THEORY OF AMERICAN STUPIDITY: 1-4
The notion of American Stupidity is now becoming a European idea during the course of the present war. It has become the absolutely central conceptual mechanism for overcoming the contradictions in the efforts to justify the NATO air war against Yugoslavia.
These contradictions derive from one single source: the attempt to explain the origins of the NATO attack as lying in a reactive effort to respond to the plight of the Kosovar Albanians. The contradictions disappear if we explain the attack as an attempt involve the European NATO members in a war to destroy the existing Serbian state. But that latter explanation raises a great many new questions about this war which NATO governments are seeking, so far very successfully, to evade.
The distinction between seeking to help the Kosovar Albanians and seeking to destroy the existing Serbian state may seem a fine one. Common sense may suggest that the two goals are simply two sides of a single coin: supporting one side in a local conflict against the other side. But the NATO attack on Yugoslavia has involved much more than support for one side against another. It has entailed a decision by NATO to overthrow the normative cornerstones of the post-war international order: the principle of state sovereignty and the outlawing of aggression against a state without UN Security Council mandate. To take that step, the NATO powers could not simply claim that they were opposed to the domestic policies of the Yugoslav state. They had to claim that they were taking drastic action to save the Kosovo Albanians from a genocidal catastrophe. More, they had to claim that nothing other than military aggression against Serbia could prevent the catastrophe because all other methods had been tried and had failed.
From this stance come all the contradictions in the NATO position. For during the 14 months up to the launch of the NATO war, the West European and Russian governments were in continuous conflict with the USA over Kosovo, the USA systematically tried to sabotage a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Yugoslavia and the way in which the Clinton Administration launched the war invited a genocidal slaughter of the Kosovo Albanians.
The European variant says that for 14 months the 'International Community' tried every possible means of resolving the conflict peacefully. All efforts were thwarted by the Yugoslav authorities. So there was no choice but to turn to US air power. The US variant claims that for 14 months the US was struggling to gain agreement to a war against Yugoslavia, but the Europeans and Russians were blocking war.But finally, the US managed to push the Russians out of the picture (along with the UN) and bounce the West Europeans into a just war that they had been resisting.
These two variants may not appear incompatible, but a glance at that 14 month history shows that they were, because the failure of the European-Russian efforts to gain a negotiated solution was the direct result of the activities of the US State Department.Only for a brief moment at the very start of the current phase of the Kosovo crisis did the USA appear to be on the same line as the Europeans, in viewing the KLA as a terrorist group. To search for the real origins of the war we need to survey this history.
1. The US both encouraged the Serbian government to launch the counter-insurgency and wanted war against the Serbian government because of its counter-insurgency.
From early March 1998, Albright wanted war against Serbia on the grounds that the Serbian government was genocidal.On March 7th,1998, just after and in response to the Serbian security force operation in the Benitsar region of Kosovo, she declared: "We are not going to stand by and watch the Serbian authorities do in Kosovo what they can no longer get away with doing in Bosnia." Two days later she reserved the right for the US to take unilateral action against the Serbian government, saying, 'We know what we need to know to believe we are seeing ethnic cleansing all over again.' This remained the US line right the way through from that first Serbian counter-insurgency drive against the KLA in Benitsar: Albright demanded war against Serbia.
But the signal for the Serbian government to launch its counter-insurgency in Benistar also, intriguingly, came from Albright's own State Department. This signal was given by the United States special envoy to the region,Ambassador Gelbard. The BBC correspondent in Belgrade reported that Gelbard flew into Belgrade to brand the KLA as a terrorist group.
'"I know a terrorist when I see one and these men are terrorists," he said...At the time, the KLA was believed to number just a several hundred armed men. Mr. Gelbard's words were interpreted in the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade, as a green light for a security forces operation against the KLA and the special police conducted two raids in the Benitsar region in March.'
So the Clinton administration encouraged the Serbian counter-insurgency in order to liberate the Kosovo Albanians from it through a NATO war.The Europeans on the other hand, wanted the Serbian counter-offensive against the KLA to result in an internationally brokered compromise peace granting Kosovo Autonomy within Serbia.