12 March 2006
Why imperialism hated Milosevic
The death of Slobodan Milosevic has led to various types rehashing events in the former Yugoslavia. Milosevic is usually presented as the chief villain and the man responsible for everything that went wrong. Actually he was nothing of the sort. He was a tough, ruthless operator, in a region that has more than its fair shair of them. The difference between Milosovic and the rest is that he was not prepared to bow his knee to Washington.
To give one example: Operation Storm was launched in August 1995 by the Croats against the Serbs. It had logistical support from the USA and succeeded in its aims: the expulsion of over 200,000 Serbs from their homes. Nobody talks about Operation Storm and I suspect that most hand shandyists for war have never even heard of it. Why is that?
The most logical explanation is that Croatia was willing to work with the USA to achieve its aims. Those aims involved removing most of the Serbs from Croatian territory, and they were able to get away with this because the Croatian government placed themselves within Washington's orbit. Croatia is eager to join NATO, and this looks likely to happen this year. Zagreb also wishes to join the EU and has the support of Germany in this - it's always nice to see old allies working together. In other words Croatia posed no threat to the international capitalist order, and basically was allowed to get on with its activities unhindered.
In the case of Yugoslavia, Milosevic's crime seems to have been that he tried to hold Yugoslavia together after Washington had decided that it was going to break up. Then, once the breakup became pretty much complete, he had the temerity not to offer his country up as a vassal to Washington. Had he done so, the Americans would probably have left him alone in the troublesome Serbian province of Kosovo.
However, what Milosevic wanted was an independent Yugoslavia - and when that became impossible, an independent Serbia. He did not want to run a vassal state that would have helped globalised capitalism swallow up yet more independent territories: he wanted his country's freedom. For that he had to be slapped down.
So was he a hero? As a fighter for national independence against the beast of capitalism, yes, he certainly was. Within his own country and its region he was as ruthless and cunning as any of the other leaders that emerged as Yugoslavia fell apart. Slobodan Milosevic died in a prison cell. Agim Ceku was one of the principal commanders in Operation Storm: he has just become the puppet Prime Minister of imperialist occupied Kosovo.