August 27, 2000
Note from the Editor: Last week, Gregory Elich eloquently demonstrated that behind and beyond all the propaganda and the disinformation the Western Powers had little interest (and that is an euphemism) in Bringing Democracy to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Agreeing with Elich did not stop Milo Clark from "getting going with this stuff....Again!"
We are imperceptibly descending into a New Barbarian Age comfortably installed in the plush chairs of our living rooms, watching our favorite "reality" shows and munching on our beloved fast-food of choice. The civilizing armies of Savagery, disguised under the mantle of Hollywood/Madison Avenue-made goodness dust (à la Elizabeth Dole), keep rolling over the globe. Shall we ever wake up? The only way not to play a game is to NOT play the game.
Among many interesting possibilities and, perhaps, probabilities related
to the once Yugoslavia comes a cluster related to the decline and fall of
empires ("ours" at the moment).
The Balkans have been major conundrums within quandaries for more years than calendars can record. The fatuous concept "Bringing Democracy to B-H" is beyond naive....what evidence is there in actuality that whatever form of government going on there past, present or future is any way democratic in terms of either European or American models? A determined minority can put paid to any soft majority anytime. (viz. the religious right controlling the Republicans).
While the Nazis easily overcame the then Yugoslav military in a matter of weeks, eventually the various partisans and guerilla groups, when not fighting among themselves, managed to tie up as many as 700,000 German troops which, obliquely, contributed to weaknesses on both eastern and western fronts in 1944 - 45. Should we thank the warring Balkan tribes for victory in WWII?
There was little savagery anywhere in WWII that met or exceeded the norms of the Balkans -- motivating, perhaps, a little more recent catch-up than worrying about the Turks a few hundred years back.
The Hapsburg Empire dissolved into a still brewing stew of nations and tribal configurations (viz B-H at the moment) within which borders are ephemeral as well as minimally related to nationalities (see "Harper's" map in August edition). Nomenclature of nationalities (viz, Slovaks) seem to be a creation of the gulp in terms of history (being essentially unknown as Slovaks prior to 1918). Those good "democrats" whom we so loudly applauded as Czechoslovakia, even given Vaclav Havel, have dissolved into a very nasty Slovakia and a Czech fragment getting nastier by the day, Prague and all. Ex-"communists" now cloaked as nationalists are running away with power all over that fluid and churning area.
Savage Capitalism (itself a form of nationalism) is unleashed, in part, as a result of ending the Cold War, itself as much a creation of fantasy as actualities (viz. the ephemeral missile crisis of early 1960s). Now as "Western" empires move through the successions of decline masking as Savage Peace (title of a fascinating book, by the way), the commonality prevailing not just in the Balkans is nationalism, the harbinger of a New Barbarity.
What gets boiling in B-H, Kosovo, etc. is simply an indicator, probably not even a precursor, as the curse is already upon us.
Should we get ready for Buchanan? Interesting benchmark to watch: election percentages around the 12-17% mark represent what National Socialists realized in late 1920s in Germany and then went forward to you-know-what. Le Pen in France is already at that point as is Haider in Austria. Perot did it here, too.
The more I grok the work of John Lukacs and the links developing, the more I see the evolving as already evolved although perhaps mostly occulted yet, especially here in the USA.
I said -- don't get me going on this stuff. . . .Again.
Milo Clark, a founding member of Swans, had it all: Harvard MBA, big house, three-car garage, top management... Yet, once he had seemingly achieved the famed American dream he felt something was missing somewhere. As any good executive he decided to investigate. Since then, he has become a curmudgeon and, after living in Berkeley, California, where he was growing bamboos, making water gardens, listening to muses, writing, cogitating and pondering, he has moved on to the Big Island in Hawaii where he creates thought forms about sunshine. Milo can be reached at Swans
Bringing Democracy to Bosnia-Herzegovina by Gregory Elich
Ishmael - Daniel Quinn
Sex, Lies and Fascism.... Again? by Margaret Wyles
Don't Get me Going on This Stuff, Please
A Follow-up on Margaret Wyles'Essay on Fascism by Milo Clark
Resources on the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath
Articles Published on Swans Regarding the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath