Promises to Break

Normally the beginning of January would be a relatively quiet time in the Balkans. Winter temperatures and a blanket of snow tend to cool passions. Even the Empire and its hangers-on find it easier to adventure in Africa instead. So it seems a bit strange that both the quisling government of Serbia and the Albanian separatists occupying Kosovo are in a hurry – the former to capitulate, the latter to accept the capitulation and demand more.

The two sides’ motivations are seemingly at odds. If the Albanians are rushing to secure their “independence” before the Empire – on whose backing they depend – becomes too weak, then Belgrade’s eagerness to appease them is entirely irrational. Unless the politicians are basically selling out the country to buy themselves more time – not for some sort of miracle, either, but merely to stay in power just a little bit longer. Even if there is nothing left to rule.


Following the centennial celebrations of Albania’s independence in November, champions of “Natural Albania” have become even more aggressive. First the “Kosovians” introduced a visa requirement on the “integrated border” established in early December. Then they barred Serbs – including President Nikolic – from Christmas celebrations in the occupied province. “Kosovian” police arrested ten Serbs attending the Christmas services, and reportedly savagely beat some of them. Albanians from the three counties in southern Serbia adjoining the occupied province erected a monument to their “liberation army”, which NATO itself helped abolish back in 2001.

All this is fairly standard saber-rattling to stake out a dominant bargaining position, figures the seasoned observer of affairs in Kosovo, Gerard Galucci. What baffles him is why the Albanians don’t seize on the opportunity to legitimize their land grab by offering to cede the troublesome, Serb-inhabited sliver in the north back to Serbia. But the reason Thaci and others are insisting on “inviolable borders” of Kosovo (but not of Serbia, obviously) is that they have no intention of stopping there.


Belgrade’s response to this train of abuses has been to whine to the Empire about how mean the Albanians were, and then proceed to preemptively surrender to demands the Albanians have yet to make.

In late December, pro-government newspapers published a document purporting to be a “platform” written by President Nikolic for negotiations with “Kosovo.” The document was written in English, though, so the likelihood of Nikolic’s actual authorship is nil.

While maintaining the “platform” was secret and unofficial, regime’s representatives then met with the local Serbs – who have been resisting Albanian and Imperial efforts to subjugate them for years – and obtained their qualified support for the proposal. Once back in Belgrade, though, they promptly gutted the document.

The result was a Resolution of Serbia’s National Assembly, adopted by a majority vote in the middle of the night between January 12 and 13. The debate that preceded the vote was vulgar, ad hominem, nauseating to watch, and entirely pointless. The ruling coalition had enough votes from the very beginning, and the entire circus was staged to create a pretense of statesmanship.

What the Resolution amounts to is capitulation: Serbia would recognize “Kosovo” as an independent state in all but name, abandon its citizens in the occupied province, and sign just about anything, in exchange for nothing more than vague promises, if that.

As for the monument to Albanian terrorists in Presevo, Belgrade decided to ask the Albanians nicely to remove it. Not surprisingly, they said no. Serbian police did intervene, however – to arrest a group of Serb activists intent on the monument’s demolition.

The Runaway Prime Minister

Taking center stage in the circus has been Serbia’s Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic. Having taken the helm of the Socialist Party (once led by Slobodan Milosevic), Dacic first betrayed his voters in 2008, by allying with Boris Tadic’s Democrats, then betrayed the Democrats last summer to ally with Nikolic’s Progressives. By this point there is nothing he has not betrayed for the sake of coming to, and staying in, power. And if that includes hundreds of thousands of people, or the country itself, so be it.

Reuters approvingly quoted Dacic’s rationalization that Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo was "practically non-existent.” While that may be true enough, isn’t statesmanship just as much about appearances? It certainly matters that such sovereignty still exists on paper, and it certainly doesn’t mean that Serbian sovereignty over Serbia ought to be abolished. But that is precisely what Dacic’s government is doing.

While President Nikolic seems to be far more reticent, differences in opinion between him and Dacic may well be little more than “good cop, bad cop” smokescreen laid down by Serbia’s mainstream media, less in service of the regime than their foreign owners and financiers. After all, Nikolic made clear where his ultimate loyalties were months ago.

Plumbing the Depths

Predictably, appeasement has had zero effect on the Albanians. In an interview to AP, “Kosovian” PM Hashim Thaci said there would be “no partition, no autonomy, no special status” for the Serbs. Only unconditional surrender would do. So Dacic, in another statement for Reuters, brought up the prospect of recognizing Kosovo in the UN…

Nor is the government’s groveling limited to the Albanians. Earlier this week, Croatia’s PM made a visit to Belgrade. After his meeting with Dacic, news came that a Serb newspaper in Frankfurt, Germany had sacked its editor, a longtime critic of Croatian bigotry. Apparently when the soon-to-be-EU-member Croatia denies what few Serbs remain within its borders the rights to life, liberty and property, that is “democratic,” while criticizing it is “hate speech.”

Even some in the Empire are surprised by Serbia’s subservience. According to State Department’s Philip Reeker, “many of his colleagues doubted the agreement on integrated crossings management would ever be implemented, and yet it happened.” (Tanjug) He then encouraged Belgrade to continue capitulating.

Embracing Big Brother

While there might have been doubts just a few months back, none remain now. The regime in Belgrade has broken all the promises to its people, choosing to keep only the promise to the Empire that it will break Serbia.

Why? Albanians may not have much to do with it, for all the “personal” attention of some people. They are just reaping the benefits of a process intended to help the Empire.

During the 1990s, it was convenient having the Serbs as an enemy on which all the hatred, prejudice and guilt – outlawed by the commissars of political correctness – could be projected. In 2000, the Empire-backed opposition seized power on promises that the demonization would stop, that the “international community” only wanted the head of Milosevic – the one man to blame for everything, supposedly – and there would be freedom and prosperity. Yet that was when the true torment began, because Empire’s victory would not be complete until the Serbs themselves confessed to their evil, and demanded everything that was inflicted upon them as just punishment. Until they came not just to love Big Brother, but proclaim his virtue around the world.

Stalin’s purges in the 1930s were more than simple murder. When the tortured victims proclaimed the Party and the State to be infallible and invincible, their show trials became a triumph of Soviet social engineering. For all its public hatred of Communism, the Empire took its lessons to heart.

Washington, Brussels and their stooges in Belgrade obviously believe there is no limit to the abuses they can heap upon the Serbs – that they are too broken, pacified, and brainwashed by the media and NGO operatives to resist. Yet Serbia ranks just behind the U.S. in ownership of weapons per capita.

So far, those weapons have remained silent. So far.

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.