Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

SEASON OF DISCONTENT: Balkan Thrust Puts Russia in The Doghouse




Having heard a pair of "heartfelt" speeches by President Bill Clinton; having marked with champagne the victory in the Balkans f a controversial victory, but a victory nonetheless; sick and tired of the 35-degree-Celsius heat in America, Washingtonians headed to the beach last Friday somewhere around midday, to enjoy a well-earned long weekend.


Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, a well-known expert on the mysterious Slavic soul, was on the TV screen, warning in vain, like a televised Cassandra, about the march of the Russian paratroopers and urging the NATO command to occupy Pristina airport immediately. They brushed him off as they would obtrusive flies.


In any case, Madeleine Albright called her good friend Igor, who assured the secretary of state that no introduction of Russian troops into Kosovo was possible without prior agreement with the Western partners.


The next morning the Americans felt like idiots who had lost at three-card monty. Friend Igor babbled something about it being a mistake that would be immediately corrected, after which he disappeared, only appearing a few days later to declare proudly that it was not for him f a serious international political figure f to keep track of the movement of this or that battalion.


The Russian battalion's march to Pristina has created serious problems for NATO. First of all, it was completely legal, from a formal and juridical point of view. Wishing to sanctify its operation with the United Nations' authority, NATO accepted the UN Security Council's resolution, which is not clear cut concerning the structures and command system for the KFOR forces.


In any case, in the context of this resolution, the introduction of forces by a permanent member of the UN Security Council f Russia f was as legal as the introduction of NATO forces.


As for the strictly military logic of this development, it is easy to ascertain. Having dug in at the airport and awaiting reinforcements, the Russian troops, together with remaining Serbian units, could have created a Serbian enclave in northern Kosovo, which would have been under the protection of the Russian KFOR.


But the Serbian troops and Serbian population left Pristina, and the 200 Russian paratroopers were left to defend themselves, parked on the airport's runway. The daring military action turned out to be as senseless as Moscow's entire policy in the Balkans conflict.


In Kosovo, we betrayed both the Albanians, by not wanting to know anything about the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people, and the Serbs, by first backing Milosevic's policy, suicidal for the Serbian people, and then twisting his arm.


As for our "Western partners," first we snarl threateningly at them, calling NATO "a criminal organization which has no right to exist"; then we amicably wag our liberal tail, offering our services in hopes of being thrown a very tasty bone.


And when they patronizingly pet us behind the ears, repeating "Good peacekeeper, wise peacekeeper," we, remembering our world-power pedigree, suddenly start snapping, trying once again to bite.


As a result, we are either hated or held in contempt by one and all.