Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Sellout

In the early hours of January 23, Chinese news agency Xinhua carried a story with the following title: "FM: Serbia supports Europe's engagement on its territory under int'l law"

The story quoted a statement by Vuk Jeremic during his visit to Romania, when he reportedly said:

Our conviction is that the EU, in accordance with the international law, or with a new U.N. resolution, will send a mission to Kosovo and this will clear off all issues linked to such an engagement's legal conformity."
(NB: by "this" Jeremic is most likely referring to the SAA, which Serbia is supposed to sign next week)

Prime Minister Kostunica, who is supposedly Jeremic's boss (it's no secret that Jeremic actually works for President Tadic), has said that an EU mission to Kosovo would be a violation of the SAA. So, unless Kostunica secretly changed his mind, this statement by Jeremic is direct opposition to the established government policy.

Both Kostunica and Tadic have denied reports that they have struck a deal before the second round of presidential elections; according to these rumors (published by Blic, a foreign-owned tabloid with open sympathies for Europhiles, "democratic reformers" and other transnational progressivists), Kostunica demanded rejection of the EU mission to Kosovo as the condition for supporting Tadic against the Radical challenger Tomislav Nikolic. To even have a fighting chance in the runoff, Tadic absolutely needs Kostunica's support; but will Kostunica lend it, if Tadic's pet diplomat is actually inviting the EU to Kosovo?

Taken at face value, assuming it was correctly translated and properly quoted (Not to doubt Xinhua, but Jeremic speaks decent English, and ought to know better than to say "clear off" when he means "clear up."), Jeremic's statement is an invitation. He doesn't say the EU can only send a mission in case of a new UN resolution; that would be acceptable, since any UN resolution on Kosovo replacing 1244 would have to get Russian approval, and Moscow is a more principled advocate of Serbian interests at this point than certain members of the cabinet in Belgrade.

What he does say is that Belgrade ("we") expects the EU to send a mission anyway, and that the SAA would "clear off" any questions about the mission's legality.

George Lucas's otherwise execrable "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" (1999) had one redeeming scene. At one point, the Sith lord, who is orchestrating the downfall of the Galactic Republic by instigating a conflict over a small planet, commands his proxies:

Darth Sidious: This turn of events is unfortunate. We must accelerate our plans. Begin landing your troops.
Nute Gunray: My lord, is that... legal?
Darth Sidious: I will make it legal.

And this just in: Hashim Thaci, leader of the terrorist KLA and now "Prime Minister" of occupied Kosovo, announced today after meeting with EU and NATO officials that a declaration of independence was a "matter of days."

Coincidence? No way.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The American Jihad

I've been meaning to go see Charlie Wilson's War, mostly because I'm a big fan of Aaron Sorkin's writing style (our politics differ substantially, but the man is a writing genius). I had no illusions about the veracity of the film; unlike most folks, I actually knew that President Carter authorized the arming of jihadists six months before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, on advice of Zbigniew Brzezinski, with the goal of provoking Moscow. And from my own experiences in the Balkans (and in Washington, DC) I know that many policymakers in the Imperial establishment even now see militant Islam as a potential ally, or at least something that can be used as a weapon.

But it took reading an excellent review by Chalmers Johnson (author of Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis) to really connect the dots.

Furthermore, in his introduction to Johnson's review, Tom Englehardt mentions an important detail about former CIA director William Casey:

...William Casey, the "Catholic Knight of Malta educated by Jesuits," who "believed fervently that by spreading the Catholic Church's reach and power he could contain Communism's advance, or reverse it." And, if you couldn't have the Church do it, as in Afghanistan in the 1980s, then second best, Casey believed, were the Islamic warriors of jihad, the more extreme the better, with whom, in his religio-anticommunism, he believed himself to have much in common. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend, after all.) Casey was, in fact, an American jihadi, eager in the 1980s not just to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan, but to push "the Afghan jihad into the Soviet Union itself."

I still want to see Charlie Wilson's War, but I think I may wait for the DVD.