Nice Guys Finish Last Diana Johnstone
Nice Guys Finish Last
Diana Johnstone
понедељак, 04. октобар 2010.
On October 5, 2000, the regular presidential election process in Yugoslavia was
boisterously interrupted by what Western media described as a “democratic
revolution” against the “dictator”, president Slobodan Milosevic. In reality,
the “dictator” was about to enter the run-off round of the Yugoslav presidential
election which he appeared likely to lose to the main opposition candidate,
Vojislav Kostunica. Rather than support the democratic electoral process, the
United States trained and incited activists to take to the streets and replace
it by a televised spectacle of popular uprising. Probably, the scenarists
modeled this show on the equally stage-managed overthrow of the Ceaucescu couple
in Rumania at Christmas 1989, which ended in their murder following one of the
shortest kangaroo court trials in history. For the generally ignorant world at
large, being overthrown in an uprising was meant to prove that Milosevic was
really a “dictator” like Ceaucescu. Being defeated in an election would have
tended to prove the opposite.
In contrast to Ceaucescu, the murder of Milosevic was accomplished slowly,
indirectly, over many years. But October 5 marked the day on which effective
political power in Yugoslavia was seized by foreign Great Powers, mainly by the
United States. Proclaimed president in confused circumstances, Kostunica was
weakened from the start. The Western favorite, Zoran Djindjic, was installed as
Serbian prime minister and a few months later violated the Serbian constitution
by turning Milosevic over to the International Criminal Tribunal for Former
Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague – for one of the longest kangaroo court trials in
The self-styled “Democratic” politicians in Belgrade labored under the illusion
that throwing Milosevic to the ICTY wolves would be enough to ensure the good
graces of the “International Community”. But that was not enough, and the
demands for more have continued to this day. Sending Milosevic, Generals Nebojsa
Pavkovic, Sreten Lukic, Vladimir Lazarevic and Dragoljub Ojdanic, Admiral
Miodrag Jokic, Radovan Karadzic and Vojislav Seselj, among others, has done
nothing to remove the stigma from Serbia. On the contrary, cooperation with The
Hague tribunal has above all served to confirm Serbia’s collective guilt. After
all, if even Serbs consider their own leader responsible for all the wars in
Yugoslavia, who else will object? The trumped up theory of a “joint criminal
enterprise” to create “Greater Serbia” was used to blame every aspect of the
breakup of Yugoslavia on an imaginary Serbian conspiracy. The scapegoat turned
out to be not just Milosevic, but Serbia itself. Serbia’s guilt for everything
that went wrong in the Balkans was the essential propaganda line used to justify
the 1999 NATO aggression, and by implicitly endorsing this guilt, the
“democratic” leaders effectively undermined Serbia’s moral claim to Kosovo.
In June 1999, as bombs were destroying bridges and factories, Milosevic gave in
and allowed NATO to occupy Kosovo under threat of carpet bombing that would
destroy Serbia entirely. But he set conditions – which the United States
proceeded to ignore.
His successors surrendered unconditionally, and fled from a less perilous battle
– the battle to inform world public opinion of the complex truth of the
Not only the “Democratic” leaders, but many Serbs who could not understand why
NATO bombed their country preferred to echo the NATO line, in order to escape
from isolation. They would say, what happened in Yugoslavia was all the fault of
one man, Slobodan Milosevic. But we are not like him, we are nice. Get rid of
him, and all will be well.
That did not work because the diagnosis of the problem was wrong.
By a complex convergence of events, Yugoslavia served as an experimental field
for the American project to remake the world. Yugoslavia was an experimental
field for hard power, in the bombing of Yugoslavia, but also and even more so
for soft power: propaganda and manipulation. Techniques tried out in Yugoslavia
were later used in one country after another – notably the “color revolutions”
which began in Belgrade on that October 5.
Serbia has been and continued to be the victim of an historic injustice and the
object of ongoing slander. It is understandable, probably inevitable that Serbs
try to escape from this intolerable present by projecting themselves into a
mythical heroic past or a mythical idyllic future within the European Union. To
some extent this may reflect a generational split, with an older generation
recalling the mythical past and the younger generation anticipating the mythical
Meanwhile, I have the impression that Serbia’s pro-Western leaders are very
confused about the present. It strikes me that these leaders, who identify so
closely with the West, totally fail to understand it. Sometimes I have the
impression that the Serbian bourgeoisie identifies with a kinder, gentler
America that may have existed in the past, but does not exist today. They appear
to believe, quite sincerely, that being nice to the West, the West will be nice
to them. They don’t know with whom they are dealing. They don’t seem to have
heard of a familiar American saying, “Nice guys finish last”. In this ruthless
world, being nice simply means that you are a loser, and that it costs nothing
to keep cheating and beating you.
The United States and its NATO satellites are engaged in a world conquest of a
new kind. It is active everywhere and yet almost invisible. The grotesquely
enormous U.S. military machine continues to seek “full-spectrum” military
superiority to control everything that goes on from underground to outer space,
with close to one thousand overseas military bases around the globe, and
vigorous programs to transform the erstwhile defense forces of other countries
into specialized “tool boxes” for use in whatever war the U.S. may see fit to
start anywhere in the world. Every day the United States engages in joint
military exercises with client States at some point or another on the
globe. Being an ally of the United States entails being unable to defend
oneself, but being able to help the United States attack some other country.
And nice guys finish last.
Serbia’s stigmatization continues. Western newspapers ignore Serbia unless there
is something negative to say. In France, the weather maps that show temperatures
in world capitals skip over Serbia – a non-country. The only ones who manage to
break through this barrier are tennis stars – apparently the sports world has
its own autonomy. But not everyone in Serbia can be a tennis star. Outside the
tennis courts, Serbia continues to bear the stigma of “extreme nationalism”,
“ethnic cleansing”, “the worst massacre in Europe since World War II”, even
The persistence of this stigmatization calls for explanation. It was only a few
years after the end of World War II that the Federal Republic of Germany was
accepted into NATO and recognized as an ally of the West. The rapidity of
Germany’s rehabilitation had two reasons which do not apply to Serbia. First of
all, Germany was an industrial power-house, an economic power whose recovery was
essential to the economy of the victorious United States itself. Second, there
was the common enemy: the Soviet Union.
Some Serbs have obviously hoped that the “common enemy” factor could help
rehabilitate Serbia. The common enemy being, in this case, Islam. Some admirable
friends of Serbia entertain this hope, quite sincerely, but with all due respect
I wish to voice objections to this approach.
One must keep in mind the role assigned to Serbs in the war game: that of racist
enemies of Muslims. This stereotype is only reinforced when Serbs say anything
against Muslims. The U.S. game has been to use support for Muslims in Bosnia and
Kosovo to please leaders in the Muslim world. In 2007, the late congressman Tom
Lantos, who at the time was chairman of the House foreign affairs committee,
referred to independence for Kosovo as „just a reminder to the predominantly
Muslim-led governments in this world that … the United States leads the way for
creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe.“
The myth of Serb “genocide” against Muslims serves to make US and Israeli wars
against Muslims look almost humanitarian in comparison. To see things in terms
of a conflict between the Christian West and the Muslim world plays into the
hands of those who used Yugoslavia as their experimental laboratory for
conquest. It fails to grasp the big picture. It points to the wrong enemy. It
was not the Muslim world which destroyed Yugoslavia, it was NATO. It was not the
Muslim world that detached Kosovo from Serbia, or could have done so – it was
As a personal note, I must tell you that when I have visited Algeria and Libya,
I have encountered intellectuals whose sympathy is with the old Yugoslavia and
with Serbia. This is true also of Turkey, which may be more surprising.
In the context of the NATO project of world conquest, the choices made by Serbia
have broader significance than may be perceived. When Serbia turns its back on
the rest of the world in its single-minded desire to win approval from the NATO
powers that stole Kosovo, it is proving that aggression pays.
Serbia will not be treated as an equal until it fights back on the propaganda
front. So long as the nation is stigmatized as “genocidal”, it cannot make any
claim to Kosovo, or to anything else. A pariah nation can only beg on its knees.
Shakespeare wrote these lines,
“Who steals my purse steals trash… but he that filches from me my good name robs
me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.”   Let me say that
the loss of Kosovo, however brutal and unjust, is minor compared to the loss of
Serbia’s good name. Serbian leaders have set the wrong priorities, putting
futile gestures to recover Kosovo ahead of serious efforts to restore Serbia’s
Serbia does not have the military force to recapture Kosovo from NATO. It cannot
fight successfully on the hard power battlefield. But it could at least try to
fight on the battleground of words, images, ideas.
The totally biased trials in The Hague were designed to justify NATO aggression
by establishing Serbia’s guilt. And yet, the long trial of Milosevic, and the
current endless trial of Vojislav Seselj, have failed to do so. However, this is
hidden from world public opinion. The real faults of those defeated politicians
are insignificant compared to the implications of their demonization. Serb
patriots should make use of the testimony in those trials to establish the truth
and restore Serbia’s honor. They should do research, write book, make films,
talk to the world. Not only the world, but even more the younger generations of
Serbs, should be made to understand the tragedy – not to weep, nor to seek
revenge, but to know the truth and live in freedom, independence and
dignity. Only the truth can make you free.

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