Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Yugoslavia’

The Real Reason for the New Cold War with Russia

Posted by M. C. on April 4, 2020

The view at the top was that Russia had better behave now and do what we tell them to do. They lost the Cold War. They are no longer a superpower, and so they just better do what we tell them and shut up.

That attitude, which wasn’t evident immediately, gradually became more evident. It really broke out with the bombing of Yugoslavia in the late ’90s when Boris Yeltsin—who was supposedly a great friend of America—said, “No, this we will not stand for.”

As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of President Putin, but given the possibility, Putin would have worked to have a close relationship with the West.

He was told in no uncertain terms that there was no interest in that, and his reaction was as follows.

International Man

Editor’s Note: Vladimir Pozner is Russia’s most influential TV political-talk-show host, journalist and broadcaster.

Pozner has hosted several shows on Russian television, where he has interviewed famous figures such as Hillary Clinton, Alain Delon, President Dimitri Medvedev and Sting.

Pozner has appeared on a wide range of networks, including NBC, CBS, CNN and the BBC. In his long career, he has been a journalist, editor (Soviet Life Magazine and Sputnik Magazine) and TV and radio commentator, covering all major events in Russia.

Pozner has appeared on The Phil Donahue Show and Ted Koppel’s Nightline.

He co-hosted a show with Phil Donahue called Pozner/Donahue. It was the first televised bi-lateral discussion (or “spacebridge”) between audiences in the Soviet Union and the US, carried via satellite.

In 1997, he returned to Moscow as an independent journalist.

Doug Casey’s friend Mark Gould sat down with Pozner in Moscow to help us better understand the relationship between the US and Russia.


International Man: Naturally, Americans have a lot of misconceptions about Russia. The US government and media offer an overly simplistic and unfavorable view of the country.

What does the US government and media get wrong?

Vladimir Pozner: That’s a very difficult question to answer. It’s not only what they get wrong, but what they deliberately say that is not true.

It’s a combination of things.

It’s one thing not to understand another country.

For instance, I was in Japan, and it took me a very long time to begin to understand things because the Japanese do things very differently—not good or bad, just different.

It’s another thing to have a prejudice about another people or another country and to present things in a negative light.

Broadly, the relationship between Russia and the United States has been a difficult one for most of the 20th century, starting with the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. It was very threatening to the United States and to capitalism.

The goal of having a world revolution and having socialism everywhere initiated things like the Red Scare in the United States back in the 1920s.

These things evolved over the years all the way up to the postwar period when you had Joe McCarthy and all of those things.

There was a deep ideological difference between the USSR and the United States, that pretty much, in my opinion, formatted the way people looked at “Russia,” because for most Americans, the USSR and Russia, was exactly the same thing.

Although, the USSR consisted of a lot of other countries that were not Russian at all, like Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, what have you.

So that’s one side of it. The negative attitude over a 70-plus-year period became part of the American outlook.

Then things changed. Suddenly the USSR became a different country. Gorbachev, Glasnost, and Perestroika… we were going to be friends.

Everyone was overjoyed on both sides of the fence. The American side was saying, “Now they’re going to be like us, finally.”

That was the average view.

The view at the top was that Russia had better behave now and do what we tell them to do. They lost the Cold War. They are no longer a superpower, and so they just better do what we tell them and shut up.

That attitude, which wasn’t evident immediately, gradually became more evident. It really broke out with the bombing of Yugoslavia in the late ’90s when Boris Yeltsin—who was supposedly a great friend of America—said, “No, this we will not stand for.”

The problem from that point on was that Russia was no longer willing to follow the American lead. This led to tremendous anger on the part of the American establishment, which was reflected in statements and in the media.

When Vladimir Putin came around, he initially wanted to be a member of the West. He officially proposed that Russia join NATO and that Russia become part of the European Union.

He was officially told, in politer terms, to go do “whatever.“ In fact, he was told that Ukraine and Georgia would become part of NATO well before Russia.

This is official. This isn‘t something that I‘m dreaming up.

Ultimately, in 2007, in Munich, Putin made a famous speech, saying that we no longer agree to be treated like a second-rate nation. We have our global aspirations and interests, and we are going to protect them.

From that point on, Putin became monster number one, and Russia became negative.

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Samantha Power in Bosnia: A Poster Child for Toxic Advocacy Journalism | The National Interest

Posted by M. C. on January 13, 2020

If the subject of Bosnia came up and someone innocently described the conflict as a civil war, I would erupt: It is genocide!” 

Individuals with that mentality are not news reporters. At best, they are editorialists or opinion columnists; at worst, they crude propagandists. Power and too many of her media colleagues in Bosnia belonged in the last category.

by Ted Galen Carpenter

The adverse consequences flowing from Yugoslavia’s slow-motion disintegration in the 1990s impacted the entire country, but the turmoil and human tragedy was especially pronounced in Bosnia. Three major ethno-religious groups there—Catholic Croats, Eastern Orthodox Serbs, and Muslims—all maneuvered for advantage in a brass knuckles political, and ultimately a military, struggle. All three factions engaged in ethnic cleansing—attempting to expel all ethnic groups other than their own—whenever they gained control of a geographic region. Fighters in all three armies also committed various atrocities. Serb forces seemed somewhat more inclined to engage in such conduct, but the scope of their offenses, both in numbers and severity, was not hugely disproportionate.

The picture that most Western journalists painted was far from balanced, however. In the overwhelming majority of media accounts, Bosnia’s murky, multisided struggle became a straight-forward war of Serbian aggression aimed at innocent Croat, and especially Muslim, civilians. The goal of those portrayals was to shame U.S. and NATO leaders into launching a military intervention to support the Muslim cause. Such melodramatic lobbying masquerading as journalism became the template for media coverage of subsequent conflicts in such places as Kosovo, Libya and Syria.

One idealistic young American epitomizing the commitment to shrill advocacy journalism in Bosnia was Samantha Power, who in a few more years would achieve fame covering the genocide in Rwanda and publishing a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on that tragedy and the overall issue of genocide. Power was a rising star who eventually would be a high-level foreign policy adviser (culminating with her service as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations) in Barack Obama’s administration.

She showed noticeable tenacity in seeking an opportunity to go to Bosnia to cover the burgeoning armed conflict there. As Power relates in her 2019 memoir, The Education of an Idealist, she was merely an intern at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who lacked press credentials from the organization’s flagship publication, Foreign Policy, or any other recognized news organization. She describes how she solved that problem. “I waited until the Foreign Policy editorial staff had headed home and the cleaners had completed their nighttime rounds on the floor. Once the suite was completely deserted, I walked into the office of Charles William Maynes, the journal’s editor, picked up several sheets of his stationery and then hurried back to my desk. Hands shaking, I began typing a letter impersonating the unwitting Maynes.” Then “determined to get to Bosnia, I went ahead and wrote to the head of the UN Press Office, asking that the UN provide Samantha Power, Foreign Policy’s ‘Balkan correspondent,’ with ‘all necessary access.’”

Such conduct said volumes about her obsession to cover the Bosnian war–and about her ethics. Her overwhelming bias about the Bosnia conflict also was evident, and she remains surprisingly candid about it. “I had never been without opinions, but my certitude previously had to do with seemingly trivial issues like an umpire’s bad call in a baseball game. Now, as I researched and reflected on real-world events, I seemed unable to contain my emotions or modulate my judgments. If the subject of Bosnia came up and someone innocently described the conflict as a civil war, I would erupt: It is genocide!”

Individuals with that mentality are not news reporters. At best, they are editorialists or opinion columnists; at worst, they crude propagandists. Power and too many of her media colleagues in Bosnia belonged in the last category.

She exhibited no shyness about engaging in blatant advocacy journalism. Convinced that “the only way President Clinton would intervene to break the siege of Sarajevo [Bosnia’s Muslim-held capital] was if he felt domestic pressure to do so,” Power concluded that as a journalist “I believed that I had a critical role to play.” Many Western journalists in Bosnia “brought a similar focus to their work,” she contends. They wanted “our governments’ actions to change.” Power acknowledged that “this aspiration was more reminiscent of an editorial writer’s ambitions than that of a traditional reporter, whose job it was to document what she saw.”

Indeed, she was frustrated that the advocacy journalism of the Western press corps based in Sarajevo was slow to have a meaningful impact on U.S. policy. Until the summer of 1995, she recalled, “I had believed that if my colleagues and I conveyed the suffering around us to decision-makers in Washington, our journalism might move President Clinton to stage a rescue mission. This had not happened. The words, the photographs, the videos, nothing had changed the President’s mind. While Sarajevans had once thought of Western journalists as messengers on their behalf, they now began to see us as ambassadors of idle nations.” Such language indicated that Power had relinquished any semblance of journalistic detachment and identified entirely with one faction in the internecine conflict that she was covering.

Her frustration with Western policy was rising sharply in the spring and summer of 1995. “No matter how many massacres we covered, Western governments seemed determined to steer clear of the conflict,” she railed. Power’s analysis of the Bosnia conflict displayed much of the overwrought perspective that would characterize her later positions on the Libyan and Syrian civil wars. Her mood became utterly celebratory when NATO launched air strikes on Bosnian Serb forces in the autumn of 1995 and imposed the Dayton Peace Accords later that year.

Too many Western journalists in Bosnia (and later in Kosovo), such as CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, exuded similar pervasive bias in their coverage. They acted as though the Serbs were almost alone in practicing ethnic cleansing. Power even explicitly claimed that in the early 1990s Bosnian Serb paramilitaries “had first introduced the chilling term ‘ethnic cleansing’ in places like Banja Luka to describe how they sought to ‘purify’ the land they controlled of its Muslim and Croat residents.” Her statement is factually wrong. Seth Ackerman, a media analyst for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), and veteran investigative journalist Jim Naureckas, note that Albanian nationalists in Kosovo had used the same term and similar rhetoric as early as 1982 to describe their goal of driving out the Serb minority and making that province “ethnically pure.” Moreover, “all of the half-dozen references in Nexis to ‘ethnically clean’ or ‘ethnic cleansing’ over the next seven years [after 1982] attribute the term to Albanian nationalists.” Yet, “despite being easily available on Nexis, virtually none of that material found its way into contemporary U.S. coverage” of either the Bosnia or Kosovo conflicts.

Like other practitioners of advocacy journalism in Bosnia, Power seemed blissfully unaware of (or indifferent to) the danger that she was presenting oversimplified and brazenly unfair, one-sided accounts. One subtle but important indicator of her bias, even in her memoir a quarter century later, was that she typically uses “Bosnians” as a synonym for the country’s Muslim population. Power implicitly treated Serbs and Croats as foreign interlopers, even though they lived in Bosnia and in most instances their families had done so for generations.

Unfortunately, the approach that Power adopted would epitomize the media’s performance in later conflicts, with the same underlying goal of prodding the United States and its NATO allies to launch or intensify “humanitarian” military interventions. Media accounts of the Syrian government’s siege of rebel-held Aleppo was typical. Boston Globe columnist Stephen Kinzer excoriated the behavior of such journalists, noting that, “much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening. Many news reports suggest that Aleppo has been a ‘liberated zone’ for three years but is now being pulled back into misery” by a Syrian government offensive. He noted that Washington-based reporters used sanitized terminology that “attempted to portray even the staunchly Islamist faction, Jabhat al-Nusra, as being composed “of ‘rebels’ or ‘moderates,’ not that it was the local al-Qaeda franchise.” Georgetown University senior fellow Paul R. Pillar likewise was critical of much of the Aleppo coverage, finding it excessively emotional and one-sided.

Samantha Power’s performance regarding the Bosnian war was a textbook example of especially toxic advocacy journalism in international affairs. That type of coverage not only is a disgrace to ethical journalism, it has helped foment disastrous, destabilizing Western military interventions in multiple countries.

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In the Beginning There Was Kosovo – Original

Posted by M. C. on April 22, 2019

Those were the Good Old Days – when the United States could credibly keep up the pretense of being the agency of moral rectitude, the heroes who come over the hill and, at the last minute, save the day from the savagery of the Orcs and the forces of Mordor.

Oh really?, said my young friend, who knows only what he can glean from the Dark Days that are now upon us. In the distance, the low rumble of thunder. Or is it the sound of the battle inching forward …?

Oh yes, we were the Good Guys. Swooping down over a nation once called Yugoslavia, where atrocities were said to be watering the trees with the blood of children. We fought in the name of refugees seeking to reclaim what their Kosovar mythology depicted as their ancient homeland. It was only that anachronistic artifact of racist oppression – a wall – that kept them on what had been their side since the Great War destroyed the order of things.

Kosovo had seen many battles, many acts of heroism, as the Bad Guys – otherwise known as the Serbs – defended their sacred history from their castle keeps. They fought using modern weapons, which their noble ancestors would have looked on with awe: they went into battle invoking the memory of the royal dynasties that fought the same enemies – the slaves of the Ottomans, forcibly converted to Islam – on the same battlefields. They fought off the invaders year after year, but each year it became more difficult. The Kosovars were a fecund race and they swarmed at the border in bigger numbers, while the Serbs dwindled – and then came the Americans.

There was but one established cable news channel in those far-off days: CNN. The anchor was Christiane Amanpour, an Iranian-British journalist who, in reporting the story of what was happening in Kosovo, did not hide her sympathies for her fellow Muslims. Being married to James “Jamie” Rubin, who was then serving as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under Bill Clinton, solidified her role as the voice of the administration. Few challenged this dual role as journalist and wife of a Washington warlord… Read the rest of this entry »

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15 years on: Looking back at NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Yugoslavia — RT World News

Posted by M. C. on March 23, 2019

Clinton’s Kosovo war was about as legitimate as the Iraq war. The result:

Christian free zone, drug smuggling hub and human organ trading center.

Thousands have protested in downtown Belgrade against the implementation of an EU-brokered pact aimed at normalizing ties between the Serbia and its breakaway neighbor Kosovo.

Signed in Brussels in mid-April, “the landmark agreement between Belgrade and Pristina” is seen by ultra-nationalists as Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo that declared independence in 2008.

The protest was called by northern Kosovo Serb political leaders who also fiercely oppose the implementation of the 15-point pact. Serbia’s Parliament backed the deal in a 173-24 vote on April 26.

Protesters gathered at Republic Square in downtown Belgrade at 12:44 local time (10:44 GMT) as a symbolic reference to UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Signed in June 1999 it placed Kosovo under transitional UN administration (UNMIK) and authorized KFOR, a NATO-led peacekeeping force.

Many of those who attended the rally were wearing flags and chanted “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” and “Treason!”referring to the government, which protesters are calling to reject the Brussels agreement…

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kosovo war | Tumblr

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