Skip to comments.Interview with Willy Wimmer (German View of the US in the Balkans)
Posted on 03/12/2008 12:03:09 AM PDT by Bokababe
The Strategic Framework of the Balkan Conflict
The interests of the United States are obviously different from those of Europe. We are increasingly coming to the conclusion that the events in the Balkans developed in such a way so that Washington could establish a dominant presence in the region, which was not the case after 1945. We should not lose sight of the fact that it was precisely Germany that started this unfortunate game, championing ethnically-based national states in the region. We should remember that Germany was the first to recognize Slovenia and Croatia. What still remains to be solved is why the Americans subsequently took up the German ethnic strategy.I might say that, in the case of Germany, there was a sort of an aggressive laziness to genuinely deal with the situation in Yugoslavia and the Balkans. The cause probably lies in the simple fact that, in this way, without truly delving into the genuine state of affairs, people were able to, quite easily, without much effort, establish who was friend and who was foe. In addition, there is no doubt at all that the United States decided very early on to support the Albanian side. This is also born out by the fact that Washington established its Information Office in Pristina [the provincial capital of Kosovo trans. note] in 1997, contrary to the will of Belgrade. Here we should also remember the long years of activity on the part of Republican senator Bob Dole .
At the end of April 2000, I personally attended a conference in Bratislava, where the highest American officials discussed their future strategy in the Balkans. The conference organizers were the American State Department and the Republican Party's elite American Enterprise Institute. Among the conference participants were prime ministers, foreign ministers and defense ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria, and the personal representative of the NATO commander. Among these was a future American Assistant Secretary of State [Daniel Fried trans. note]. The following was clearly stated there:
First point. The reason why we are in the Balkans today lies in our missed opportunity after 1945, when General Eisenhower made a mistake and did not station American land troops in that part of Europe. Now we must correct that error at all cost. Why? The reason lies in the very nature of land troops. The complete control of a territory is possible only if our land troops are present. Full control cannot be established with aircraft or ships alone.
Second point. I am surprised that the American side is discussing issues of European security, as evidenced by the example of Bratislava, in the tone of: God is with us. The consequence of such a relationship is that any attempt at a European, autonomous thinking is criticized or even labeled as anti-American. As a European, I must ask myself the following question: am I supposed to accept the Bratislava conclusions as the Laws of Moses or do I still have a right to think about my own interests.
Third point. The Americans see themselves as the successors of the Roman Empire. Their motto is: The Romans saw the Mediterranean as Mare nostrum. We Americans see the Atlantic as our own Mediterranean, as our own sea. For this reason we must draw a line of our interests, which is to extend from the Baltic Sea by Leningrad [present-day St. Petersburg trans. note] to Odessa on the Black Sea, and on to Istanbul and Anatolia. Everything lying east of that line these are now my own words does not interest us. We must possess and secure a land communication on our own [sic!] territory, extending from Anatolia, i.e. Turkey, to Poland.
There are many indications that, for the Americans, the situation in the Balkans is a sort of compensation for the Middle East. They use the Balkans to compensate for failures in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Washington 's motto goes: the Israeli and the Palestine side will not be able to achieve a peace agreement. And, so as not to ruin chances at accord with the Islamic world, the Americans are now trying to offer concessions to the Muslims in the Balkans, the ones in Bosnia and Kosovo. In a word, to Washington the Balkans are serving as a reserve territory or a testing ground where, they believe, they might still be able to reach agreement with the Islamic world.
Whatever Big Brother says must be carried out unconditionally. I took this gathering in Bratislava seriously enough to inform Chancellor Schröder about it in a letter. My main motive was to prevent any future breech of international law. May the case of Serbia be the last such case. For, if I believe that I can ignore international law whenever it stands as an obstacle to my interests, then I am leaving the door wide open to a new war in Europe.
After Serbia, i.e. Kosovo, we had clashes in Macedonia. Until then, we were constantly showering Skoplje [the capital of the FYR Macedonia trans. note] with praises. They disciplinedly carried out all our demands. And then the West suddenly changed its policy and extended support to the Albanian armed rebellion. What message were we sending to the Macedonian government? That violence pays off.
Let us return to Kosovo. As both member and Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, I can claim with full responsibility that, in the summer of 1998, 90% of us were against the use of any kind of military force against Belgrade outside the provisions of the UN. What remains for us after the bombing of Serbia? To choose: either to bring down the edifice that has secured the peace for us in Europe since 1945 which is precisely what the Americans are doing, either alone or with the help of the British, or to say: my dear good people, we must seek to return to the rules of behavior provided by the UN.
In a word, it occasionally appears to me that the Americans are now acting in the same way that the German statesman Bismarck did. On one occasion he said that Balkan unrest and conflict were in the German interest, as this kept German adversaries in a constant state of tension. Is not Washington 's present aim identical, namely, to interfere with European efforts at creating an autonomous, independent European policy?
Finally, some mention should be made here of the relations between Western Europe and Russia. In the case they are normal and good, then that would raise the question of NATO's continued existence. The Americans invented the conflict in the Balkans in order to prevent the Europeans from thinking that NATO is no longer needed. There are people at important positions in the EU who think that there is a constant in American, and possibly British, policy, that, within the European Union as well as Turkey power must never come into the hands of people who might bring into question Washington's direct influence on Europe .
* Former member of the German Bundestag, ex-German Deputy Defense Secretary and ex-Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Please ping the list, I cannot access my copy of list right now.
They sided with fascist forces in the Western provinces of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Catholics,Orthodox and Muslims.
Natural allies of any Western country would be the Catholics.
Of course current Foreign policy does some incredibly stupid things.
“Arrogant American?” That term again....hmmm, from a kraut who 2 generations ago invaded European countries because they were deemed inferior to their race...
I would prefer to be an arrogant American instead of a pu**y Euroweenie who sticks his head in the sand when threatened.
Bump! Some good points.
Amusing article. The revisionary version of the Balkans project is that it’s American Imperialism at work, the result of Republicans like Bob Dole in Roman senatorial togas listening to God whisper in their ear. Elite European Christophobia and anti-Americanism on display. Two for the price of one.
Kosovo of course is now under the jurisdiction of the EU, not the US Congress. Their currency is the EURO, not the Dollar. I forget the title used but the proconsul is an EU official.
Our intervention in the Balkans was Tony Blair’s project. He almost literally had to drag Bill Clinton along. Had there been no benefit to Bill Clinton of a low-risk foreign distraction I am skeptical Tony would have prevailed.
Under the facade of fighting “ethnic cleansing” we rid the region of a Russian ally and toe-hold. The resurgence of Putin/neo-Stalinism shows this was pushing the Russians further back was a good strategic idea. The author is in that respect correct about securing the lines of communication, but it was a joint US/EU strategy and more to the European benefit then of the US.
Our intervention in the Balkans was Tony Blairs project.
Sorry but this is wrong.
Maddy Albright made quite an efford to find anyone in europe to help her plans to counter milosevic with a war.
England and France decided to take a waiting position - Russia wanted to be of help, but saw no possiblitly without loosing it face then to take a counter position - but promised to not interfere severly.
Germany alone - on the way to find a new self definition after the fall of the iron curtain - joined her in her effords - forcing the others to jump in.
the War on the balkans was inniciated by the USA.
Remember that this was written in 2001 and addresses US policies begun under the first Bush. That policy survives 8 years of Clinton and 8 years of the second Bush. Why that is is something I can't deduce.
...the War on the balkans was inniciated by the USA.
'Prosecuted' would be better than 'initiated.' The European troops were there but not doing much. The slaughters were proceeding and the US grew impatient with the inaction of the Euro nations.
Our involvement in the Balkans - of all places - seems to be tracable to some fondness of Bob Dole for the Albanians plus Madeleine Albright’s pique against the Serbs, tracable to Heaven only knows what cause. So now, out of habit or inertia we are busy promoting the creation of another independent Moslem state in Europe. Sometimes I think we are simply out of our minds.
Well at first maddy was quite impatient with her own congress - that also wanted less action then her.
The military strength or weakness is not a thing freepers think much about - it’s dutyful US here and lazy EU there.
Surprisingly the world isn’t that simple - although I have to grant you that the actions against Milosevic would never have happened if the US didn’t grab the lead - it’s also tru that the US are actively taking the role to be a world super power with the attitude to allow no european super power next to it. (That’s what condi only recently said)
So there you are - you won the price. Now live with it.
I've not well explained myself. I don't see there being a prize, I don't see any particular winners in this affair and I have never understood our (US) policy.
I don't like referring to a movie for a serious matter but I thought No Man's Land. to be quite good. As an American, I particularly liked that the movie covered the period before the US took the lead. IIRC, the only mention of the US was the British commander telling a French officer that the Americans were becoming impatient.
Apparently, it isn't just FR that gets disjointed over just what the hell happened, who did it, and why it got done to the Balkans.
FRY/Kosovo and the Mexican/American border strike me as opposing poles of stupid American diplomatic tricks. The aggressive and the submissive means of attacking friends and enabling enemies.
The balkans previewed, in reverse images, the substitution of news reporting for serious intelligence that dogs us in the middle east today.
Yes, and with Germany's WWII fascist Balkan allies -- but for the life of us, we couldn't figure out why the US would chose to side with those Balkan ethnic groups who had been US enemies, against those who had been American allies. But, according to this, the US didn't do the choosing -- Germany did -- which makes some sense of this lunacy.
I’ll bet this schlemiel thinks America invented Auschwicz and Treblinka, too.
Yes, however, Camp Bondsteel -- which is a permanent US Base -- went up in a heartbeat after NATO entered Kosovo. There is even talk of it replacing Aviano. Doesn't matter if the currency is the Euro or the Dollar -- we are not there for the sake of the local economy. We are there for strategic military purposes. We bombed a country that didn't attack us, seized the assets, sold off what we wanted, and gave the land to another people, keeping the air base for ourselves. In short, we "conquered Kosovo" and stole it from Serbia. The rest is just window dressing. And this is not the American way!
"Under the facade of fighting ethnic cleansing we rid the region of a Russian ally and toe-hold. The resurgence of Putin/neo-Stalinism shows this was pushing the Russians further back was a good strategic idea."
Quite the opposite -- Serbia is not "Russia"-- and Europeans know this even if Americans don't. We turned Serbia into "a Russian ally" when we didn't have to, Serbs would have preferred to turn West and not East, but we gave them no choice when we backed them into a corner and Russia came to their rescue. I hate that this is the case, but Russia is on the legal and moral high ground in all of this and we are legally & morally in a pit, causing much resentment toward us in Europe.
Unlike Americans, Europeans don't hate Russians for being Russians, they hated the Soviet Union for being brutes. Now we are the brutes, breaking every international law and steamrolling a small country to get what we want. This is not going to go smoothly and I fear that we have lost far more than we have gained by this.
Germany and GB were the primary political instruments behind the war. NATO was simply the executioner.
It was when you had 250,000 refugees sitting in camps all through Germany when “your” government began knocking on NATOs and others door because the so-called peace keepers under UN authority before that were failing.
YU was still on the map when Genscher declared proudly that Germany would recognize Croatia as a sovereign state.........
Russia didn't want to be of “help,” they sided with the Serbs whom they had been arming and had ties to historically and even present day. The Russians did everything they could to stop any intervention since ultimately intervention meant that Serbia would be pressured. In fact the infamous Pristina airfield incident where it almost came to blows between US/Russian troops was more or less Russia throwing 200 men at at airfield and seizing it so they could maintain a back-door line of logistical communication outside the oversight of others.
You're completely clueless.
anti-german rant without appropriate source no.5021 brought to you by bile mouth 6.
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