Democratorship

by , July 01, 2009

Brought to You by the International Community

In the sea of lies that have been told in and about the Balkans over the past two decades, perhaps one of the most pernicious is the myth of the "international community" (IC). One might be forgiven for thinking it is a synonym for the United Nations; it isn’t. Though an actual definition has never been offered, the "international community" is supposed to encompass all the countries that value democracy, human rights, and the rule of law – in other words, are loyal to the Empire. It by no means includes the majority of the world’s countries or population. If, say, Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) decide to hold a meeting and coordinate certain efforts, they are not the "international community." Neither is the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The phrase originated during the Bosnian War, as Washington steadily undermined the UN and sought to supplant it with NATO. This eventually culminated in NATO completely ignoring the UN and launching the 1999 air war against Serbia. The UN was further rendered meaningless by becoming an accomplice in NATO’s occupation of Kosovo. In February 2008, the "international community" displayed its final measure of contempt for the UN, by proclaiming the "Republic of Kosovo" even though the proposed peace plan was rejected by the Security Council. This was also a rejection of law, democracy, and human rights – the very things the "international community" claims it stands for.

Without this alliance of contempt, there could have been no "Coalition of the Willing."

Catch and Release

Having sponsored the terrorist KLA (reinvented as "freedom fighters") takeover of Kosovo in 1999 and rewarded its murderous rampage with an "independent" state, the "international community" made sure that KLA leaders never had to answer for their deeds. KLA leaders Hashim Thaci and Agim Ceku were never charged by the Hague Inquisition, while Ramush Haradinaj was acquitted in a show trial.

Ceku, Thaci, Haradinaj, and others have been charged in Serbia for a variety of offenses, including terrorism and murder. There are international warrants for their arrest, filed through the proper channels. But there is no law for the "international community" save its own.

Slovenian police arrested Agim Ceku in 2003, responding to the Interpol warrant. Within hours he walked, after a call from the IC-appointed viceroy of Kosovo. The exact same thing happened in Hungary in 2004. One time is an anomaly. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a pattern.

Last week, Ceku was arrested again, this time in Bulgaria. This time he was actually taken before a judge, and there was a possibility Bulgaria might even consider extraditing him. Of course, he walked.

Bulgaria is a loyal client state, a member of the EU and NATO. It recognized the “Republic of Kosovo” when told to do so. Why bother with arresting Ceku in the first place, then? Most likely the Bulgarian law enforcement decided to stick to the letter of the law and let the diplomats sort it out. At the end of the day, the Bulgarian cops followed the rules, acting upon an Interpol warrant. The Bulgarian government also followed the rules – those of the "international community" – in overriding an Interpol warrant originating in Serbia. Apparently, there are two kinds of Interpol warrants these days: the ones the IC likes and the ones it does not.

The regime in Belgrade made noises of protest, but it was obvious they didn’t really want Ceku extradited. Sworn to serve the Empire while plundering the country, the very last thing they need is a public trial of a KLA terrorist. Might spoil the "friendly relations" with the Empire, you see. On the other hand, neither can they rescind the warrants issued in 1999, since that would further erode their standing with the Serbian electorate.

It may be interesting to note that it was Colombia – another Imperial vassal – that acted somewhat honorably when faced with the warrant conundrum. When Ceku visited the country in May, he was simply deported.

Acton in Bosnia

Meanwhile, over in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the latest viceroy appointed by the IC was demonstrating what he and his masters thought of democracy, as well as vindicating Lord Acton’s dictum that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

There is hardly a better symbol of the arbitrary nature of the "international community" than the so-called high representative effectively ruling Bosnia since the armistice 14 years ago. His mandate comes from the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), a group of countries and organizations that has appointed itself the overseers of the Bosnian peace process. In 1997, the PIC endowed the high representative with the "Bonn Powers": the right to impose laws, remove elected public officials, disenfranchise individuals or groups, ban media – in short, do anything except arbitrarily arrest people. People so purged have no right to complain, object, or petition for redress.

The last viceroy who went power-mad with the Bonn Powers was Paddy Ashdown. His successors were more reluctant to resort to outright dictatorship, aware that it wasn’t exactly helping the situation. Valentin Inzko, who assumed power in March, apparently thought otherwise. Or was told otherwise, most likely.

In early June, the Bosnian Serb parliament adopted a resolution calling for the reexamination of the powers ceded to the central government so far, and the constitutionality of ceding any more. Inzko demanded that the parliament withdraw its resolution. The Serbs refused. On June 19, Inzko nullified the resolution, declaring it a violation of the Dayton peace agreement. In effect, he rendered the Bosnian Serb parliament meaningless and asserted, "I am the Law."

This outright dictatorship is, of course, justified in the name of democracy. But what exactly is democracy? As Philip Cunliffe trenchantly observed last year, commenting on Serbian elections:

"[W]hat counts as democracy is what the EU decides is democratic, and the democrats are those who are anointed by the international community, regardless of who actually receives the votes."

Shouldn’t what Inzko is doing in Bosnia be called "democratorship," then?

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