Supporters of NATO’s war on Yugoslavia have no right to talk about law, sovereignty or borders
Pretty much everyone who has spent the past month moralizing about the sanctity of borders, sovereignty of countries, and how unacceptable it was for great powers to “bully” smaller neighbors – thinking of Russia and Ukraine – paused on Thursday to sing praises to a woman that championed all of those things back in 1999. Madeleine Albright is a legend and hero even though NATO was doing it to Yugoslavia.
NATO began an air campaign against Serbia and Montenegro on March 24, 1999. This was at the time known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Operation Allied Force’s stated goal was to force Belgrade into accepting the ultimatum from the French Chateau de Rambouillet a month earlier: Give the Kosovo province over to NATO “peacekeepers”Allow ethnic Albanian separatists the right to proclaim independence
After the bombers were unsuccessful in achieving that goal within two weeks, NATO was formed to end the threat. “genocide”The cheerleader press claimed that the incident was occurring among Albanians. This narrative also credits the US’s first female secretary of state. “humanitarian”Call it bombing “Madeleine’s War.”
It took them 78 days to negotiate an armistice that allowed NATO troops to enter Kosovo with the UN peacekeeping mission fig leaf. They promptly turned the province over to the “Kosovo Liberation Army” terrorists, who proceeded to burn, loot, murder and expel over 200,000 non-Albanians. A real campaign of terror, intimidation, ethnic cleansing and pogroms began – and the very same media that covered for NATO by making up atrocities during the bombing now turned a blind eye, for the same reason.
It was no matter what its result, but it was an ugly little war that the US launched simply because it felt it could. Because Washington wanted to get rid of the restraints posed by the UN to its new global hegemony, articulated just a few years earlier by Bill Kristol and Victoria Nuland’s husband Robert Kagan. Because the American Empire was trying to convey to Eastern Europe that dissent will not be tolerated and Russia that they are no longer great powers worth respecting.
A legalistic mind might point out that the attack violated Articles 2, 53 and 103 of the UN Charter, NATO’s own charter – the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 (articles 1 and 7) – as well as the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 (violating the territorial integrity of a signatory state) and the 1980 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, for using coercion to compel a state to sign a treaty.
Yes, it is possible to be a world power but that does not necessarily mean you can make your empire. “rules-based order”To supplant inconvenient law As such, “independent commission”To declare the operation, a group of cheerleaders was assembled “illegal but legitimate,”Arguments that it was justifiable “liberated”The Kosovo Albanians are from Serbia “oppression.”
The actual oppression of non-Albanians as NATO troops stood idly by – including during the vicious pogrom of March 2004 – doesn’t count, obviously. It is important to note that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright and British PM Tony Blair were given monuments, streets and children names after them.
The “independent” Kosovo – proclaimed in 2008, in a move about as legal as the 1999 war – can’t actually do anything without the permission of the US ambassador. Everyone is a hero for human rights, law, order and democracy!
NATO did not care about Albanian life. If it did, it wouldn’t have partnered with the KLA, which made a point of murdering ethnic Albanians who wanted peace with the Serbs. It wouldn’t have repeatedly bombed refugee columns, then declaring it was really the Serbs’ fault somehow and that pilots dropped their bombs “in good faith” – literally something NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said on one occasion.
20 years later, nothing has changed. The US had just annihilated the Kabul family by using a drone strike, and offered blood money. However, they refused to reprimand those responsible. Being an empire means never having to say you’re sorry. This attitude was the driving force behind 2003’s invasion of Iraq.
However, the failure of Belgrade to take over its government through war caused a “color revolution” in Serbia instead. It was then exported to other places – including Ukraine, twice. This 2014 coup in Kiev was the catalyst for the conflict in Ukraine. The current phase is only one of many.
My March 1999 experience as a student in America’s Midwest was almost successful. I had been brainwashed to believe the platitudes of freedom, democracy and tolerance. “force for good”In the entire world. Overnight I heard people calling me a monster, which was something that shocked me.
I’ve made justice and remembrance something of my life mission since then, seeking to explain that rather than a good, noble and humanitarian war, Kosovo represented everything wrong about the modern world: “A monument to the power of lies, the successful murder of law, and the triumph of might over justice,”As I did in 2005 and have repeated each year thereafter.
The twist this year is that the people shrieking about human rights, international law and the sanctity of borders – when it comes to their client regime in Ukraine, that is – were all cheering for NATO back in 1999. Even now, they won’t apologize for it, much less disavow. So it seems it’s not really about what is being done, only who is doing it to whom. Although I can understand their frustration at the collapse of all their lies, it is hard to blame them.
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