Friday, February 29, 2008

UNDERSECRETARY BURNS SHOULD BE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE

In the aftermath of the U.S. recognition of unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo Albanians and subsequent violence targeting the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Undersecretary for Political Affairs in the State Department Nicholas Burns said had Serbia had a “fundamental responsibility” to protect U.S. diplomats and citizens, adding that Washington would hold Serbian Prime Minister (PM) Vojislav Kostunica and his government “personally responsible” for assaults on U.S. interests. He went on “What happened yesterday in Belgrade was absolutely reprehensible. This kind of thing should not happen in a civilized country.” He had even the audacity to call Russia 's policy cynical. At a special press briefing Burns happily claimed that a “vastly majority Muslim state” has been carved out of Serbia , a European Christian country. Then he said: “We think it is very positive step that this Muslim state, Muslim majority state, has been created today.”

Fortunately, there were no American injuries in the Belgrade incident which most certainly was regrettable. Serbia has expressed official regret. President Tadic said: “There is no excuse for the violence. Nobody can justify what happened yesterday.” It doesn't contribute to the image Serbia wants to present to the world and is damaging in the long run. However, there was a very sad Serbian fatality, a student burned in the fire set by demonstrators, Zoran Vujovic, 21 years old Kosovo Serb. His own 82-year great-grandmother, Ljubica, was strangled on August 2, 1999 in her bathtub by Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) thugs. Needless to say, nobody was prosecuted. Two year's later, Zoran's grandfather, who had found Ljubica's body, committed suicide by throwing himself under a train. Zoran's father was a successful businessman. Yet, with the family, he was forced to flee their home to save their lives. Zoran was 12 years old at the time. The family was ethnically cleansed and made a new life in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad where Zoran became an exemplary student and a soccer enthusiast.

The White House spokesman called the attackers “hooligans and thugs.” Does Zoran fit into this description or was he simply overwhelmed with emotions and outrage that his native Kosovo was being amputated from Serbia by the U.S. ? Other attackers were also young people, male and female, in their twenties or even younger. When interviewed they did not see themselves as vandals but as victims of U.S./NATO bombings of Serbia in 1999. Are they thugs? First of all this term should be applied to the Kosovo's PM Thaci and his KLA narco-terrorists who have not only murdered the Serbs and Roma but have stained their hands with Albanian blood as well. In any “civilized country” they would belong in jail as war criminals but not in Kosovo. “Civilized” America has installed them as statesmen and now has given them even a statelet to run!

The question needs to be asked whether real hooligans might have been hired by somebody, perhaps with connections abroad or even a foreign secret service, to overshadow massive and highly successful peaceful demonstrations with participation of 200,000 people. The Belgrade police have thus far discovered that some of those arrested had hand-drawn maps pointing to streets and buildings of the U.S. and other embassies and did not attend the peaceful demonstrations. A prudent thing to do is to await the police report. There were some 130 Serbs injured including more than 50 policemen. The police detained some 200. Hence, the police have done at least part of their job. Whether they were slow to react, as alleged, can only be established through an inquiry.

There is no question that the Vienna Convention places the “fundamental responsibility” on the government of Serbia to protect the American diplomats. However, it is utterly hypocritical and cynical of Undersecretary Burns even to mention adherence to the international law and conventions when his country has chosen to violate the UN Charter, the Helsinki Accords, the UN Resolution 1244 and prior resolutions 1160, 1199, 1203 and 1239 as well as the Badinter Commission ruling. It amounts to a massive law breaking power game. Russian president Putin stated in televised address: “The Kosovo precedent is a terrifying precedent. It in essence is breaking open the entire system of international relations that have prevailed not just for decades but for centuries. And it without a doubt will bring on itself an entire chain of unforeseen consequences.” Way back in 1648 the Treaty of Westphalia established the doctrine of sovereignty, which declared a state's domestic conduct and institutions to be beyond the reach of other states.

The PM Kostunica's criticism of Washington , which he has regularly described as a law-breaking bully intending to amputate Kosovo from Serbia , irritates the State Department more so than anything else. The argument that Kosovo is a sui generis case because of Milosevic's government actions suffers from historical illiteracy. A rebuttal of this argument is contained in other writings by this author, e.g. Kosovo Solution: International Law Not Independence . It should be pointed out that PM Kostunica together with other Serbian leaders as well as the Russian leaders, including president Putin, have repeatedly warned the U.S. not to recognize Kosovo fearing violence which has now taken place. However, these warnings fell on deaf ears in the State Department. The same is true with regard to the warnings from distinguished Americans with high level credentials in the foreign affairs, e.g. former UN Ambassador John Bolton, former secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman and others.

The Kosovo recognition policy has been reckless, irresponsible and anti-American. The recognition announcement has divided Europe and the world and was met with a delirium from every separatist movement in the world from the U.S. to Kashmir and Sri Lanka . Republica del Norte (Aztlan), consisting of Arizona , New Mexico , and parts of California , Nevada , Colorado and Texas , has recognized Kosovo. Juan Fernadno, a spokesman for the Aztlan movement, said: “The situations of the Former Yugoslavia and the United States are very similar. Both are breaking up along the ethnic lines. Fifty years from now, we may use the phrase “Americanization' to refer to what is now meant by ‘Balkanization.' Viva Aztlan! Viva Kosovo!” So one of these days, those of us living currently in the region of Aztlan, will wake up one morning to find out that without our consent we have become citizens of the Aztlan nation to be recognized by most Latin American countries and most certainly by Mexico . We will then all have to speak Spanish to survive and get passports to travel to our native country, the U.S. This is exactly what is expected from the Kosovo Serbs. An elderly Serbian lady lives in a village which now is part of “independent” Kosovo. Her husband is buried in a cemetery which is in Serbia . In order to visit his grave she needs a passport. She is also asking who is now responsible for paying her pension.

Secretary Rice stated that it was time for Serbs to accept that Kosovo was no longer theirs. “I mean, after all, we're talking about something from 1389-1389! It's time to move forward.” This undiplomatic and insulting statement shows that she is yet another State Department Balkan history illiterate. This isn't about 1389. Serb-Albanian conflict is 130 years old. In its complexity it is comparable to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. German Chancellor Bismarck said “When the Great War comes it will come out of some damn fool thing in the Balkans.” In 1908 Austria annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina in clear violation of the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. Protests of Russia and Serbia were in vain. In 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot the archduke setting in motion the train of events that led to WWI. The U.S. pressure to grant Kosovo independence was similar to capitulation in the Munich 1938 manner. Great Britain and France allowed the Sudetenland to be ceded to Hitler's Germany . A year later WWII erupted. This continues to be one of the great traumas in Czech and Slovak contemporary history.

Undersecretary Burns is a holdover from the Clinton administration, which launched a 78 day aerial war against Serbia again in violation of a host of international laws, including the UN and NATO charters, in order to wrest Kosovo from Serbia . Walter Rockler, a Nuremberg prosecutor, stated:” Most brazen aggression since Nazi attack on Poland to prevent Polish atrocities.” He and his State Department bureaucrats should be held accountable for the U.S. dismantling of the international legal order. The policy of U.S. recognition of second Albania in Europe (Kosovo Albanians have no identity—they are Albanians) has been Burns' baby for years. It is a product of the State Department's “auto pilot” (the term borrowed from ambassador Bolton) policy vis-a-vis Serbia designed over 15 years ago. This policy didn't recognize that Milosevic was dead and out of power since 2000 and that Serbia is now a democracy. It is not obviously an anti-Milosevic policy as parroted by the compliant media but an anti-Serb policy with the U.S. siding with every single ethnic and religious group in the Former Yugoslavia against Serbia . It is a policy of Radical Muslim appeasement which has led to the U.S. siding with jihadists: Iran and Qaeda first in Bosnia and then in Kosovo.

Burns and his State Department ilk have ill served the nation. It is not in the interest of America to be generally viewed throughout the world as a bully and an international law pariah. In a poll conducted in Germany several months ago majority of Germans, a U.S. ally, viewed the U.S. as the biggest threat to the world peace. Burns and his ilk have abandoned the art of diplomacy long time ago and thus made a significant contribution to this deplorable image that America enjoys in the world. He has announced resignation from the State Department, which is good news for the Americans but he should be held accountable by the Congress for the damage done.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vojin Joksimovich has authored two books on Kosovo and lives in Escondido , California

No comments: