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KOSOVO: The lost chances and continuing dangers

by Robin Blackburn (extract)

« (...) The peoples of Europe are deeply divided about this disastrous limited war, and opposition to any reckless and perilous wider conflict is growing. This is an European crisis and it would be far better if European governments, who will have to live with the consequences of the war, took charge of resolving it. If the United States rather than Russia had been excluded from the negotiating process then the chances of a peaceful outcome would have been much greater. US involvment may gratify the hawks in Washington but overseas military adventures, with limitless prospects of further entanglements, are of no interest to the great mass of US citizens.

It serves to distract the US public from such alarming problems as the growth of its prison population, and promises to erode those budget surpluses which make possible Clintons surprisingly bold approach to the problem of social security retirement funding. No country should arrogate to itself the role of global policeman and the US is particularly unsuited to it because the structure of its politics make it so vulnerable to special-interest lobbies.(...) »

23 May 1999

Robin Blackburn is a Senior Research Fellow at Kings College, Cambridge.


"...Democracy with a military brain is the same thing as art without a brain. In the world of political twilight, where art loses its place along with people, war is imposed as a natural catastrophe because "there is no other solution".

Protecting its own and the others minorities, the world has disintegrated into the minorities. The logic of comunitarianism always leads to an ethnically clean state-territory. Both for the ethnic cleanser and the independence fighter.

We, the Yugoslavs and ex-Yugoslavs, have recognized the mechanisms of madness on our side. We invite all the others to recognize them on their side.

One begins where everything else except the beginning dies. Ours is the position of the impossible..."

Excerpt from the political statement of FRONT. Art activism against violence, initiative of (ex) Yugoslavian artists, supported by Belgian artists, students of art and non-art, philosophers.

Source: Association NE PAS PLIER- mai 1999.

NATO, master of the world, by Noam Chomsky (extract)

"...How do these or other considerations apply in the case of Kosovo? There has been a humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo in the past year, overwhelmingly attributable to Yugoslav military forces. The main victims have been ethnic Albanian Kosovars, some 90% of the population of this Yugoslav territory. The standard estimate is 2000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees.

In such cases, outsiders have three choices: (I) try to escalate the catastrophe (II) do nothing (III) try to mitigate the catastrophe

...(A) Colombia. In Colombia, according to State Department estimates, the annual level of political killing by the government and its paramilitary associates is about at the level of Kosovo, and refugee flight primarily from their atrocities is well over a million. Colombia has been the leading Western hemisphere recipient of US arms and training as violence increased through the '90s, and that assistance is now increasing, under a "drug war" pretext dismissed by almost all serious observers ...In this case, the US reaction is (I): escalate the atrocities.

...(B) Turkey. By very conservative estimate, Turkish repression of Kurds in the '90s falls in the category of Kosovo. It peaked in the early '90s; one index is the flight of over a million Kurds from the countryside to the unofficial Kurdish capital Diyarbakir from 1990 to 1994, as the Turkish army was devastating the countryside. 1994 marked two records: it was "the year of the worst repression in the Kurdish provinces" of Turkey, Jonathan Randal reported from the scene, and the year when Turkey became "the biggest single importer of American military hardware and thus the world's largest arms purchaser"...Again, the example illustrates (I): try to escalate the atrocities.

Colombia and Turkey explain their (US-supported) atrocities on grounds that they are defending their countries from the threat of terrorist guerrillas. As does the government of Yugoslavia...." Complete version available in


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