From: "Chierico Navigante"

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Testimony by S. Trifkovic
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
House of Commons, Ottawa, February 17, 2000

The war waged by NATO against Yugoslavia in 1999 marks a significant turning
point, not only for America and NATO but also for "the West" as a whole. The
principle of state sovereignty, and of the rule of law itself, has been
subverted in the name of an allegedly humanitarian ideology. Facts have been
converted into fiction, and even the fictions invoked to justify the act are
giving up all pretense to credibility. Old systems for the protection of
national liberties, political, legal and economic, have now been subverted
into vehicles for their destruction. But so far from demonstrating the vigor
of Western ruling elites in their ruthless pursuit of an ideology of
multi-ethnic democracy and international human rights, the whole Balkan
entanglement may be as a disturbing revelation of those ruling elites' moral
and cultural decay. I shall therefore devote my remarks to the consequences
of the war for the emerging new international system, and - ultimately - for
the security and stability of the Western world itself.

Almost a decade separated 'Desert Storm' from 'Humanitarian Bombing.' In
1991 the Maastricht Treaty was signed, and the rest of the decade has
brought the gradual usurpation of traditional European sovereignty by a
corporate-controlled Brussels regime of unelected bureaucrats who now feel
bold enough to tell Austria how to run its domestic affairs. On this side of
the ocean we had the passage of NAFTA and in 1995 the Uruguay round of GATT
gave us the WTO. The nineties were thus a decade of gradual foundation
laying for the new international order. The denigration of sovereign
nationhood hypnotized the public into applauding the dismantling of the very
institutions that offered the only hope of representative empowerment. The
process is sufficiently far advanced for President Clinton to claim ("A Just
and Necessary War," NYT, May 23, 1999) that, had it not bombed Serbia, "NATO
itself would have been discredited for failing to defend the very values
that give it meaning."

The war was in fact both unjust and unnecessary, but the significance of Mr.
Clinton's statement is in that he has openly declared null and void the
international system in existence ever since the Peace of Westphalia (1648).
It was an imperfect and often violated system, but nevertheless it provided
the basis for international discourse from which only the assorted red and
black totalitarians have openly deviated. Since 24 March 1999 this is being
replaced by the emerging Clinton Doctrine, a carbon copy of the Brezhnev
doctrine of limited sovereignty that supposedly justified the Soviet-led
occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Like his Soviet predecessor, Mr.
Clinton used an abstract and ideologically loaded notion - that of universal
"human rights" - as the pretext to violate the law and tradition. The
Clinton Doctrine is rooted in the bipartisan hubris of Washington's foreign
policy "elite," tipsy on its own heady brew of the "world's last and only
superpower." Legal formalities are passť, and moral imperatives - never
sacrosanct in international affairs - are replaced by a cynical exercise in
situational morality, dependent on an actor's position within the superpower
's value system.

And so imperial high-mindedness is back, but in a new form. Old religion,
national flags and nationalist rivalry play no part. But the yearning for
excitement and importance, that took the British to Peking, Kabul and
Khartoum, the French to Fashoda and Saigon, and the Americans to Manila, has
now re-emerged. As a result a war was waged on an independent nation because
it refused foreign troops on its soil. All other justifications are post
facto rationalizations. The powers that waged that war have aided and
abetted secession by an ethnic minority, secession that - once formally
effected - will render many European borders tentative. In the context of
any other European nation the story would sound surreal. The Serbs, however,
have been demonized to the point where they must not presume to be treated
like others.

But the fact that the West could do anything it chose to the Serbs does not
explain why it should. It is hardly worth refuting, yet again, the feeble
excuses for intervention. "Humanitarian" argument has been invoked. But what
about Kashmir, Sudan, Uganda, Angola, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Algeria?
Properly videotaped and Amanpourized, each would be good for a dozen
"Kosovos". There was no "genocide," of course. Compared to the killing
fields of the Third World Kosovo was an unremarkable, low-intensity
conflict, uglier perhaps than Northern Ireland a decade ago, but much less
so than Kurdistan. A total of 2,108 fatalities on all sides in Kosovo until
June 1999, in a province of over two million, favorably compares to the
annual homicide tally of 450 in Washington D.C. (population 600,000).
Counting corpses is poor form, but bearing in mind the brutalities and
"ethnic cleansings" ignored by NATO - or even condoned, notably in Croatia
in 1995, or in eastern Turkey - it is clear that "Kosovo" is not about
universal principles. In Washington Abdullah Ocalan is a terrorist, but KLA
are freedom fighters.

What was it about, then? "Regional stability", we were told next: if we didn
't stop the conflict it would engulf Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, the whole of
the Balkans in fact, with much of Europe to follow. But the cure - bombing
Serbia into detaching an ethnically pure-Albanian Kosovo to the KLA
narco-mafia, under NATO's benevolent eye - will unleash a chain reaction
throughout the ex-Communist half of Europe. Its first victim will be the
former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, where the restive Albanian minority
comprises a third of the total population. And will the Pristina model not
be demanded by the Hungarians in Rumania (more numerous than Kosovo's
Albanians), and in southern Slovakia? What will stop the Russians in the
Ukraine, in Moldova, in Estonia, and in northern Kazakhstan from following
suit? Or the Serbs and Croats in the chronically unstable and unviable
Dayton-Bosnia? And finally, when the Albanians get their secession on the
grounds of their numbers, will the same apply when the Latinos in southern
California or Texas eventually outnumber their Anglo neighbors and start
demanding bilingual statehood, leading to reunification with Mexico? Are
Russia and China to threaten the United States with bombing if Washington
does not comply?

The outcome in Kosovo, for now, is in line with a deeply flawed model of the
new Balkan order that seeks to satisfy the aspirations of all ethnic groups
in former Yugoslavia - except the Serbs. This is a disastrous strategy for
all concerned. Even if forced into submission now, the Serbs shall have no
stake in the ensuing order of things. Sooner or later they will fight to
recover Kosovo. The Carthaginian peace imposed on the Serbs today will cause
chronic imbalance and strife for decades to come. It will entangle the West
in a Balkan quagmire, and guarantee a new war as soon as Mr. Clinton's
successors lose interest in underwriting the ill-gotten gains of America's
Balkan clients.

NATO has won, for now, but "the West" has lost. The war has undermined the
very principles that constitute the West, namely the rule of law. The notion
of "human rights" can never provide a basis for either the rule of law or
morality. "Universal human rights," detached from any rootedness in time or
place, will be open to the latest whim of outrage or the latest fad for
victimhood. The misguided effort to transform NATO from a defensive alliance
into a mini-U.N. with "out-of-area" self-appointed responsibilities, is a
certain road to more Bosnias and more Kosovos down the line. Now that the
Clintonistas and NATO were "successful" in Kosovo, we can expect new and
even more dangerous adventures elsewhere. But next time around the Russians,
Chinese, Indians and others will know better than to buy the slogans about
free markets and democratic human rights, and the future of "the West" in
the eventually inevitable conflict may be uncertain.
Canada should ponder the implications of this course, and gather the courage
to say "no" to global interventionism - for its own sake, and for the sake
of peace and stability in the world. Is it really obliged to watch in
undissenting submission as a long, dangerous military experiment is mounted
which will lead us to a real war for Central Asia? Will it soon be
'defending' new KLAs against 'genocide' along Russia's Islamic rim, among
ethnic groups as yet unknown to the Western press that can provide a series
of excuses for intervention, all as good, that is as bad, as the Kosovo
Albanian excuse?

Was Canada's imperial history so sweet that it must seek another imperial
command-center, in Washington, to compensate for the loss of London? Does
Canada today feel comfortable with the emerging truth: that it has less
freedom of choice about war and peace than it did as a free Dominion under
the old Statute of Westminster? For there can be no doubt that the war NATO
was fighting in April and May 1999 was not intended, or willed, by anything
which can be called the Alliance, when the use of force was plotted inside
the Beltway in 1998.

It is worth asking how far this re-acquisition of minor imperial status - by
Canada and other NATO members - is creating a media-led political process
that leaves national decision-making meaningless, beyond a formal
cheer-leading function. It is also worth asking how it came to be that the
chief war aim of NATO was 'keeping the Alliance together', what disciplines
it implies, and how easily, and bloodily, it can be repeated.
The moral absolutism that was invoked by the proponents of intervention as a
substitute for rational argument can no longer be sustained. Genuine
dilemmas about our human responsibility for one another must not be used to
reactivate the viral imperialism of the re-extended West. The more arrogant
the new doctrine, the greater the willingness to lie for the truth. To be
capable of "doing something" sustains moral self-respect, if we can suppress
the thought that we are not so much moral actors as consumers of predigested
choices. At the onset of the Millenium we are living in a virtual Coliseum
where exotic and nasty troublemakers can be killed not by lions but by the
magical flying machines of the Imperium. As the candidates for punishment -
or martyrdom - are pushed into the arena, many denizens of "the West" react
to the show as imperial consumers, not as citizens with a parliamentary
right and a democratic duty to question the proceedings.

May the results of your present inquiry prove me wrong. Thank you.

Dr. Serge Trifkovic is Foreign Affairs Editor of "Chronicles: A Magazine of
American Culture" and Executive Director, The Lord Byron Foundation for
Balkan Studies.