THEORY OF EUROPEAN STUPIDITY
The alternative take on the origins of the NATO war against Yugoslavia starts from the fact that the war did not derive from big power reactions to local events in the Balkans at all.
Instead, this theory starts from the premise thatthe Clinton administration was seeking a war against Yugoslavia as a means for achieving political goals outside the Balkans altogether. The conflict between the Serbian state and the Kosovar Albanians was to be exploited as a means to achieve US strategic goals outside the Balkans on the international plane.
This conception turns the cognitive map used by the proponents ofAmerican stupidity on its head. Thus, for example:
- Instead of thinking that the US was ready to overthrow the norms of the international order for the sake of the Kosovar Albanians,we assume exactly the opposite: the US was wanting to overthrow the principles of state sovereignty and the authority of the UN Security Council and used the Kosovo crisis as an instrument for doing so.
- Instead of imagining that the US was ready to shut Russia out of European politics for the sake of the Kosovar Albanians,we assume that the Clinton administration used the NATO attack on Yugoslavia precisely as an instrument for consolidating Russia's exclusion.
- Instead of assuming that the US was ready to abandon its policy of engagement with China for the sake of the Kosovo Albanians,we assume that the Clinton administration used the war against Yugoslavia to inaugurate a new phase of its policy towards China.
- And last but not least,instead of assuming that the US firmly subordinated the West European states to its military and political leadership in order create a new dawn in the Western Balkans, it used a number of ingenious devices -- especially the dilettantish vanity of messieurs Chirac and Jospin -- to drag the West European states into a Balkan war that would consolidate US hegemony over them, the EU and the Euro's development.
This is where theEuropean stupidity enters the theory.
The one strategic interest of the main West European states (Germany and France) in the Balkans lies in maintaining stable and strong enough states in the region to keep their impoverished populations firmly in place.West European military intervention in the Balkans has essentially been concerned with preventing mass migrations Westwards when states collapse. Anglo-French military involvement in Yugoslavia through UNPROFOR was essentially about that: 'humanitarian aid' in the war zone to ensure that the civilian population did not leave the war theatre. Italian military intervention in Albania in 1997 was about the same thing: stanching the flood of humanity out of Albania Westwards, by rebuilding an Albanian state while blocking emigration and asylum rights. Anglo-French efforts in Macedonia and Albania in the current war are similarly about caging the Kosovar Albanians within the Western Balkans. Yet now the American air force has, with European support, turned the Western Balkans into twenty years (minimum) of chaos from which all the energetic younger generations of all ethnic groups will rightly wish to flee West for decades to come. This is the first European stupidity.
The second strategic interest of the West European states (especially Germany) in Eastern Europe is to maintain stable, friendly governments in Russia and Ukraine. That too can be ruled out as a result of this war as far as Russia is concerned; Ukraine will have to choose between Russia and the USA (the EU is not a serious alternative. And both Russia and Ukraine could spiral out of control with disastrous consequences for Central Europe Western Europe.This is the second European stupidity.
The third strategic interest of the main West European states has been to combine an effort to bandwagon with US power with preserving an effective check on US efforts to impose its will on their foreign policies, whether in Europe or other parts of the world. That too seems finished now.The basic West European check on US power was the French veto at the UN Security Council, restraining the US with its 2 votes (including that of the UK). Now that Chirac has chosen to discredit the UN Security Council, he has undermined his own ability to speak for Europe at the UNSC and to be a useful partner for other states seeking to gain European help to restrain the US. That is a third stupidity.
A fourth West European priority was to be able to claim that the EU is an independent, West European political entity with a dominant say at least over European affairs.Yet the current war demonstrates that this is a piece of pretentious bluff: the EU has played absolutely no role whatever in the launching or the management of this war. It is simply a subordinate policy instrument in the hands of a transatlantic organisation, the North Atlantic Council, handling the economic statecraft side of NATO's policy implementation. And within the North Atlantic Council the United States rules: the way the crisis ends will shape the future of Europe for at least a decade, yet that decision will be taken in the White House: the West European states are political voyeurs with their noses pressed against the windows of the Oval Office trying to read the lips of the people in there deciding Europe's fate. This is a fourth stupidity.