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Bosnian precariat, militaristic world images and media cynicism

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] F [/yt_dropcap]ascism is in full sweep around us. Writing about the ruins that left behind it, is the task of our time. Maybe it is the most important task, because we must not remain silent! Disaster of (human) policy is in practice, but we are hardly surprised.

Every statement around us which denies the possibility of existence of Bosnia, is essentially fascist howling of a monster that is trying to be covered up by diplomatic phrases about democracy of our next-door neighbours from Belgrade and Zagreb. Politicians, their followers and spokesmen, media experts, semi-conscious girls in military uniforms with rifles in their hands, folk singers with microphones, masses captivated by politicians who encourage them to hatred, the poor in shelters of demolished cities, dead children on the streets, big and small dictators, Muslims who try to take off from their faces the terrorists label while they are bombarded by the aircrafts of civilized world – they all together tempt again the evil of fascist destruction of the world, only today at a higher technical level.

Media lead us directly to the streets of Syrian cities that were bombed and destroyed by the Western allies aviation, the Russian military and local forces. Not so long ago, almost yesterday, Serbian guns were destroyed Sarajevo, Konjic, Mostar, Bihac, Gorazde, Olovo, Srebrenica and killed civilians, innocent citizens. Serbian criminals turned the cities into military targets. The cities in which the Bosniaks were the majorities. In other cities they were exterminated and “humanely” moved out, for example, from Trebinje to Scandinavia. In the large crime of Serbian politics, which is developed by SANU (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts) and supported by SPC (Serbian Orthodox Church), the cities in Bosnia became the target of Serbian criminals on the way of a large “Serbian state” building, where it is never existed. Serbian war strategy made the “legitimate targets” of the cities – because the Bosniaks live there! In that way, the half of Bosnia has been occupied. The cities have become battlefields. The urban culture and spirit have been destroyed. The destruction of urbanity is in practice. Media recorded the terrible images of death and human evil … Media recorded ..

In the European tradition, the man is meant in different ways. The man is being determined as a zoon logon echon, as animal rationale, it is like a living being who has language and mind, being who as a social being lives in the community with his equal. For centuries we believed that rational being respects speech and intelligence, all those things that philosophers from Plato’s State and Kratil to Wittgenstein’s theory of meaning and Sprachspiele talked about.

But people have the ability to abandon all considerations and allow themselves to be infected by ephemerality, nastiness, ideologies. The idea of greed that defines our age is defined by the conservative view of the world. It helps the dominance of consumerism. It rejected every possible sense of the idea of equality among people and recognition of human characteristics. The greed is preferred in it, without mercy and compassion towards each other. It has all kinds of fundamentalism and exclusivity. The capitalist greed for profit is in it. In it there is the power of insane generals and mighty armies that are driven by sick minds. The domination of the fascist forces has become normal in it. The hatred has become characteristic in it. From everywhere, they speak and order: “Stop thinking, stop thinking!” In all this the media has been involved…

Gone are the days when we have thought, deliberated. But, unfortunately, the time “when philosophers like Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault or Jean-François Lyotard said about contemporary events or suggestions that they would have done to improve things that were considered important – belongs to the past.

Nowadays, even those who imitate the behaviour of the philosopher, who have pushed out the philosophers in the 1970s, they have compensated themselves have by entertainers and models, football players and boxers. “(A. Badiou / S. Žižek, Philosophy in the Present)

It must be admitted that the models look better, and football players run ‘faster’ then philosophers! From those dangerous displaced philosophers.

We must not ignore it at all!? The media have hidden critical intellectuals from the scene, pushed them, darken them and offered us manipulators who explain that we need to be serfs of capital, banks, financial funds, elite, leaders, generals… The corrupt deceivers every night mislead us by false claims that we need to be nobody and nothing. The media help to maintain the state of captivity in the ghetto, in the “closed society”, in the cage. The media “help” us to forget Bosnia…

Hence, could we write about the ruins, about collapsed architecture of the world, refer to the right to think of our destiny while from all sides deny to us the sense of philosophical attitude in the present, manly courage in front of the world that the capitalists and fascists led before the abysses of the human. Alein Badiou is trying to write a manifesto for philosophy.

We are not aware that an attempt to kill Bosnia will define our life and thinking. Trying to delete Bosnia from the face of the world, is the question of sense of Europe. It has been clear long ago that this issue exceeds the Serbo-Croatian historiography performances, small rural constructions of frustrated tribes, their ridiculous myths, folk singing of mountain-dwellers, nebulous ideas about their own place in history… But they have not still confronted with their crimes as human beings. This confrontation is waiting for them till doomsday, to the their beliefs, at the beginning of each new day when should be built some new human form.

This confrontation cannot be avoided or substituted by some form of art, a novel, something like Andric’s novel Bridge over the Drina River, which can be used to escape into the false image of history in order to pushed aside the crimes against Bosniaks in World War II, ignored them and forgotten them. And also, that the history of Bosnia can be forged and focused people’s attention on the other side

Literary, novelistic fiction, the work of contemplation, it is offered as a historical truth! However, it is escapism. Therefore, the panel-warning on the Town hall has a moral sense because it tells us that the criminals from the Serbian people have burned the house of knowledge and killed citizens from the surrounding hills. This is the truth that liberates. So, we have to pass through the ruins. After that, nothing will be the same for us. Let’s make Bosnia free of primitive ethno-religious nationalism which the media serve to it…

After all, our confidence in mind has remained. We have fallen into the flow “from solid to liquid” (Z. Bauman) and lost orientation. Around us echoes the authoritarian cacophony – Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer – and we do not understand what this means! We disappear in fog.

Image for the public

The undertaking to “shape the world in the image for the public” (M. Heidegger) through the media, books, proceedings, conferences, political manifesto, the party’s programs, Nobel Prize winners literary works and then, this image becomes obliging for all others, leads us to almost hopeless position that shows us the forgery, simplifying, reducing and destruction of the contents of the world that we live in.

Afterwards, it is shown that we already have available finished images, constructed images of the world and experiences, simulations and bad copies, but not our own opinion about the world that opens up the world to another dimension, in addition to simple performance on us as subjects who have mastered the world as a subject that we must subordinate and exploit for its untamable needs. Modern Aged, Cartesian image of the world as an object which approaches the subject to it with its intellect and instruments, has suffered a dramatic criticism and transformations during the last hundred years, and it must continue to transform in the direction of love for the world in which we live. Adaequatio rei et intellectus goes with it, as well as the metaphysical realism of “appearance” of the spirit that we must overcome. The man is seen as a camera that “objectively” shoots the world… A man just constructs media image…

The media are emerging as a threat for our freedom. They dramatically wider cultural pessimism, xenophobia and policy of divergence. The fascist tendencies are pouring from them, ethno-foulism and impassioned sermons on life meaning. The boundaries between fiction and reality or fictional form and actuality disappear without explanation and leveled every form of rationality in the mud of fascism. It has been already seen by Adorno, Lowenthal, Horkheimer, Benjamin, Marcuse and others. We have splashed again by a wave of fascistoid infection, that monstrous that has appeared in the past that we have not overcome and ennobled as people (unbewältigte Vergangenheit / unmastered past), the past which we could not obey to the man and his values.

Unbeaten ghosts of the past are trying to push us into migration again, into the new emigration, the escape into a hidden corner of the world where the fascists cannot reach us. They are trying to prepare for us a new genocide, murder, dehumanization. But there is no more space for migration and running away – finally we have to face with the Serbian Nazis and fascists! The crisis of capitalism and liberal democracy always opens the space to small then to large fascists around us. Usually, most people are not aware and do not notice when the fascists grab them and harness to the crazy circle of crimes. The media have real criminal role in it…

Our media are provincial. The media are the culmination of an enlightened false consciousness. Sloterdijk denounces them with special pleasure. Guillotine has survived in them. Media lynch as a “proof” of guilt of the accused is the means of prosecutors and conspiracy groups that do not have public responsibility. That is the main method of political disqualification of opponents. Media campaigns are the “evidence” of guilt. Manipulation of public spirit is shown as irresponsibility, incompetence, ignorance and danger for the system.

They asked Umberto Eco: “Do the journalists have the role in stopping of conspiracy ?, and he said: – Journalists must help to prevent the rule of lies and manipulation. This should be one of their struggles, while preserving critical spirit alive, and avoiding standardization of thought “.

The journalists have been transformed into “soldiers” of organized interest groups in the social structure. They behave as the loyal soldiers of leaders and their clique that rotate. The media, unfortunately, do not work for citizens around the world. The media, the secret police or the prosecution services often work together under one political hat against citizens. They manipulate the citizens from the position of financial interest groups dealing with top-grade transactions and serve to a few in society. The poor pays everything eventually. In Bosnia, Syria, or who knows where tomorrow?

The media has taken in hands the role of creator of our reality. With its superficial power of judgment, they formed millions of forms and contents of the people’s minds who move into unconsciousness of their own existence, not knowing the meaning of their lives. They, almighty and all-shaping media, create confusion that cannot be treated or removed. They create terror more than it can be expressed by referencing to the word simulacrum and much more than that can be daily consumed. They can wage wars, rob the countries, exterminate the nations, they can make spectacle from crime, they can mislead as much as you please… And they think they are innocent!

In fact, the media are there to carry out the post-war rehabilitation of the area, subsidence of soil, levelling of horror, relativizing of evil, rehabilitation of war criminals… They are just the extended arm of the ruling policy. The media are there to deceive us and left dazed for the next day. The media give space to local fascists, neo-Nazis, nationalists, misanthropy, bums, primitives and similar creatures that infect the public. And that lasts for decades.

Media collaboration in spreading of hatred and evil among people, cannot be presented at all by rational means. Madmen present the criminal political programs, and the media follow and support them. They transmit their words, using them as exclusive news, scandalous insane appearances due to better viewers rating and profit. This is the simple essence of irresponsible media structures. The media teach us to “tuck tail under” and gather in our corner, to accept the “peremptory set” of systemic attitudes in which we are trapped. Media “teach” us that there is no rebellion…

Lies of the media (II)

Meaningless populist campaigns sputter around us. Politicians scream from all sides and promise “golden spoons for common people”. People have become phlegmatic, indifferent, tired from the promises. Citizens live passages as from Adorno’s book Minima moralia. Logic disappears in speech. People are talking nonsense. Babble. Trash. They are frustrated and outraged. Only some of them still considers the moral issues of human endeavour. There is no reference to the ethic of responsibility and moral attitude in human matters. On the scene are the “priests” and politicians who are not able to keep like male and knight in front of serious things of life, but they escape into the empty “height” or “bottom”, it does not matter.

Endlessly, the media provide the repetition of lies, they provide the duration of the controlled society and choking of critical consciousness. They have the truth that is transmitted by authorities. For decades, they hide questions and possible answers. They do not ask one of the most important questions initiated by Dervis Susic: “Do you know anything about yourself? Let’s say, who you are, i.e. we, Bosniaks? It must be known!” Do we know who is Avdo Međedović, at all -“A singer who talks”? What means to us “Bosniak’s Homer”? If Husein Basic is right, then Avdo is too big for us or for our powers of understanding? How did we reach this condition? Where did we get from our vocabulary of undefined beings? What are the curricula in the education system? Moreover, the media teach us the emptiness, the silence, the worthlessness of their own existence.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) warned at the end of 2016 that some species that were not on the list of endangered ones, have become the part of the list of endangered species. It happens noticeable reduction of giraffes and African gray parrots in the wilderness. Horrible, indeed? Also, it is endangered the leopard, they assume that only 7100 leopards have remained in wilderness. The animal protectors have slogans: I’d rather go naked than wear wool. Wear your own skin! Let animals keep theirs. Let’s protect animals if we cannot protect people. The slogans of fighters for animals protection peal everywhere, but in the same time, small people are eradicated because of their names, language or belief.

Where are Rohinja people who are Muslims? Does anybody think of them while the Nobel Peace Prize is given? Do entity “RS” on the ground of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a result of the crime of genocide? The “priests” of genocide and guards of its results are the ones who would continue the same “job”, wouldn’t they ? Can the media and media cynicism make of that crime the humanist fairytale about the man’s “will”? Immoral human figures tell us that the genocidal creation “RS” on the ground / territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina is “the result of the will of the Serbian people”. What a juristic formulation?! The media help the rising of this “truth”, especially media predators with their destructive content in which the public is experienced as an animal farm.

The media shamelessly deceive and contribute to decline of public morality into the mud of ethnic-nationalist images of the world which can be best understood as Kačavenda-shape idolatry in the heart of fascism. Media bravely return and lead us to the Middle Ages, in the empire of crusade, priests and local rulers, among dogmatized protocols of life and octroyed algorithms of truth, but we must not forget that they only serve to certain policies and have to implement it. Therefore, the media operation is turned into a mechanism that should be objectified the possibility of civilizations wars as a new spectacle – as if the army do not fight with political and economic interests behind them.

The media, unfortunately, are caught in the net of power and it is not hard to serve it, because they are the source of funds to maintain the system. In Bosnia, most of the media (public radio and television broadcasters) are paid by citizens – hence, citizens pay them to be oriented by the media. The media participate in the general moral degradation and education of the population, that shower them with their information and programs.

Such as the industry of beauty maniacally exploits the sense of human beauty, just as well the cynicism of legal system perverts the meaning of law and justice among people. Corrupt prosecutors, police officers, judges, businessmen, at every step destroy the system and order in society. Nowadays, primitive aesthetics and law are the only reflexes of one horrible process in which the human existence is systemic destroyed on all sides of mankind. It seems that the process is complementary in which modern technology destroys human life by shutting off a movement in it, action, thought, dynamics, resulting in autism, with processes ghettoisation and atomization that people for the purposes of capitalism and organized control. Burning Aleppo is in the media image, as if Sarajevo used to be, under the watchful eye of the UN and world forces. Graham Bamford shines in my Bosnian heart.

Lies in media reports

The media in the hands of corporate capitalism pelt us by messages, information, products, offers. We are choking and losing support in everyday life. “Children of the rich cannot play rock and roll” – the warning of officers’ sons of failed army! We need to start thinking about a new definition of a man and the key terms of human life. The great transformation is in progress, an epochal turn of all that we have conceived as a people.

Eva Bartlett, an independent Canadian journalist and human rights fighter, all around the world, warned in her speech at the UN that the sources from the ground mislead mainstream media, i.e. these sources are compromised and are not credible at all. The image that comes through their reports to the public all around the world is a false image and not corresponds to the state of things on the ground. Corporate media fabricate the reality, deceive the public, adapt their reports to the interests of the big players, fabricate “fake news / story”, recycle the testimony, so that everything you read is the opposite to the reality. Bartlett warns that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is located in Coventry led by the authority of one man who “receives” information from so-called White helmets. Image from Syria, therefore, was under the control of corporate and compromised media.

We are led by financial institutions through debt for borrowed money. The rulers of the 21st century will be the semi-educated and uncultivated, barbarians without shame who are pride of their vulgar manners and ignorance, self-satisfied demimonde. They control the money flows and subordinate the debtors. And media serve to it… We will know all about this today when this is important to no one, when we wouldn’t remember criminals and politicians from Belgrade no more, from that dark city. The media will insidiously level Serbian chauvinists crimes and patriotic struggle of the Bosnian people for their survival. As if we are stupid, they still sell us the Yugoslavianism, the old Serbian hegemony and narration, those old and empty speakers of existence without identity… Anti-Bosnian forces are strategically put people on positions in the system and they deliberately disintegrate the state. They attack all the points of the Bosnian state, which make them the resistance – or bribe them with money and escort-ladies or set them the “dance”. They have at the disposal the means and resources. They do it by means of the police and secret police services, the judiciary and prosecution, paid media and corrupt journalists, ministries of this and that, embassies and no one is trying to stop them.

Numerous media are in the service of destruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Genocidal creation on the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the work of the Milosevic’s regime which is on the ruins of Yugoslavia tried to create a Greater Serbia. The identical plan had Tudjman’s regime, but handle with velvet gloves. The evidence of it is in the top analysis by Cyril Ribičić about the project HZHB. The complicity of the media in the profanation of our social life is boundless, shameful and invaluable. The media, of course, will never take this responsibility because they remind us to the children who go round like sparrows that tweet from the rooftops, but they are not able to learn the lessons given and do not like the lecture. They never feel the guilt and do not take responsibility.

Media show us that they are the heart of the simulacrum and ideological one-sidedness of the society with no choice. They are callously involved in people liquidation who were aimed from the political opponents. The ignorance and indifference come out of them. Journalists repeat ideological matrix, they do not differentiate the meanings, they do not know the old definitions and do not want to learn the new ones, they speak language that conceals rather than reveals social processes, irresponsibly refer to the words, do not have time for language consolidation and clarification of terms, because they are connected to police, secret services, companies, party’s secretaries and leaders. They must fulfil their requirements. They have to satisfy divergent interests and that it all seems “logical” – and that certainly cannot be logical. But citizens? (Nota bene. The growing children need to know that the Army of the Republic in Bosnia Herzegovina was not “so-called” – it was legendary and the only legal military force of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina that got up to save the state of a double aggression of Milosevic and Tudjman’s regime. The media in B&H today transfer the deceits from Belgrade media-propaganda and intelligence circles that someone who is legally defended their country “so-called.” Such morbidity comes from the heart of fascism. The truth is not proved by means of reveal a lie of fascism or it is not true to prove a lie of fascism.) Citizens should be protected from forgery!

The right-wing hook has raised against Bosnia as a unique state and began peddled morbid attitudes on “three of Bosnia”, certainly ethnic-religious fragmented. This is just a continuation of anti-Bosnian hegemonic criminal ideas that cause war and suffering. Still the media are at the service of the fascist attitude towards Bosnia of Great Croatian and the Great Serbian discriminatory arrangement. Thereby, the media openly advocate the right-wing hatred, exclusion, xenophobia, ethno-foulism, they are silent on the constitutional discrimination, support the society of ignoramus, they create the fake image. The media deceive us and lead to the situation to leave rational behaviour and accept something that we have not yet understood, but the next moment we can see that it is disastrous for us. Meanwhile, the media have earned billions of dollars and their owners are rubbing their hands without thinking whether it is dangerous or good for people that have supported a sick fascist to come to power. Therefore, there is not intellectuality in the media, the understanding or superior thinking, because their goal is the manipulation of mediocrity that dominates on the historical scene. Media deception is only the consequence of the old ideological deception of Bosnia that began at the end of the 19th century and continued until our time in many false narratives.

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Europe

A Recipe For The War

prof. Zlatko Hadzidedic

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Authors: Zlatko Hadžidedić, Adnan Idrizbegović*

There is a widespreadview that Germany’s policy towards Bosnia-Herzegovina has always been friendly. Also, that such a policy stimulated the European Union to adopt a positive approach to the Bosnian quest to eventually become a part of the Euro-Atlantic integrations. However, Stefan Schwarz, a renowned German politician, in his recent comment for Deutsche Welle, raised the question of the true nature of Germany’s policy towards Bosnia,from 1992 to the present day.Here we shall try to offer possible answers to this question, so as to present a brief history of that policy.

A history of (un)recognition

Germany officially recognised Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent state on April 6, 1992.Prior to that, such recognition had been grantedto two other former Yugoslav republics, Slovenia and Croatia,on January 15, 1992. Germany recognised these two states against the advice by Robert Badinter, a jurist delegated by the European Commision to arbitrate in the process of dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, to recognise all Yugoslav republics simultaneously. Under the pressure by Germany, 12 members of the European Community (United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Greece, Austria) recognised Slovenia and Croatia in January 1992. As Washington Post wrote on January 16, 1992,

The German government hailed today’s event as a historic development and immediately opened embassies in the two republics. But France and Britain, which still harbor doubts about the wisdom of early recognition, said they would wait to see if Croatia fulfilled its promises on human rights before carrying out an exchange of ambassadors.

There is a well-known myth, spread by the diplomats of Britain and France, that ‘early recognition’ of Slovenia and Croatia triggered the war in the former Yugoslavia. Such a claim is both absurd and obscene, bearing in mind that Serbia had already waged war against Slovenia and Croatia and was preparing a military attack on Bosnia for several months. However, the question that should be posed here is, why Germany recognised Slovenia and Croatia separately, instead of recognition of all the Yugoslav republics simultaneously, as advised by Badinter and strongly supported by the US? Does that imply that Germany practically left the rest of the republics to their fate, to be occupied and annexed by Serbia, which controled the former Yugoslav army and its resources? Was it a deliberate policy, or simply a reckless decision? In the same article, WP quotes the then German Minister of Foreign Affairs: 

“The German policy on Yugoslavia has proved correct,” said German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher. “We’ve said for months that if the Community decided on recognition . . . that would initiate a process of rethinking, above all by the leadership of the Yugoslav army.”

Mr. Genscher probably offered a definite answer to that question. Also, the actual response of the Yugoslav army’s leadership to the German push for separate recognition of Slovenia and Croatia, counted in hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of ethnically cleansed in Croatia and Bosnia, testifies to the ‘correctness’ of such thinking. Yet, was it a momentary miscalculation by Genscher, the then Minister, or a long-term German foreign policy towards Bosnia, already projected to be the ultimate victim of the Yugoslav army’s agression?

An answer to this question is not very difficult to reach if we consider the German policy concerning the initiatives for ethnic partition of Bosnia, disseminated through the channels of the European Community. These proposals may have been initiated and instigated by the British Foreign Office and the French Quai d’Orsay; yet, partition along ethnic lines has always been the only European consensus about Bosnia, a consensus in which Germany participated with all its political will and weight.

Appeasement, from Munich to Lisbon

Prior to the 1992-1995 war, the European Community delegated the British and Portugese diplomats, Lord Carrington and Jose Cutileiro, to design a suitable scheme for ethnic partition of Bosnia, and in February 1992 they launched the so-called Lisbon Conference, with the aim of separating Bosnian ethno-religious communities and isolating them into distinct territories. This was the initiation of the process of ethnic partition, adopted in each subsequent plan to end the war in Bosnia. However, at the Lisbon Conference such a ‘solution’ was imposed by Carrington and Cutileiro as the only available when there was no war to end, indeed, no war in sight; and, curiously, it has remained the only concept the European Community, and then the European Union,has ever tried to apply to Bosnia.

Contrary to the foundations of political theory, sovereignty of the Bosnian state was thus divided, and its parts were transferred to the chiefs of three ethnic parties. The EC recognised these usurpers of the state sovereignty, having promoted them into legitimate representatives of their respective ethnic communities. The Carrington-Cutileiro maps were tailored to determine the territorial reach of each of these communities. What remained to be done afterwards was their actual physical separation, and that could only be performed by war, genocide and ethnic cleansing. For, ethnically homogenous territories, as envisaged by Carrington and Cutileiro, could only be created by a mass slaughter and mass expulsion of those who did not fit the prescribed model of ethnic homogeneity. In this way, the European Community created a recipe for the war in Bosnia.Yet, ever since the war broke out, the European diplomats have never ceased claiming that the ‘chaos’ was created by ‘the wild Balkan tribes’, who ‘had always slaughtered each other’. 

No one ever noticed German opposition to the Lisbon principles of ethnic separation and territorial partition, clearly leading to war and bloodshed. Is it, then, possible that German foreign policy was truly surprised by the Lisbon’s bloody outcome? Or the Lisbon Agreement was tailored in the best tradition of the Munich Agreement, as a consensus on another country’s partition between the three leading European powers – Great Britain, France, and Germany –  again,in the name of peace?

Landgrab rewarded

In the following ‘peace plans’ for Bosnia, the European Community was represented by Lord Owen, accompanied by the representatives of the Organization of United Nations, Cyrus Vance and Thorwald Stoltenberg. Although the British diplomacy was clearly dominant in these attempts to find a ‘proper’ model for Bosnia’s ethnic partition, Germany’s Foreign Ministry was always fully present there through its Director of Policy Planning Staff, Wolfgang Ischinger. In the structure of the German Ministry, this position is occuppied by the most senior career diplomat, so that there can beno doubt about Ischinger’s capacity to articulate Germany’s strategic interests. During the process of negotiations under the Vance-Owen and Owen-Stoltenberg plans, Ischinger coordinated German policy towards Bosnia together with Michael Steiner, the head of„SoBos“ (Sonderstab Bosnien), a special Bosnian unit established within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[i]

During the war in Bosnia, from 1992 to 1995, Germany and the European Community never abandoned the concept of Bosnia’s ethnic partition. In 1994,Germany took a more active role in its implementation within the (informal) International Contact Group, consisting of the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the US, where Germany was represented by both Ischinger and Steiner. The Contact Group Plan defined the final model of ethnic separation, having led to the ultimate breakup of the Bosnian territory into two ethnically cleansed and homogenised ‘entities’, tailored in accordance with an arbitrary proportion of 51:49%, which was subsequently implemented in the Dayton Peace Accords. The entire struggle within the Contact Group was fought over the percentage and disposition of territory granted to particular ethnic communities, two of which served as Serbia’s and Croatia’s proxies. The principle of ethnic partition was never put in question. In this process, Germany became the exclusive advocate of Croatian interests, in Croatia’s attempts to cede the south-western part of Bosnia, whereas Britain and France advocated the interests of Serbia in its efforts to cede eastern and western parts of Bosnia. To some people’s surprise, the United States was the sole defender of Bosnia’s territorial integrity within the Contact Group. However, under the pressure by the European Community, the US was forced to make concessions, so as to eventually accept the prescribed 51:49% territorial distribution as an’internal reorganisation’ of Bosnia.

The US thus tacitly accepted the European initiatives to reward the landgrab of Bosnia’s territory, performed by Serbia and Croatia, against the UN Charter and international law. The European Community’s leading powers –Great Britain, France, and Germany – claimed that there was no other option but to accept such a landgrab, because the status quo, caused by the neighbours’ military aggression, could not possibly be altered. To strengthen this argument, the European Community also played the main role in imposing an arms embargo on the ‘warring parties’. This embargo effectively deprived the landlocked Bosnian army of the capacity to purchase weaponry and thus alter the status quo and liberate the country’s territory. Here the EC acted as a whole, again, without any dissent on Germany’s or anyone else’s part. 

Whose responsibility?

The Dayton Peace Accords is commonly perceived as an American political project. The partition of Bosnia is thus being interpreted as a concept that emerged for the first time during the Dayton negotiations, and its authorship is ascribed exclusively to the American negotiator, Richard Holbrooke. However, it is not so. The history of Bosnia’s partition clearly demonstrates that this very concept has persistently been promoted by the European Community, and then by the European Union, from the 1992 Lisbon Conference to the present day. Even the notorious partition proportion of 51:49% was determined by the Contact Group, well before the Dayton Conference. A clear responsibility of the US negotiators is that they caved in to the pressures by the EC within the Contact Group. Still, the consistent striving to impose ethnic partition as the sole appropriate concept for Bosnia should definitely be attributed to its real advocates – the members of the European Community. Since Italy and Yeltsin’s Russia certainly played a minor role in the Contact Group, the lion’s share of responsibility for the final outcome, verified in Dayton, belongs equally to three EC powers, Great Britain, France, and Germany. The fact that the British policy-makers conceived the very principle of ethnic partition, that their French colleagues were so enthusiastic about its implementation, while the Germans accepted it as the best available mode of appeasement, abolishes neither of them of gigantic moral and political responsibility for all the suffering the Bosnians have had to go through.

*Adnan Idrizbegović, Independent Researcher, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina


[i]As consequent advocates of the German foreign policy in the Bosnian episode, both Ischinger and Steiner have continuously enjoyed upward promotion within the ranks of the German foreign policy establishment. Thus Ischinger first took the position of the Ministry’s Political Director under Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, and then of the Staatssekretär (deputy foreign minister) under Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.Ischinger also represented Germany at numerous international and European conferences, including the 1999 G8 and EU summit meetings in Cologne/Germany and the 2000 Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at the United Nations, New York. He was also appointed as the European Union Representative in the Troika negotiations on the future of Kosovo in 2007. Since 2019, Ischinger has been co-chairing on the Transatlantic Task Force of the German Marshall Fund and the Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung (BKHS) and, finally, has become the Chairman of the Munich Security Conference (!). During his mandate in the Contact Group, Steiner was awarded the position of head of the Ministry’s co-ordination unit for multilateral peace efforts. After the war, he served six months (January–July 1997) as a principal deputy to Carl Bildt, the first high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1998, he was selected by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to work as the Chancellor’s foreign and security policy adviser.

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Europe

Why the West Needs a New Eurasian Strategy

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The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which was established in 2014, has earned a bad international reputation. In 2012, Hillary Clinton called Eurasian integration “a move to re-Sovietize the region,” although the Eurasian Economic Union had yet to emerge.Other Western high-ranking politicians have largely avoided the topic of Eurasian integration in their speeches, but they actually appear to have accepted Clinton’s vision. After the Ukraine crisis, Western policy towards Russia was simply extended to include Russian-led integration projects: the EAEU was denied recognition, whereas EU-EAEU economic cooperation was and is out of the question. Is this policy worth it?

Strictly speaking, when it comes to elaborating a Eurasian strategy, non-EAEU countries have a limited range of policy options to choose from. First, they could actively resist Eurasian integration through supporting alternative integration projects and inciting conflicts among EAEU nations. Second, they may passively counteract integration processes by means of neglecting the realities ensuing from the EAEU’s existence. Third, they could recognize the EAEU’s right to exist and establish comprehensive relations with the Union. Finally, they may use Eurasian integration to advance their own interests.

The active and passive resistance strategies are based on several assumptions. The first one is that Eurasian integration boosts Russia’s influence in the post-Soviet space. In fact, this logic does not always work, since institutional limitations associated with Eurasian integration may have an opposite effect. The Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, which is one of the key EAEU bodies, is composed of 10 commissioners representing 5 member states, and the Board’s decisions are made by a qualified majority. Other governing bodies of the Union make their decisions by consensus. This means that Eurasian integration can serve as a check on Russia’s economic policies: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan can collectively block any official decision of the Union. Moreover, there is no indication that the EAEU ensures Russia’s effective leadership in the post-Soviet space: the Eurasian Economic Union lacks a positive agenda for the future, which actually makes Moscow’s role fairly contextual. Therefore, the perception of the EAEU as subordinated to Russia and its interests appears to be misleading: incredible as it seems, Western countries could effectively use EAEU institutions to promote their agenda instead of counteracting Eurasian integration as such.

To put it bluntly, any new international institution can be described as an empty vessel that needs to be filled with a particular content. Eurasian integration is a very young project, and its future identity is contingent upon many internal and external factors. Instead of serving as an instrument of Russian expansionism, the EAEU may well be transformed into a mechanism of Russia’s modernization and Westernization. Few people would argue today that ASEAN is hostile to Western countries, although the Association was initially conceived to keep South-East Asia away from both Soviet and American influence and involvement. So is there any reason to portray the EAEU as hostile to America and Europe? As of 2020, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, which are EAEU members, maintain cordial relations with the West. These are the very countries that could serve as conduits for reshaping the EAEU according to Western interests and ideals by blocking unfavorable decisions and pushing a more pro-Western agenda, and they do have institutional capabilities to do so.

The second assumption underlying the resistance strategy is that Eurasian integration is a very weak project driven by the momentary interests of the Russian Federation. Hence, it is inferred that there is no point in maintaining the dialogue with the EAEU because the whole integration project is doomed to failure in the long term. This perception is emblematic of a very limited understanding of post-Soviet politics in Western countries: in reality, it is highly likely that the EAEU will outlast the political regimes that currently govern EAEU countries, as Eurasian integration is conducive to quite a few forces and interest groups present in the region. Migrant workers are only one of such groups: Russia has been the key destination for Central Asian migrants for decades, and this is a fact that exists independently of political developments. Elaborating some kind of a modus vivendi with the EAEU is worthwhile, as Eurasian integration is more complex that it is thought to be.

The Integration Dilemma

The third assumption of those opposing Eurasian integration is that the EAEU is a potential competitor for European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. This argument has a solid basis, since the intensification of Eurasian integration processes in the 2010s can rightly be characterized as Russia’s response to NATO enlargement and to the EU’s Eastern Partnership project. Samuel Charap and Mikhail Troitskiy refer to this competition between Europe and Eurasia using the term “integration dilemma.” They argue that “[b]y promoting engagement with the states of post-Soviet Eurasia largely through integration initiatives that are de facto closed to one another, the West and Russia have (often unintentionally) forced these states to make zero-sum choices.” The “integration dilemma” can strike at almost any post-Soviet country: Belarus, Moldova, and Armenia can fall victim to this dilemma, just as Ukraine did in 2014.

However, following the logic of the “integration dilemma” is a flawed strategy. What we have seen in practice is that a country’s accession to the EAEU has little impact on its relations with external actors. For instance, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) freely operates in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, although these countries are frequently described as belonging to Russia’s sphere of influence. The Open Societies Foundations operate in Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, although George Soros, its founder and chair, has a bad image in Eastern Europe. This once again proves my point that influencing and shaping the EAEU is more effective than counteracting it.

Since the integration dilemma is still there, let me assume that the resistance strategy is a perfect fit. If so, counteracting Eurasian integration requires creating and nurturing alternative identities, which would be strong enough to defy the Eurasian core. This resembles the all too familiar strategy of isolating Russia through detaching it from other post-Soviet states, which was one of the roots of the ongoing crisis in Russia’s relations with the West. Although Russian state media contends that the West has been adept at nurturing anti-Russian sentiments in the post-Soviet space, it can be said that the resistance strategy has been less successful and effective than is often supposed.

First, while surveys show that strong pro-Western sentiments exist in Ukraine or Armenia, the situation is quite different in Central Asian countries, where Russia continues to enjoy unquestionable moral authority. Second, European integration is a more difficult path than Eurasian integration when it comes to institutional, political, and economic prerequisites, which means that popular support for European integration might erode over time if there is no or little noticeable progress in the integration process. Finally, detaching Russia from its neighbors is quite costly, since it requires this very progress, which presupposes conducting comprehensive political and economic reforms in post-Soviet countries and stimulating these reforms through financial aid.

All this means that the strategy of resisting Eurasian integration is unlikely to achieve its objectives at an affordable cost, whereas the policy of wisely influencing it seems to be more fruitful and less bellicose. Then why not adopt this policy for the good of America, Europe, and Eurasia?

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Migrants threaten EU again

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Migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea are rescued by a Belgian ship. Frontex/Francesco Malavolta

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing social and economic crisis in Europe have resulted in an aggravation of the migration issue Unlike in 2014-2015, when this issue was considered an “external” one and was related to the influx of refugees and illegal migrants from North Africa and Middle East to EU countries, now the situation has become worse due to the realignment of the newly arrived migrants and the different extent of their integration in the traditional European societies. The crisis in the European economy is making things yet worse, causing a “vicious circle” that may jeopardize the future of the entire European Union and undermine the unity of the EU as an organization.

Roughly 5 million migrants have arrived in Europe since 2014, which contributed to an increase in crime, exacerbated terrorist threat and led to the crisis of the very system of “welfare state” which was the pride of Europeans in the past decades. The head of the French delegation in the Identity and Democracy faction of the European Parliament Gerome Riviere believes that there are all grounds to talk about the catastrophic failure of the EU migration policy. “This is the collapse of the entire asylum giving system: two thirds of applications are rejected, while only one third are sent out. In France, the number is less than 10%”, – Valeurs Actuelles says.

However, the number one danger in the current circumstances is not the rising number of migrants or migrant-related threats, but the build-up of crisis in the EU political sphere and the deepening confrontation between countries of Western Europe, on the one hand, and countries of the Central and Eastern Europe, on the other. Countries, such as Poland and Hungary, strongly refuse to meet European Commission requirements concerning filling the Brussels-elaborated quotas on receiving illegal migrants. Moreover, differences on migration issues give rise to controversy on other issues of domestic and foreign policies within the EU and encourage euro skeptics and nationalists.

At present, developments to this end can be observed in Poland. According to reports, it’s Warsaw’s desire to pursue a nationally oriented security policy that secured the return of ex-Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynsky, a key opponent to Brussels, who made a comeback into the Polish government after a 13-year absence. Under a Cabinet reshuffle last week, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party holds the post of vice-premier overseeing the power bloc. He announced the formation of a national security committee, which incorporates the ministries of justice, defense and interior, – that is, those directly involved in tackling migration issues. In addition, the return of Yaroslaw Kaczynsky may exert a tangible impact on Poland’s relations with the EU, which sees the former prime minister as a symbol of East European skepticism. In the summer of 2018 the Law and Justice leader said that Poland could receive the unpaid reparations from Germany on the results of the Second World War.

A similar strengthening of euro skeptics is currently under way in other countries of the EU, including in Germany, while the inarticulate policy of Brussels on migration is playing into the hands of these forces.

What adds to the problem is that Brussels officials are de facto unable to provide an appropriate response to multiplying threats in the above mentioned area. «The European Commission intends to tighten border control (a good idea but the funds allocated for its implementation are ridiculously small) and officially register more migrants with the help of new legitimate immigration procedures. It is thereby putting more restrictions on the sovereignty of our countries, by introducing a system of obligatory migrant distribution in the name of solidary of member countries. The blow will thus be aimed at Hungary and Poland, which have no intention of accommodating the migrants, as demanded by their people», – Valeurs Actuelles points out.

Earlier this year German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned about the possibility of a new wave of migrants in Europe, which would be comparable to that of four years ago. «We ought to render more assistance to our European partners in controlling EU external borders», – he said in an interview published by Bild am Sonntag: «If we do not help, we will face an influx of refugees similar to that of 2015, or even worse».

Refugees and illegal migrants who have been trying to find their way into Europe over the past two years come from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria and Turkey.

Given the situation, a further aggravation in Europe may lead to the deepening of the crisis in the European Union. A lot will depend on relations between the EU and Turkey – which are currently deteriorating owing to the Ankara-pursued policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and Trans-Caucasus. In turn, crisis phenomena of this kind create the so-called “opportunity windows” for Russia to cement cooperation with those forces in the EU that hold more responsible and independent positions on the key issues of international politics.

From our partner International Affairs

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