For what it’s worth, here’s my two Dinara slant on the Kosovo conflict. First of all let’s go on the premise that Balkan thinking in general is more eastern than western, i.e., Byzantine/levantine.
Go back two years when the intellectual/liberal sector of the Belgrade populace took to the streets and peacefully protested against the Milosevic regime. And they stuck it out for 30 days! We in the west stood by and watched, rooting for the protesters passively , but not really lifting a finger to help...I’m not saying we were wrong, I didn’t think it was our ball game, and I still feel that way.
Why did they protest? One can talk about idealism, wanting freedom of speech, the press, etc...but the real problem was (and is!) economics. Milosevic’s regime has bled Serbia dry, and they’ve been hurting since the early 90’s. Once big brother Russia went down the tubes , Serbia’s source of “funny money” dried up the same way it did for Cuba, East Germany and Romania, to mention a few.
Now here’s where Milosevic’s convoluted Byzantine thinking comes into play: he saw what happened to Honecker’s regime in East Germany and Ceausescu’s in Romania. He knew he needed to strengthen his power over the people, or they would eventually overthrow his regime. Why not appeal to nationalism by going after Kosovo? If he gets away with it, fine...he’ll have won back for Serbia their “Alamo” as rs so aptly called it. And if he doesn’t get away with it and NATO calls his bluff by bombing the sh*t out of Serbia, the people will still unite behind him.
If the bombing campaign is successful (and I sincerely hope it is) and it forces Milosevic to accede to NATO’s demands, what has he lost? He will be more firmly entrenched in power at home, and to quote a Serbian refugee in Budapest: “ whoever loses a war to the Americans always comes out ahead economically”.
So it’s a win-win situation for Milosevic. BUT, you say, “won’t he be prosecuted as a war criminal?” No way! One of his conditions for surrender will be immunity from prosecution and you can bet world opinion and the Russians will back him to the hilt...anything to end the hostilities!
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