Laughable Sycophancy

Boris Tadic, Serbia, and the Empire

Whether the American Empire – a belligerent entity that has usurped the physical body and much of the mind of the republic once known as the United States of America – is loved or hated by peoples of the world, it is still to some extent universally feared. It is this fear that enables the Empire to function as such, impervious to all laws, rules, and logic but its own.

All government is based on fear: its basic function is that of providing security at home and abroad, which implies external and internal threats. This is how a small group of people running any state can control their far more numerous subjects. But since fear is a base, undesirable emotion, few willingly admit to feeling any; so they couch their obedience to the state in terms of “patriotism” or “loyalty.” Imperialism is merely the state writ global – one nation lording through force and fear over the rest, who couch their submission in euphemisms such as “partnership” or “strategic alliance.”

Human nature being what it is, while submission is accepted as normal if sufficient verbiage is employed to soften its true meaning, ostentatious shows of it are rightly mocked. By any and all measurement, the displays of submission coming from Serbia since October 2000 have been deserving of nothing but ridicule. Over the 200 years of its modern history, Serbia has been loved, hated, and even feared – but never laughed at. Never, that is, until it decided to take abasement before the Empire to the whole new level. The extent to which its “reformist” leadership has trampled any semblance of self-respect can hardly be hidden by their talk of “strategic partnerships” with the Empire. Anyone who may still believe theirs is anything but a master-servant relationship is sorely mistaken.

Delusions About Democracy

While Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic is in a league of his own by the sheer number of tragicomic moments, it is Serbian President Boris Tadic who can on occasion generate even more embarrassment, if only because his public persona is far more restrained than the flamboyant and somewhat crazed Draskovic.

Imperial officials still remember Tadic’s sycophantic trip to Washington last summer, just days after his inauguration. No doubt some in Serbia still recall Tadic’s “private” letter to Emperor Bush, leaked to the press last September. Having appeared rather reasonable for almost a year, Tadic plunged into slapstick again this month, first by doing a self-promotion tour of the U.S. while his country went unrepresented at the UN “World Summit,” and later by penning an editorial for Wall Street Journal Europe about the future of Kosovo.

In the op-ed, published Monday, Tadic reveled in delusions from the start, invoking the phantom “strategic partnership based on common democratic and market principles and interests” among Serbia, EU, and the U.S. He waxed poetic about the “widespread recognition” in Southeastern Europe – the Imperial neologism for the Balkans – that “our joint future lies in full European and transatlantic integration – a guarantor of democratic prosperity.”

Having thus established his credentials as a NATO and EU sycophant, Tadic proceeded to argue that the Empire needed to respect Serbia’s legitimate interests in Kosovo – without actually articulating what those interests might be: “should Serbia’s strategic partners fail to take seriously my country’s legitimate interests, such a path would in the end secure no one’s liberty.” Why certainly, liberty has been the foremost on Empire’s mind these past 15 years, at home and abroad.

“Perhaps more importantly,” Tadic continued, “the dictates of honesty make demands of Serbia’s strategic partners as well. Double standards may work in dictatorships, but they are fundamentally inappropriate in democracies.” While true on principle, surely even Tadic must know that “democracy” is whatever the Empire says it is, and double standards – or no standards at all – are the norm in today’s New World Order.

“Partners” in Action

President Tadic’s pleas to the Empire to respect its own standards and rules are falling on deaf ears. The UN’s viceroy “administering” the occupied province of Kosovo on behalf of the Albanian separatists stated confidently on Sunday that talks about the province’s final status would begin soon. The talks are supposedly contingent upon the UN special envoy’s review of the situation in the province – but the review has been delayed. All the Albanian provisional government had to do to get its way was pretend to be upholding the ridiculously vague and meaningless “standards” of democracy, so the UN could proclaim their policy a success. They haven’t so much as tried, yet they remain confident in successfully claiming statehood, as does the viceroy. Now why might that be?

Could it be that Albanians are attuned to the fact that the U.S.-government-funded propaganda outlet, “Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty” persistently calls the occupied province by its Albanized name, “Kosova”? Or that the U.S. envoy to the province already speaks of it as an independent entity, though officially denying the U.S. is leaning that way? Or that the new Albanian government has begun openly calling for Kosovo’s independence, albeit under a sort of protectorate now “enjoyed” by Bosnia?

Surely even Boris Tadic cannot believe there was anything “democratic” in the naked aggression of NATO against his country in the spring of 1999, or that the occupation of Kosovo since June that year has had anything to do with liberty of either Albanians or Serbs. Surely the conduct of Imperial viceroys in Kosovo and nearby Bosnia is all the proof one needs to see how much the Empire cares about “democracy,” or “human rights,” liberty, or law.

Then again, this is the man who in September 2004 wrote Bush the Lesser that “American people are fortunate that you are their leader, as the people of Serbia are fortunate to have your support and friendship, and the support and friendship of your nation.”

Americans’ good fortune aside, if Washington’s treatment of Serbia has been “support and friendship,” what would hostility look like?

Democracy at Home

Perhaps the most risibly ironic of all is the fact that, while Tadic pleads for “democracy” with people known for its most egregious abuses, the state (?) of which he is president is making democracy into a mockery. Whether as part of the corrupt, querulous DOS regime or the current ramshackle coalition, an unelected group of economic “experts” of Keynesian persuasion has been controlling Serbia’s economy. Not only does the G17 Plus control the central bank, the treasury, and the tax administration, it also runs the branch of the police that prosecutes alleged financial crimes. The power to tax has been called the power to destroy – and G17 firebrand Mladjan Dinkic has been destroying away for years.

Even NATO lobbyist and faithful “reformer” Prvoslav Davinic – who as minister of defense almost finished the job of gelding the Serbian military that none other than Boris Tadic started back in 2003 – had to fall before Dinkic’s scythe of total economic control. Accused of defrauding the state by paying too much money for military equipment, to an Atlantic Council buddy no less, Davinic was kicked out of G17 and forced to resign his post. But the scandal did not stop there. Now the government of Montenegro, which has sabotaged and obstructed the Union with Serbia ever since its inception, is threatening to leave the Union over the choice of a new defense minister. It just so happens that the G17 favors the dismantling of the Union, and its senior officials advocate just such a course in the wake of the present situation. How very convenient, indeed.

While Tadic is having fun editorializing about democracy and touring Imperial capitals, a group of unelected “economists” is destroying his country. It would be funny, if it weren’t tragic.

The Gaping Disconnect

Boris Tadic, embraced by the Empire as a “reformist,” is indeed the perfect man for their agenda in Serbia: naïve, clueless, hopelessly out of his league. Not only does he believe in unconditional submission to Washington, he also tries to dress that submission in the language of dignity. He can be a metaphor for all enablers of the Empire, in the Balkans and elsewhere, who do not let facts get in the way of delusions. In Serbia, elsewhere in the world, and even in the United States of America – as last weekend’s mass protests against the Emperor suggest – there is a gaping disconnect between the rulers and their subjects, one of which the subjects are becoming increasingly aware. Perhaps when they finally realize the Empire does not mean them well, that is has broken all the laws and rules of civilization, and that most of what passes for politics is nothing but bloodthirsty demagoguery, the subjects might stop being subjects and start being free. Now that would be liberty! Sadly, it’s not the kind of liberty people like Boris Tadic have in mind.

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for debuted in November 2000.