It appears to many American observers that Moscow has been gravitating toward Cold War behavior without any rationale. This would certainly be puzzling behavior, given that, as some astute observers have pointed out, this is a Russia that recalled the Red Army from everywhere outside Russian borders, a Russia that allowed its satellite states to be thrown out of power, a Russia that recently embraced freedom and capitalism and let us show them how to do it
But soon after, the U.S. did something to sabotage, and ultimately reverse, this progress, making Russia legitimately wary of U.S. “interests” and leading it — and other nations — to conclude America is capable of being as mischievous as Russia. We bombed Europe. Specifically Serbia, for the crime of launching a counteroffensive against a terrorist insurgency in Kosovo whose aim was to snatch 15 percent of the country's land. And now the United States supports severing Kosovo from Serbia via a precedent-setting unilateral declaration of independence next month by the province's terrorist masters — over Moscow's logical objections. One of those terrorist masters, Agim Ceku — the province's “prime minister” — made the terrorist case in last week's Wall Street Journal.
To this day, almost no one grasps the significance of the damage the 1999 intervention single-handedly did to American standing and American credibility, when the United States turned NATO into an aggressive body, attacking a sovereign nation fighting none other than Islamic-financed separatists within its borders.
The current puzzlement at Russia's behavior harkens to a job interview I had the following year for a PR-writing position for a group called the Conference of Presidents of Major American-Jewish Organizations. Interviewing me was the executive vice president, a man named Malcolm Hoenlein. After discovering I was from Russia — and even recognizing my family name from the Refusenik lists he and other Jewish activists in the 1970s kept for clandestine visitations behind the Iron Curtain — he told me of a recent trip the and some other giants of organized Jewry took to Moscow. They were on a mission to impress upon the Russian government U.S. concerns about the selling off of Russia's military weaponry to the highest bidder.
Mr. Hoenlein said he and his colleagues were blindsided by the chilly and condescending reception they got from Moscow. “They laughed at us,” he told me. “They said, 'Why should we do what you Americans tell us?' The way we were treated — it was as if it was 20 years ago.”
I thought for a moment, then asked whether he thought it could have something to do with our recent actions in Yugoslavia (which, incidentally, were carried out while telling the Russians to take it easy on their own rebels, the Chechens). Mr. Hoenlein looked at me as if I had two heads: “What does that have to do with anything?” he snapped indignantly. But at that moment the phone rang, and afterward the subject was dropped.
Despite al Qaeda and Iran considering it their greatest recent victory, the Balkans remain the most aggressively ignored region in the context of the war on terror — by media, by the blogosphere that is supposed to police the media, and by our politicians — busily feeding off the spoils of our suicidal machinations there.
It is popularly thought that this forgotten and convoluted region is insignificant. Most people hardly remember the word “Kosovo” and even members of the conservative (and liberal) intelligentsia furrow their brows when someone is odd enough to bring it up.
And yet “insignificant” Kosovo has so far managed to restart the Cold War; to lay the foundation for Europe's next Muslim state; to foist a terrorist neighbor onto Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia; to break international law; to set a precedent for secessionist movements the world over; to reverse the American imperative in the War on Terror and the War on Drugs; and to expand al Qaeda's long-sought European base.
In short, it has managed to turn America into a traitor to itself and the Free World it once led.
Had the Right grasped the horror of what Bill Clinton's Balkan wars have achieved, and exposed the mainstream media lies that led to them, the Bush policy could have charted a different course there, one consistent with post-September 11, 2001, thinking, and conservatives would be setting the terms of debate today rather than constantly defending their war in Iraq.
Had even one A-list blog bothered to investigate and shine a light on that debacle — which will yet prove itself to be the nexus of the free world's demise — there never would have been even any talk of a Clinton candidacy for 2008.
Julia Gorin blogs at JuliaGorin.com and PoliticalMavens.com, with an emphasis on exposing Balkan realities