that even when I grew up and went into the Army, I’d still figure out a way to get home for Arandjelovdan almost every year. (I must have listed each member of my family more than once as having been “sick” in order to get a pass!) Half the time, I had to cross a State or two and had no idea how I was getting there, but I made it.
MP: Your mother sounds like an “inventive” woman, too.
Milo: She was. Mom was very intelligent. She was a sort-of “psychologist” of the Serbian community. When other Serbs had a problem, they always came to my mom to settle it or to advise them. And Mom didn’t speak English for a very long time, but when she learned, she became much better at it than Dad ever was. My mother was also the one who disciplined us, Dad never did – he was pretty quiet and too tired when he came home to deal with that.
Truly, Serb women have always been the original “strong, independent females”. They may have lived in a patriarchal society and have been submissive to men in public, but privately they have always had this attitude, “You don’t like it, too bad for you!” They can be pretty tough.
MP: (Teasing) So, is that why you married an American and not a Serb woman?
Milo: No! (Laughing) It was because you couldn’t just date a Serb girl to see if you got along. “One date” and the families would already be planning the wedding! The pressure was too much to risk the rest of you life on “one date”. But I left home at age 17 anyway, to go into the Army – and I never lived with them again – so I wasn’t much around “young Serb women” after that anyway. By the time I moved back to the
But did you know that some of the Montenegrin clans were run by women? With the blood feuds, in some clans all the men would get wiped out, so the women would take over. The clan leaders were always elected. So if a woman was elected as “a clan leader”, she would remain single, dress and behave like a man in public for the rest of her life. And this is how the clan would survive until there were enough adult males again to take over running the clan.
Here in the
MP: From what I had read in the book at least, your sister Margaret, didn’t exactly become “a wallflower”.
Milo: (Laughing) No, she isn’t. She has definite opinions on things. And she was much less conservative than I was back then. But you know, she is a sucker for anyone or anything “in need”, even stray animals. She has a big heart – and a strong mind. She can’t stand to see others suffer without doing all she can for them. I can’t call that “a fault”. Politically, by today’s standards, my sister is considered “a liberal” – but back in 1953, that designation didn’t really exist.
MP: Knowing the background you came from, the allegations leveled at your father and sister regarding the case, this must have hit your family pretty hard.
Milo: Oh, it did. And I wasn’t sure what to do – or what I could do. If I accepted less than a full Honorable Discharge from the Air Force, then I couldn’t work in the profession I was trained for. Meteorology was very much a government-run field back then. But I also knew that if I fought, I’d have to drag my whole family through it all. I did ask my father what he wanted me to do, -- and he told me “Fight this,
MP: From what I have read and understood, Charlie Lockwood didn’t just “save you”. In some ways, your case “saved him”, too – he was pretty depressed about the law and what good he was doing in the world, when your case came along.
Milo: Yes, Mike Ranville (author of “To Strike at a King”) dug that up, but I didn’t know it at the time. I just knew that Charlie knew what he was doing, and he was willing to take the case. This case was not a “slam-dunk” by any means. It was always “a long shot”. The Air Force wasn’t very “open” to having its decisions questioned, and we had no idea at the time that Edward R. Murrow was going to eventual take up my cause. At the time, we just felt lucky that the Detroit News had taken an interest in it.
MP: I can understand why –during that era-- your sister might have been “a target”, given that she did openly protest for some social change and especially for civil rights, which may not have been popular then. But I could not understand why or how they targeted your father.
Milo: I didn’t either. He was no “communist”. He read the Srbobran, along with reading that other Serbian paper. He simply wanted to know as much as he could about the country he came from in a language that he could read. As for being “a leader” or “organizer”, what a joke!
MP: Well, he was “President of the Montenegrin Educational Association (of
Milo: Oh, yeah that made him “a real leader” (chuckle). Truly those guys were all hardworking immigrants trying to make the American Dream work for them and their families – not “subversives” in any way.
As for the union, that wasn’t “communism” – that was the foundation of the United Auto Workers of America”. No one was suggesting that the other members of that union were “subversive”.
MP: Since it has been such a long time ago, did you ever use the Freedom of Information Act to find out who pointed the finger at your father?
Milo: My sister did, but the names of “the informants” were all blacked out. Besides which, it has been so long, I don’t really care who it was, specifically.
Yet there was one thing that has always bugged me a bit – whoever it was referred to me as “Milorad”. And only Serbs knew me as “Milorad” – everyone else knew me as “
Plus, postwar, Dad had mixed feelings about the Tito/Mihailovic issue and said so.
So it is not hard to do the math and come up with the main informant being “another Serb in
MP: Well, “jealousy” and “malicious envy” are certainly not unheard of among Serbs, but ultimately you did have the last laugh – hanging out around the pool in
Milo: I guess when you put it that way – I did. But it was pretty tough for a long time.
MP: It was a very hard long time for you, from what I understand.
Ultimately, you were re-instated by the Air Force, finished your education and were given a full “Honorable Discharge” on paper -- but unofficially you became “blackballed” from working on military contracts to private industry. Your case had embarrassed the military, so they made sure that there was “payback”.
Milo: Yes. And this was harder, because it was all behind closed doors and they wouldn’t admit it. But, what aggravated me most was that I always told them about “the case”, upfront, before they’d offered me the job and they’d say, “No problem”. Then when it came time to actually clear it with the military, the story would change. I’d get an “Ooops! Sorry we hired someone else for it yesterday and forgot!” One time, I actually saw a stamp on my application for the job that said “not eligible for work on military contracts” – the personnel officer got very angry that I had seen that stamp and ripped the application out of my hand.
I’d fought to get an Honorable Discharge”. Officially” I’d gotten a full Honorable Discharge, but “unofficially” I was still paying for standing up for myself and my family.
There was something that my father said to me many years ago that always stuck with me. Dad said, “The hardest thing that you will ever try to do,
Finally, I interviewed with a private weather service. They had contracts with power companies like Pacific Gas & Electric. I interviewed with the company president. As always, I told him about “the case” and part way through my story, he interrupted me. He said, “Yes, I am French – I know all about the stupid idea of ‘guilt by association’, so let’s forget about that. I only have one question for you: Can you do the job?” I said, “Yes, of course I can.” He hired me on the spot and I worked for that company for ten years. Until the National Weather Service finally offered me a job in 1964. It was ten years before my name was “OK” for hire to work with government. I took the offer and I worked for them until I retired in 1994.
MP: In retrospect, how do you regard your experience with “the case”, given that it was the first step in changing the course of American history? Do you see yourself as “an instrument of God” or “a victim of random chance” or what? Why you? Why Milorad Radulovich?
Milo: Have you ever heard the word “synchronicity”? Do you know what it means?
MP: Yes. (In fact, I barely had a clue what “synchronicity” meant until I looked it up at home the next day!)
“Synchronicity”: A term coined by famed psychologist Carl Jung meaning “unrelated coincidences that are perceived as having meaning when viewed through the eyes of human perception”; root word of the term “in synch”.
Milo: Everyone has their own perception as to what the case “meant” -- to history or to any of it. There are a lot of ways in which you could spin the events, but the truth is that they just “happened the way that they did” -- other people made choices, I made choices and this is the way it worked out –“Who” or “what” was behind it is subject to anyone’s guess. I am not “de-emphasizing God”, but I am also not “emphasizing my own importance”. Theoretically, it could have happened to anyone, and they might have made the same or different choices than I did, and it might or might not have come out the same. I was just “in the right place at the right time” or “the wrong place at the wrong time” depending on how you look at it.
MP: Wow. You have obviously thought this through and philosophically come up with an answer that you are comfortable with.
Milo: Yes – and I have had a very long time to do it.
MP: So how is life for you now?
Milo: Pretty good, but busy! The last couple of years have flown by. Between the actual film production of “Goodnight and Good Luck”, then the publicity interviews and the awards ceremonies for the film, I have been traveling and speaking in public quite a lot. I am a little jet-lagged at the moment. I am 79 years old – not a kid anymore, you know!
MP: I am quite a few years your junior and just telling me about your schedule makes me “tired”, so don’t feel bad. But, I know even with all that you have going on; you have still made time to remain active in your church.
Milo: Yes, my grandson Scotty and I built the
And we have a great priest in Jackson – Father Tumbas. He and is wife are very spiritual people and are also very educated. Both he and his wife attended the Sorbonne and also speak French fluently, as well as Serbian and English.
MP: Any Serb or church issues that are on your mind at the moment?
Milo: Yes - the church language issue. Yet, I won’t say anything that many haven’t been saying for the last fifty years.
If we don’t start introducing more English in the church, we are going to lose our young people. We have already lost most of two generations -- including your generation – to the church spilt and the language issue. We can’t afford to lose another generation.
Every group of immigrants who have come here to the
Our people are going through a terrible time in the former
We lost this group of American Serbs, not because “they rejected us”, but rather because “we rejected them”. We basically told them that they were only “welcome” --if they were willing to learn two foreign languages and act like immigrants, --not like “who” and “what” they are. How crazy is that? Especially for “a church”!
MP: It’s very crazy – and very self-defeating.
The Slovenians and Croats never did this. Because they were Catholic, they automatically had an advantage at integrating into American society and in forming coalitions with other Catholics -- not only through their church, but also through Catholic universities.
We, on the other hand, were more “isolated” to begin with and we seem to be isolating ourselves even more now, since the wars. I think that we were so demonized, hurt and humiliated by the media and government in the US, that that we are becoming an “angrier people” than we ever were before – especially at all things “American”, including the English language. And this is a dangerous and slippery slope for us. This is our home.
Milo: We don’t get that so much in
MP: On a lighter note -- what do you do in your spare time?
Milo: I spend way too much time on the computer these days. You know --“where time stands still” – get on and forget where you are or what time it is. There is just so much to learn and to research. I burned some soup in the microwave the other day, because I accidentally set it for too much time and then I got on the computer and completely forgot about it. I came in here (the kitchen) and smoke was pouring out of the front of this thing. I’d actually begin to worry about myself; except that I have seen a lot of young people do exactly the same thing! It’s too easy to get lost in thought.
Speaking of “lost in thought”, I also write poetry.
MP: In English or Serbian?
Milo: In English! Serbian is very hard. I learned Serbian at home, but actually later took some formal courses on it after I was told that my Serbian was “quaint”. Language is a living thing, it changes over time and you have to change with it.
MP: What are you looking forward to next?
Milo: I am looking forward to things slowing down so that I can relax a little. After next weekend (The Oscars and The American Spirit Awards), everything on this film project will be pretty much behind me. And things should start getting back to normal again. I looking forward to some peace and quiet – maybe writing a little poetry again.
MP: I actually heard a rumor that you may not be able to “forget about
Milo: He’s thinking about it. But I don’t know if it will actually happen.
Because “Goodnight and Good Luck” was on such a small budget, they couldn’t afford to buy the film rights to the book, “To Strike at a King”. This book is less about Murrow and McCarthy and more about the personal story of my family, “the case” and me. So Robert Redford is probably looking at it more from that angle – “the personal little picture” story -- which ironically is actually how Edward R. Murrow told a story to illustrate a point.
MP: Anything else you are looking forward to?
Milo: Whatever happens, there is always something to look forward to if you look for it!