by Aleksandar Pavić
To all those still trying to get at the bottom of the recent US-led unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s “independence” completely outside of the UN framework and America’s willingness to destabilize not just relations with Russia but the entire international order, no document provides a clearer or more cogent explanation of the entire process than the following piece of correspondence.
In a strikingly frank letter to then German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, of May 2, 2000, in the form of a report from a State Department/American Enterprise Institute-sponsored conference in Bratislava, Slovakia (“Is Euro-Atlantic Integration Still on Track? Opportunities and Obstacles,” held on April 28-30, 2000), Willy Wimmer, then member of the German Bundestag and Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), succinctly lays out the causes of NATO’s 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999, the purposes behind NATO’s further enlargement toward the borders of Russia, and, most importantly from the aspect of global security, the US aim of undermining the international legal order as part of its vision of succeeding the Roman Empire at the height of its territorial expansion.
The conference itself was held at a very high level, with several prime ministers, foreign ministers and defense ministers from Central European countries in attendance, along with high-level State Department, OSCE and NATO officials, and representatives of high profile international NGO’s and think tanks
(see http://www.aei.org/research/nai/events/pageID.440,projectID.11/default.asp for a complete list of participants and http://www.aei.org/research/nai/events/pageID.439,projectID.11/default.asp for the conference agenda), including Richard Perle and Daniel Fried, current U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.
The fact that the correspondence between two of Germany’s and Europe’s highest officials pertains to a conference that took place almost 8 years ago does not make it any less relevant. Quite the contrary. Looking back at the events that have taken place since, and especially having in mind the “Kosovo parliament’s” “Declaration of Independence” of February 17, 2008, and the subsequent lightning-quick recognition of the new “state” on the part of the US and its closest, mostly Western allies, Willy Wimmer’s letter is not just a prophecy, but a roadmap, both of certain key events in Europe of the previous 8 years (expanding NATO to Rumania and Bulgaria “in order to secure a land connection with Turkey,” “permanently excluding Serbia out of European development,” establishing an unhindered US military presence in ex-Yugoslavia – Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo – etc.) and of events (soon?) to come (“undermining the international legal order,” “favoring peoples’ rights to self-determination over all other provisions or rules of international law,” etc.) on the international scene, including, most likely, a descent into disorder on a global scale.
In a subsequent interview given to a German foreign policy magazine (an excerpt of which was translated into English and posted on the site of New Serbian Political Thought, an influential Serbian political periodical - http://www.nspm.org.yu/Prikazi/nspm_on_english/2008_wimer1.htm), Wimmer further elaborated on the points made in his letter, revealing, among other things, that the US is using the Balkans to cushion the fallout with Muslim states over its Mid-East policies, but also, following in Bismarck’s footsteps, to keep the rest of Europe off balance by encouraging unrest in that region, which, as an added bonus, is a good way to spoil European-Russian relations.
If there were any doubts as to the aggressive nature of the US-led policy regarding Kosovo (and Europe as a whole), the following letter will almost certainly dispel them. The same applies to all doubts as to whether the case of Kosovo’s secession and its US-led recognition as an independent state represents not just a grievous but a deliberate violation of international law and the wrecking of the post-World War II European and global order.
Mr. Gerhard Schröder
Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Berlin, May 2, 2000
Highly esteemed Mr. Chancellor,
At the end of last week I had the opportunity to attend a conference in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, jointly organized by the American State Department and the American Enterprise Institute (the foreign policy institute of the Republican Party). The main topics of the gathering were the Balkans and NATO enlargement.
The conference was attended by very high level political officials, as witnessed by the presence of a large number of prime ministers, as well as foreign ministers and defense ministers from the region. Among the numerous important points of discussion, certain themes deserve special mention:
- The conference organizers demanded the speediest possible international recognition of an independent state of Kosovo within the circle of the allied states.
- The organizers declared that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia lies outside of any legal framework, before all outside the Helsinki Final Act [on the inviolability of state borders – trans. note].
- The European legal order presents an obstacle to carrying out the plans of NATO. In this sense, the American legal system is more suitable for application in Europe.
- The war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was waged in order to rectify General Eisenhower’s erroneous decision during World War II. Therefore, for strategic reasons, American troops must be stationed there, in order to compensate for the missed opportunity from 1945.
- The European allies participated in the war against Yugoslavia in order to, de facto, overcome the obstacle and dilemma that appeared after the adoption of NATO’s “New Strategic Concept” in April 1999, that is, the Europeans’ efforts to previously secure a UN or OSCE mandate.
- Without denigrating the importance of the Europeans’ after-the-fact legalistic interpretation, namely that the expansion of NATO’s tasks beyond the treaty’s legal domain in the war against Yugoslavia was just an exception, it is nevertheless clear that this represented a precedent, to be invoked by anyone at any time, and that many others will follow the example in the future.
- It would be good, during NATO’s current enlargement, to restore the territorial situation in the area between the Baltic Sea and Anatolia such as existed during the Roman Empire, at the time of its greatest power and greatest territorial expansion.
- For this reason, Poland must be flanked to the north and to the south with democratic neighbor states, while Romania and Bulgaria are to secure a land connection with Turkey. Serbia (probably for the purposes of securing an unhindered US military presence) must be permanently excluded from European development.
- North of Poland, total control over St. Petersburg’s access to the Baltic Sea must be established.
- In all processes, peoples’ rights to self-determination should be favored over all other provisions or rules of international law.
- The claim that, during its attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, NATO violated all international rules, and especially all the relevant provisions of international law – was not disputed.
After this conference, at which discussion was quite candid and open, it will not be possible to avoid the importance and long-term ramifications of its conclusions, especially having in mind the competence of the participants and organizers.
It seems that the American side, for the sake of its own goals, is willing and ready to undermine, on a global scale, the international legal order, which came about as a result of the two world wars in the previous century. Force is to stand above law. Wherever international law stands in the way, it is to be removed.
When the League of Nations experienced a similar fate, World War II was not far off. The manner of thought that takes into regard solely its own interests can only be referred to as totalitarian.
With friendly regards,
Member, German Bundestag and Vice President, Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE
(Note: a facsimile of the original letter, in German, can be found at http://www.medienanalyse-international.de/wimmer.html
The above translation is from a German-to-Serbian translation by Nikola Živković, which appeared in the Belgrade weekly “NIN,” of February 8, 2007. Another translation, by Andrej Grubacic, preceded by a commentary, can be found at http://www.zmag.org/Sustainers/Content/2007-02/18grubacic.cfm)
Introduction and translation: Aleksandar PavićAleksandar Pavić is a political commentator living in Belgrade, Serbia