Winter of Discontent

After the Afterglow

At least one national nightmare finally ended on the morning of November 7, when the media frenzy over the election finally abated. An entire industry devoted to perception management dutifully created the perception that the race was close and the outcome fateful. In actuality, it was nothing of the sort. The Clinton Restoration abides, and already there are calls for Hillary in 2016.

Just days earlier, Secretary Clinton was photographed hugging a terrorist accused of running a mafia state trafficking in drugs, weapons and human organs. The “independence” of Kosovo – Serbian province occupied by NATO after an illegal war in 1999 – “cannot be discussed,” she declared, following the embrace. “It is personal,” Clinton said, underscoring the point by visiting a colossal gilded statue of her husband and a store named after herself.

There was, at least, truth in advertising.

Getting Her Wish

Teamed up with Baroness Ashton of Upholland, EU commissar for foreign affairs, Clinton toured “Kosovo,” Albania, Bosnia, and Serbia at the end of October. The message she bore was nothing new: Albanians got unconditional support, the Serbs got demands for unconditional surrender, and in Bosnia she spoke of the need for “reforms” to “put the interests of the country first” over “narrow ethnic or party or personal agendas” (AFP). Just days later, she got her wish – after a fashion.

No sooner had the foreign envoys left, when two bitter rivals in Bosnian politics announced a surprise pact. Just weeks earlier, Serb Republic president Milorad Dodik was pushing for the resignation of the country’s FM Zlatko Lagumdzija. Then, on November 1, the two reached an agreement on a wide spectrum of issues, from the civil service and the judiciary to utilities and the central bank. Most importantly, all these reforms would actually contribute to the country’s functionality, without serving the hidden agenda of subverting the Dayton division of powers.

Few saw the deal coming. For one thing, Dodik and Lagumdzija both lead social-democratic parties, who have been bitterly fighting each other over ideology as well as the country’s ethnic divide. What made it possible, in all likelihood, was Lagumdzija’s disillusionment with his former partners, the Muslim nationalist SDA party. They immediately launched a media attack on Lagumdzija, dubbing him a traitor to the Bosnian cause. During a nasty TV interview, which he ill-advisedly agreed to, Lagumdzija got sick and was rushed to a hospital.

Needless to say, this turn of events is not what Clinton and Ashton had in mind. The Empire’s Bosnia policy has been self-serving for years, focused not on reality but on projected fetishes and fantasies. While some Imperial analysts dismiss the Dodik-Lagumdzija deal, it may yet prove a major shift in Bosnian political dynamics, away from petty ethnic politics and towards a semblance of consensus and order. So, watch Brussels and Washington do everything they can to ruin it in the coming days.

Fools Rush In

On the other hand, there was next to no resistance to Imperial diktat in Belgrade, where the government finally quit waffling and promised immediate action to reach a “final solution” – in the most unfortunate phrase of Prime Minister Dacic – to the Kosovo situation. In fact, Dacic has already met with Thaci – a man he would normally, as head of Serbia’s police, have the legal obligation to arrest on charges of terrorism and organized crime.

Given that, per Clinton, the “independence” of the occupied province cannot be discussed, and that Thaci will agree to nothing less, it is unclear what exactly there is to actually negotiate. The coalition of Socialists, Progressives and “Regionalists” in Belgrade is pretty much agreeing to recognize the land grab. And for what? A promise of future talks about maybe joining the EU some day!

By way of comparison, Prince Regent Paul was rightly vilified for signing a treaty with Hitler in March 1941, but he at least succeeded in getting some terms out of Berlin. (Hitler would have broken them, certainly, but that’s beside the point.) These guys aren’t even trying.


So, Bosnians are likely to be thwarted by Empire once again, Albanians will continue to think they aren’t getting everything they want fast enough, and the Serbs will face yet another treason by their politicians. All of this points to a rather unhappy winter ahead.

As for the Empire, it may bask in the afterglow of electoral triumph for the moment, but the systemic problems will still be there after it wears off. Unable to solve them, it will turn to war as a distraction. Back in May, the Emperor told the outgoing Russian president he would have “more flexibility” on issues after the election. Indeed, Washington has been reluctant lately to embark on any interventionist projects that might backfire at inopportune times. With opposition to imperialism denied a voice in the corridors of power, expect the re-energized regime to start another little war somewhere, and soon.

Options are open as to where, from “liberating” Mali to escalating the civil war in Syria or attacking Iran. In any case, China and Russia will soon find out if all the hostile rhetoric in the past months has been mere campaign posturing, or a true bipartisan consensus about maintaining Imperial dominion.

One place to watch for the reaction is the Balkans. There are already signs of discontent in Moscow, with prominent analysts doubting the good faith of the regime in Belgrade. As well they should – but the question is, what do they intend to do about it?

Brussels, Washington – and oddly enough, Berlin – seem determined to cement their conquest of the Balkans, wrecking Russia’s energy projects in the region. It was Serbia’s agony in 1999 that broke the spell of the West over Moscow, and ushered in the “age of Putin”. Russians may not feel as if they owed Serbia anything for that, though on the other hand they might. But from the standpoint of practical politics alone, tackling the “color revolution” virus at its source would merit involvement. And Vladimir Putin has repeatedly proven himself very practical.

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.