Applied Rovian Denialism

In spite of the abundant revelations in the preceding year, 2014 in the Balkans seems to portend more of the same. Everyone is still in full-on reality denial mode. Or, rather, entrenched in the imperial belief that assertions can "create their own reality."

Still a Lie

In "Kosovo," a province of Serbia occupied by NATO in 1999, ethnically cleansed of non-Albanians and declared an independent state in 2008, local officials "elected" in November took their oaths. Reports from the Serbian media indicate the overseeing EU officials simply covered "Kosovian" state symbols on the paperwork given to Serb collaborators with masking tape (!).

Sami Lushtaku, leader of the terrorist KLA currently jailed and charged with atrocities during the 1998-99 war against Serbia, was granted temporary release to take the oath as mayor of Srbica, renamed by the Albanians to Skenderaj.

Though the Serbs in the north of the occupied province overwhelmingly boycotted the vote, the EU, Empire, NATO, Pristina and Belgrade are all pretending everything was just fine, legal and legitimate. One Serb who agreed to go along – Krstimir Pantic of Kosovska Mitrovica – apparently had a sudden change of heart, resigning after being "elected" mayor by a handful of votes. The other token candidate, Dimitrije Janicijevic, was found shot early Thursday. The media immediately blamed the "hardliner" (i.e. resisting) Serbs, but as the case has been with almost all crime in the occupied province since June 1999, the perpetrators are unknown.

Crime and Reward

A similar fate probably awaits the EU "investigation" into allegations of KLA-organized organ harvesting from Serb captives, which wrapped up this week. Led by State Department operative and ICTY prosecutor John Clint Williamson, the investigators "failed to find a single grave of the abducted Serbs’ remains." Along with illegal trade in drugs, guns and sex slaves and other organized crime activities, organ-harvesting of "disappeared" Serbs was detailed in a December 2010 report by PACE parliamentarian Dick Marty.

With the search for evidence in the trusty hands of the EU, US Department of State and the ICTY, the powers-that-be have declared there’s nothing to see, and everyone should move along. Thus FIFA, the world soccer federation, this week allowed "Kosovo" to play friendly matches against national teams. This is a major boost for "Kosovian" ethnic Albanians, after being recognized by Facebook in December: soccer is the most popular sport in the Balkans. However, FIFA cannot actually recognize "Kosovian" membership just yet, since the "country" lacks UN recognition. That will probably be the next demand the Empire and the EU make of Belgrade.

Not Hamlets, but Richards

Having capitulated to every demand from Washington and Brussels in 2013, the governing quislings in Belgrade are to be "rewarded" by the beginning of formal negotiations on joining the EU, towards the end of this month. Having committed themselves to bringing the country to ruin, they are now squabbling over how to divide the ashes.

The Economist only lagged behind this column by a decade (or 14 months) in comparing the goings-on in Belgrade with something out of Shakespeare, but in bemoaning the "shenanigans" of the quislingocracy the magazine is missing the point: the goal of the politicians involved was never to benefit Serbia – no matter what they’ve said publicly – but to benefit themselves. To that end they have been willing to make a pact with anyone, from the Empire to the Devil.

Whether it is the Radicals reinventing themselves as the Progressives to gain approval of Brussels and Washington, or the Socialists allying with the Democrats – only to backstab them and join the Progressives four years later – for the same reason, politics in Serbia is a real-life "Game of Thrones," only somewhat less sordid that George Martin’s fantasy.

Between 2008 and 2012, the Empire-backed coalition of Boris Tadic’s Democrats and Ivica Dacic’s Socialists established complete control over all institutions in the country, using them to promote a pro-Imperial agenda. Prevented by popular resentment from delivering on their promises in full, they were replaced by the supposedly more "nationalist" Progressives. Now the Progs are believing their own propaganda about their supposed popularity in opinion polls, and are itching to get out of the coalition with the Socialists and rule alone.

According to agencies quoting the Belgrade daily Politika, President Nikolic will call a snap parliamentary election for March 16. This will coincide with local elections in Belgrade, whose mayor, Dragan Djilas, was overthrown by the ruling coalition in September 2013. The coup may have had something to do with the fact that Djilas had become the new head of the Democrats, after Boris Tadic resigned following the electoral defeat.

In reporting on the possible snap election, Reuters cites "analysts" who say "a strong win for the [Progs] could make economic reforms easier in the long run." Well, of course absolute power would make things easier for those who have it – even Bush the Younger recognized this ("A dictatorship would be a lot easier"), before becoming Emperor. But this isn’t about reforms, economic or otherwise: it’s about getting and holding as much power as possible.

Motes and Beams

To any outside actors, however, the quislings of Belgrade remain pathetically subservient. Last October, Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan visited "Kosovo" and called it "his country". Following a feeble protest from Belgrade, he refused to apologize this week, claiming the Turkish phrase was one of respect and "intended as an expression of friendship towards Serbia." Were he really a friend, he’d have reminded Belgrade how long Turkey has been waiting to join the EU.

The easiest way of testing Erdogan’s claim would be having a Belgrade politician visit the Bosnian Serb Republic and claim it was "like his own country." Denunciations from Sarajevo would arrive at near-speed of light. Erdogan, of course, would be able to say this in Sarajevo without much trouble – in fact, his Foreign Minister has more or less done so, back in 2009.

Spiteful Similarities

Yet Bosnian and Serbian politics are uncannily alike, in that most politicians are guided by personal interests first and foremost, even those who claim to care about – and in some rare instances, deliver – actual interests of their ethnic communities.

Backstabbing and scheming among the Muslim politicians, as well as unwillingness or inability to work with the Croats (who, to be fair, also squabble internally) has kept the Federation half of Bosnia mired in its own waste since the 2010 election. Yet both communities refuse to deal with their own problems, preferring to blame the Serb Republic instead. The Empire is thinking along the same lines, sending money and operatives to the opposition in hopes of unseating the current government of President Dodik and installing something more Belgrade-like in his place. The general election is scheduled for October this year.

Meanwhile, however, the renegade Croat President of the Federation sacked a key financial official, triggering a withdrawal of promised IMF funds – necessary to fund the bloated Federation bureaucracy.

Map and Territory

As philosopher Alfred Korzybski famously noted, the map is not the territory. Yet both Imperial and EU officials and their regional clients firmly believe that they can magically alter territory by making alterations on the map. Sooner or later, something will put that belief to the test. It may even happen this year.

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.