Lecture organised by the University of Thrace at Xanthi, Greece, September 1999

The Balkan war: a case of ethnic cleansing or the first war of the internationalised market economy?


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The paper, starting from the NATO explanation of the aims of the war in terms of stopping the ethnic cleansing of the Albanian Kosovars at the hands of the Serbian regime, proposes an alternative interpretation according to which the war was in fact the first war of the New Economic Order, i.e. the internationalised market economy. This is indicated by the three novel aspects of this war:

  • first, that its aim was the integration of a country (through its dismembering) into the New Order,

  • second, that the war has been fought by a new NATO whose role has been redefined in the Washington summit as the main military institution of the New Order and,

  • third, that a new doctrine of “limited sovereignty” ―which is rapidly becoming the ideology of the New Order― has been used to legitimise that role.



My objective is to show that the real aims of the war against the Serbs had nothing to do with the NATO mythology about it and that in fact the war itself may be seen as the first war of the New Economic Order, i.e. of the internationalised market economy. This became clear anyway by the aftermath of the war and the ethic cleansing in reverse that takes place in Kosovo at the moment. This showed clearly that the official NATO objective, to avert ethnic cleansing, was never the real aim of the war. The Ramboillet agreement made it crystal-clear that the western élites’ objective has always been the gradual independence of Kosovo. The provision that the autonomy to be granted in the first stage was to be enforced by a NATO peace-keeping force (as it is happening now) clearly implied that the real aim was the creation of a pure Albanian entity in Kosovo which, at a later stage, will become formally independent and at a still later stage (to qualm the concerns of other Balkan states) will inevitably be united with Albania itself. This scenario means uprooting 10% of the prewar population, which constituted the Serbian minority, and who, voluntarily or not, will end up moving rather than living under Albanian rule. The Serbian élite, at the time of the Western attempt to impose on it this agreement in Ramboillet, facing the imminent danger of further dismembering, decided to resist, in the hope that the inevitable conflict would create the dynamics for the partition of Kosovo. It failed. So, NATO, after its victorious war, imposed its own conditions in full. However, the aim of both the Western and the Yugoslavian élites has always been ethnic cleansing, (albeit with a different content), although of course the Western elites had other objectives as well.

So, if we get out of the way the mythology about the war aims let’s try to develop an alternative analytical framework to understand its real aims.

Wars in the New Order

A useful starting point in interpreting the NATO war against Yugoslavia is to examine the political and economic contours of the New Order. I will identify the New World Economic Order with the internationalised market economy,” i.e. the present phase of marketization, which is defined as the historical process that has transformed the socially controlled economies of the past into the present system of the market economy[1]. The internationalisation of the market economy, as I tried to show elsewhere,[2] should be distiguished from globalisation, which refers to the case in which production itself is internationalised. Internationalisation refers to the case where markets become internationalised and, as a result, the economic policies of national governments, as well as the reproduction of the growth economy itself, are conditioned by the movement of commodities and capital across frontiers. The present neoliberal form of the internationalised market economy may be seen as completing the cycle which started in the last century when a liberal version of it was attempted. Thus, after the collapse of the first attempt to introduce a self-regulating economic system, a new synthesis is attempted today. The new synthesis aims to avoid the extremes of pure liberalism, by combining essentially self-regulating markets with various types of safety nets and controls, which secure the privileged position primarily of the “over-class” and secondarily that of the “two-thirds society”, as well as the mere survival of the “under-class” without affecting the self-regulation process in its essentials. Therefore, the nation-state’s role is restricted today in securing, through its monopoly of violence, the market economy framework and in maintaining the infra-structure for the smooth functioning of the neoliberal economy.

So, the internationalisation assumed here does not imply the elimination of the regulatory role of the state, let alone its physical disappearance at the political level. What it does imply is the loss of the state’s economic sovereignty not just in terms of the disappearance of major state controls over markets but also in terms of important social controls, which are ruled out by today’s institutional framework of free commodity and capital markets. Furthermore, the internationalisation of the market economy does not mean that its intra-state regulation is redundant. Companies which are active in the internationalised market economy need a degree of stability in financial markets, a secure framework of free trade and the protection of commercial rights. All this implies the need for international economic regulation (through the G7 group, the WTO etc) as well as the need for international political regulation.

Therefore, in the same way that in the first phase of marketization, when the market economy was basically national, the nation-state was assigned the role of enforcing —through its monopoly of violence— the market rules, in today’s internationalised market economy the corresponding role of enforcing the internationalised market rules is assigned not to the state, but to international organisations like NATO and a capitalist- controlled UN. It is not therefore surprising that (as it was shown by a team of reporters led by Nicholas Kristof in a recent series of articles in the New York Times), it became part of the State Department’s job and therefore, indirectly, of the US-controlled NATO, to push deregulation and the dismantling of all barriers to trade and finance both with individual governments and in international negotiations on economic matters (WTO).[3]

It is in the context of internationalisation, in the sense of a gradual loss of economic sovereignty of nation-states, that we may develop a useful analytical framework to discuss the war in the Balkans. In Europe, the internationalisation of the market economy has proceeded very unevenly due to its division, up to the beginning of the decade, into a capitalist Western Europe and the Eastern Europe of actually existing socialism. The main effect of the uneven integration of Europe into the internationalised market economy has been that there is still a significant degree of tension between nationalism and internationalisation, with immediate ramifications in today’s war.

Thus, in Western Europe, there is a movement towards a federal supra-national state, which reflects the fact that the core EU countries have already entered the highest phase of the marketization process. In fact, Western Europe is in a transitional period, which is however qualitatively different from that in the East. The present political conflicts with respect to the future organisation of European integration arise out of the fundamental contradiction indicated by the fact that the economic structure of each nation-state has already been internationalised, whereas the political structure, formally at least, still bears the hallmarks of a nation-state.

On the other hand, in Eastern Europe, where the marketization process was violently interrupted by the advent of `actually existing socialism', the state is still supposed to be able to play the role that it used to play in Western Europe during the past century, when it was involved in the process of establishing the system of the market economy, protecting national capital against foreign competition etc. Of course, with the exception of Russia, this is a false supposition, given the degree of interaction among the components of the internationalised market economy. It is only in Russia where nationalism is still relevant due to its huge scale. However, this fact alone does not prevent the resurgence of nationalism in other parts of East Europe and particularly the Balkans where the integration of their economies into the internationalised market economy has not as yet been completed.

In this problematique, wars between the states of AMEs are no longer possible since these states are nothing more than the municipalities of the internationalised market economy and their job is to provide, at the cheapest possible cost, the infrastructure and the public goods required for the effective functioning of business.[4] Therefore, the hundred years peace (1815-1914) described by Polanyi,[5] which accompanied the first (failed) attempt for the creation of a liberal internationalised market economy may become a millennium peace in the framework of today’s neoliberal internationalised market economy. It is not difficult to see, for instance, that, in the framework of this internationalised economy, any attempt by an AME to use military force against another AME in order to achieve its economic aims is inconceivable, since it will incur the immediate sanctions of the global financial markets and the first casualty will be its own currency.

But, if wars among AMEs which control the New Economic Order are, almost by definition, ruled out this is not the case as regards wars between them and dependent economies, as well as wars among dependent economies (in which case the advanced economies may be fighting wars by proxy).

As regards wars between AMEs and countries in the periphery and semi-periphery, the explosion in the world inequality, which is a built-in element of the New Order and an inevitable by-product of liberalising and deregulating the markets, implies that attacks against any rogue regimes challenging in any way the New Order will continue unabated. The same applies of course with respect to any liberatory movement that might develop in the future, which will have to be crushed in the kind of total victory that we have seen in the case of Iraq and Yugoslavia. It is with the purpose of fighting wars of this type that the armies of AMEs have been fast converted into armies of professional killers (a kind of samurai) who are not susceptible, as conscripts are, to ideological influences and feelings of solidarity with the social groups from which they are recruited (usually the poorest groups). Despite the higher cost of professional armies,[6] the elites of the New Order do not have any choice but to finance the extra expenses, since wars are not any more for the defence of the country but purely for the defence of the New Order and the privileges of those mainly benefiting from it.

With respect to wars among states in the periphery, conflicts of cultural, religious, nationalist or ethnotic nature may easily arise between dependent states. Particularly so, since conflicts of this type serve also to give outlet to their peoples’ socio-economic frustrations (see, for instance the present conflicts among the Indonesian peoples). In this sense, the old dream of economic liberalism that war would become the recourse of failed and economically backward societies and political forces, driven by economically irrational goals like ethnic homogeneity or religion[7] may indeed be near materialisation. In some of these cases, as for instance the ethnic wars in the Balkans, such conflicts may threaten the stability of the New Order and have to be crushed through the military arm of the New Order, i.e. the new NATO or, if possible, the UN. On the other hand, if these tensions do not threaten as such the New Order, but they are useful in financing the expansion of the armaments industries of the AMEs whereas, at the same time, they legitimise their elites in playing a role of arbitrator, (as, for instance, in the case of the chronic tension between Greece and Turkey) then, such tensions are left to keep simmering.

Integrating Yugoslavia through its dismembering

In this analytical framework, we may see the dismembering of Yugoslavia as an attempt by the AMEs to fully integrate the area into the New Economic Order of the internationalised market economy. Thus, given the resurgence of nationalism in the Balkans after the collapse of socialism and the fact that the old Yugoslavia was the strongest Balkan state, with a long history of independence from both the Western and Soviet blocks, it is obvious that the Western elites at some stage drew the conclusion that the normal methods of economic integration, which were successfully used in the rest of the Balkans (Albania, Bulgaria, Romania) would not be sufficient to fully integrate the old Yugoslavia into the internationalised market economy and its economic and military institutions (EU/NATO). Therefore, the policy adopted by the AMES was one of encouraging Yugoslavia’s dismemberment[8] through the creation of a series of protectorates. Either on a voluntary basis, (as in the cases of Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia), or by force, (as in the cases of Bosnia and now Kosovo ). So, the elites of AMEs throughout the present decade exploited in every way possible the nationalist and ethnotic divisions which emerged after the collapse of Yugoslavian socialism. In this task, the elites of AMEs have found a useful ally in part of the Yugoslavian nomenclature which used these divisions for a different reason: to perpetuate itself in power.[9] In fact, the nationalist part of the nomenclature was in more than one sense an important ally of the AMEs since it was also in favour of marketization. Thus, the so-called Milosevic Commission report of May 1988 was advocating market-oriented reforms in which the world market and world competition represents the strongest generator of economic operation whereas Milosevic himself urged Yugoslavs to overcome ‘their unfounded, irrational and…primitive fear of exploitation ‘ by foreign capital.[10]

The outcome of the dismembering of Yugoslavia was the return of the Yugoslav peoples to the pre-World War II condition of dependence, which had been interrupted by their partial separation from the world market and the corresponding political independence they achieved under the Tito regime. It is therefore obvious that it is not something in the nature of the Balkan peoples (as the Western propaganda presents it) that pushes them towards ethnotic or nationalist and religious conflicts but the system of the market economy itself. The very fact that a variety of peoples in the Balkans were able to live in relative harmony with each other for centuries in the framework of a pre-capitalist empire like the Ottoman empire and also during the period of actually existing socialism is a proof of this. But, it is not just the system of the market economy in general which creates conditions of uneven development and huge inequalities that constitute the perfect background for the emergence of this sort of conflicts. The marketization process in Yugoslavia was directly relevant to the resurgence of the ethnotic conflicts.

The intensification of marketization, which started in Yugoslavia in the early eighties and accelerated in the early nineties, had similar catastrophic effects to the ones I examined elsewhere[11] with reference to the rest of Eastern Europe (disintegration of the industrial sector, a gradual dismantling of the Yugoslav Welfare State etc) but, it also led to the emergence of a strong movement against the marketization measures. Furthermore, an IMF-initiated financial aid package in 1990 crucially contributed to the crippling of the federal State system, as state revenues which should have been distributed as transfer payments to the republics and autonomous provinces were instead channelled towards servicing Belgrade’s debt.[12] So, the economic basis of the federal state was effectively undermined by the IMF program which substantially helped the secessionist tendencies that were already flourishing in a climate of economic decay and freezing wages and salaries. On the basis of such considerations, Chossudovsky draws the conclusion that the ruin of an economic system, including the take-over of productive assets, the extension of markets and the scramble for territory in the Balkans constitute the real cause of the conflict.

However, once the dismembering of Yugoslavia has effectively been achieved by the end of this decade and half of its ex-members (Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia) have already been converted into de facto Western protectorates and on the way to become fully integrated into the internationalised market economy (with Bosnia still in the process of pacification), the new Yugoslavia of Serbia and Montenegro presented a problem to the AMEs since it was the only part of the Balkans not yet fully controlled by them. Then, the same method that was used with such success for the dismembering of the old Yugoslavia, was put once more into operation. The extreme nationalist elements in Kosovo, who wanted not just the restoration of the province’s autonomy but full independence from the truncated Yugoslavia, were encouraged by the AMEs. Thus, KLA, an organisation which up to a few years ago was characterised as terrorist by them, suddenly became a liberating force to be supported in every possible way. The inevitable intensification of the reppression of Albanians which followed gave the pretext for the direct intervention by the AMEs, in the form of the NATO war.

Today, the AMES, despite the inescapable differences between them as to the client states and the ‘zones of influence’ they support in the Balkan conflict, they all share a common aim: to pacify the area in a way which would secure the full integration of it into the New Order, political and economic. This is evident, for instance, by the explicit reference to marketization in the Rambouillet document (the economy of Kosovo shall function according to market principles[13]). Also, Clinton and Blair have repeatedly stated that, after the war ends, all Balkan countries should become members of the economic and political expressions of the New Order in the area, i.e. the EU and NATO[14]. Finally, the EU’s Stability and Association Pact for the Balkans explicitly seeks to bring all the forner Yugoslav republics and Albania into the EU club and under the security umbrella of NATO.[15]

So, there are three important novel aspects in this war which mark it as the first war of the internationalised market economy. These are:

  • First, the fact that its real aim was the full integration (through dismembering) of a country into the New Order

  • Second, the way it has been carried out. This is the first war which has been fought by the new NATO, i.e. a NATO whose role has been fundamentally redefined to transform it into the main military institution of the New Political Order, which complements the new Economic Order, i.e. the internationalised market economy.

  • Third, the ideology used to legitimise it. This is the first war which has been legitimised on the basis of an ideology that aims at the protection of human rights, as universal values to be protected throughout an internationalised market economy, irrespective of national sovereignty considerations.

Having considered above the first aspect, let us now turn to the other two novel aspects of this war.

The New World Political Order and the new NATO

The New Political Order, which is the necessary complement of the New Economic Order, is defined by two basic institutional changes:

a. the redefinition of the role of NATO, as effected in the latest Washington summit

b. the limitation of the concept of national sovereignty which constitutes the ideology of the New Order and was endorsed by NATO’s new strategic concept

As it is well known, NATO was founded in 1949 as a collective defence organisation against the communist threat posed by the Soviet block. The heart of the North Atlantic Treaty and thus of the NATO alliance was Article 5, in which the signatory members "agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all; and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area."

However, the Washington summit of an expanded NATO that included several formerly Soviet block countries, which convened in Washington in April 1999, adopted a new strategic concept[16] which radically changed the nature of this crucial military organisation in which all main AMEs (apart from Japan) take part. The new NATO constitution redefined the role of NATO from a mutual defence organisation (after the collapse of the Soviet block there was not much to defend against!) into a regional policeman, i.e. the main military institution of the internationalised market economy. Thus, as article 6 explicitly states, the Alliance therefore not only ensures the defence of its members but contributes to peace and stability in this region.

Then, in a section entitled The evolving strategic environment the document delineates the NATO/UN relationship by stating that the United Nations Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security (article 15). It is indicative that at the time of the summit meeting, President Chirac interpreted this clause as implying that NATO could not act without UN authorisation, but this interpretation was immediately contradicted by Solana who stated that a Security Council resolution would not be necessary before making an intervention outside NATO territory.[17] The issue has been resolved in practice, through the Balkans war: if the AMEs cannot secure the votes of all permanent members of the UN Security Council they will have no hesitation to start military action without prior UN mandate.

Further on, in a section entitled Security challenges and risks, the new strategic concept is clearly defined in article 20:

Notwithstanding positive developments in the strategic environment and the fact that large-scale conventional aggression against the Alliance is highly unlikely, the possibility of such a threat emerging over the longer term exists. The security of the Alliance remains subject to a wide variety of military and non-military risks which are multi-directional and often difficult to predict. These risks include uncertainty and instability in and around the Euro-Atlantic area and the possibility of regional crises at the periphery of the Alliance, which could evolve rapidly. Some countries in and around the Euro-Atlantic area face serious economic, social and political difficulties. Ethnic and religious rivalries, territorial disputes, inadequate or failed efforts at reform, the abuse of human rights, and the dissolution of states can lead to local and even regional instability. The resulting tensions could lead to crises affecting Euro-Atlantic stability, to human suffering, and to armed conflicts. Such conflicts could affect the security of the Alliance by spilling over into neighbouring countries, including NATO countries, or in other ways, and could also affect the security of other states (article 20)

Article 20, therefore, makes clear that the AME-controlled NATO is transformed from a defensive alliance which protects specific areas from the communist threat to an aggressive alliance which protects it from a series of vaguely defined risks emerging in a vaguely defined very broad area (in and around the Euro-Atlantic area and the periphery of the Alliance). In effect, any kind of conflict situation (including the disruption of the flow of vital resources) within a region or even a single nation-state in this broadly defined geographical area, which would directly or indirectly threaten the stability of the internationalised market economy, may be considered as threatening the Alliance, as article 24 makes clear:

Any armed attack on the territory of the Allies, from whatever direction, would be covered by Articles 5 and 6 of the Washington Treaty. However, Alliance security must also take account of the global context. Alliance security interests can be affected by other risks of a wider nature, including acts of terrorism, sabotage and organised crime, and by the disruption of the flow of vital resources. The uncontrolled movement of large numbers of people, particularly as a consequence of armed conflicts, can also pose problems for security and stability affecting the Alliance.

In all these situations, article 31 declares, in pursuit of its policy of preserving peace, preventing war, and enhancing security and stability and as set out in the fundamental security tasks, NATO will seek in co-operation with other organisations, to prevent conflict, or, should a crisis arise, to contribute to its effective management, consistent with international law, including through the possibility of conducting non-Article 5 crisis response operations (article 31).

Although the above formulations imply that all members of NATO would take part in defining a risk situation and in proposing the appropriate measures to be taken, it is obvious that, given the military hegemony of the US, generally recognised by the AMEs, it is basically the US elite which takes the responsibility of defending the New Economic Order. No wonder that the US Pentagon explicitly declared that ”a prosperous, largely democratic, market-oriented zone of peace and prosperity that encompasses more than two-thirds of the world’s economy” requires the “stability” that only American “leadership can provide.[18] The same goal of stability (i.e. pacification securing the integration of all countries into the internationalised market economy) was stressed with reference to the Balkans war, as Christopher Layne & Benjamin Schwarz in a Los Angeles article point out:

The belief that the U.S. must use military power to create a tranquil international environment in which trade can flourish is not an abstract concept (...) On March 23, the day before the bombing of Serbia began, President Clinton himself justified the impending air strikes by noting that “if we’re going to have a strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the world, Europe has got to be a key (...) That’s what this Kosovo thing is all about.” (...) Similarly, as Cohen has said, the administration’s strategy seeks to “discourage violence and instability, which destroys lives and markets.”

However, for Layne & Schwarz what is even more frightening is the open-endedness of the new US commitments. Thus, the protection of the internationalised market economy and free trade, depend on America’s overseas military commitments and power. But, as the authors emphasise, according to U.S. policymakers, the logic of global economic interdependence leads to the proliferation of American security commitments, since instability and aggression are regarded (even in places like Kosovo) as a threat to the global stability upon which U.S. prosperity depends. This thinking they conclude, is similar to the domino theory that got US in so much trouble in Southeast Asia.

The Ideology of the New World Order: the doctrine of limited sovereignty

The European self-styled left apologists who have led the ideological campaign which legitimised the criminal NATO attack (Anthony Giddens, Alain Tourain et. al. with the support of Edgar Morin, Habermas and others) talk about a new era in international relations which is marked by the Pinochet affair and the Balkans war. The fundamental element of this new era is what we may call the doctrine of limited sovereignty. According to this doctrine, the protection of human rights is a universal value which should take priority over other values, like that of national sovereignty. Globalisation, for the apologists of the New Order, has also the meaning that whenever universal values (as defined by the international community, i.e. the AMEs) are violated, the international organisations expressing the will of this community (i.e. the UN, or, if this is impossible, NATO) should enforce them by any means necessary, irrespective of national sovereignty considerations which should never override the primary significance of universal values.

This new doctrine was first formally expressed by the UK prime minister in a Chicago speech, just before the Washington NATO summit. The upshot of this was that democratic states should be allowed to intervene in the internal affairs of other states, if human rights were at stake.[19] It was then fully endorsed by the new NATO. As article 20 of the new strategic concept mentioned above makes it explicitly clear only a limited conception of sovereignty is recognised by the new NATO. This is the obvious conclusion from the references that article 20 makes to ethnic and religious rivalries, inadequate or failed efforts at reform and the abuse of human rights which, according to the new strategic concept, can lead to crises affecting Euro-Atlantic stability, to human suffering, and to armed conflicts affecting the security of the Alliance by spilling over into neighbouring countries (the Yugoslavian case).

However, the new doctrine is false, asymmetrical and potentially oppressive:

  • It is false, because to adopt in general the principle that human rights take precedence over national sovereignty presupposes that we live in a society and a world in which we can define in a unique and indisputable way the cases of human rights violations . It is obvious that we do not. We live in a society and a world characterised by huge inequalities in the distribution of political and economic power. This means that the social paradigm which is shared by the elites who control political and economic power and therefore the international institutions (UN, NATO)— potentially, may be radically different from the social paradigm of the rest of the world population (who in fact are the vast majority) who do not exercise such power.[20] But, it is the social paradigm that defines which are the universal values, what is their content and when and where are violated. For instance, the expropriation of the subsidiary of a multinational corporation by a liberation movement would be considered as a violation of human rights by the elites in the AMEs, although for the multinational’s victims this would be an act of liberation.

  • It is asymmetrical because as Stephen R. Shalom points out, the right of humanitarian intervention is an asymmetrical right —it is the right of the powerful to intervene in the affairs of the weak, and not vice versa. Humanitarian intervention, Richard Falk has reminded us, is like the Mississippi River: it only flows from North to South. Uruguay cannot use B-52s to punish Britain for its policy in Northern Ireland. Yemen cannot launch cruise missiles on Washington out of solidarity with the oppressed in US cities.[21] One may add to this that even if a decision on when to intervene is left to an international organisation like the UN this cannot provide any real safeguard to the weak, given the control over the UN and similar organisations which the powerful elites of the AMEs can exercise. This could explain why the massive ethnic cleansing of Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis or the real genocide in Rwanda have not warranted any action by the powerful elites of the AMEs.

  • Finally, this doctrine is potentially oppressive, because it may easily be used by the elites of AMEs to oppress any liberation movement, which might attempt to establish a different type of society that secures the equal distribution of political and economic power. It is obvious that the establishment of a real inclusive democracy, in place of the present political and economic oligarchy, would violate the ruling elites’ conception of democracy and human rights and would legitimise the use of brute force by their military machine to crush it.

There are two obvious conclusions that one may draw about this new doctrine which is fast becoming the ideology of the New Order.

The first conclusion is that this doctrine reverses the UN Charter which explicitly states that nothing in it "shall authorise the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state... except upon a Security Council finding of a "threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression." This reversal becomes all too clear when one takes into account that a proposal to ensure the protection as well as the promotion of human rights was explicitly rejected at the San Francisco Conference establishing the United Nations. Still, given the control that AMEs exercise at the moment over the UN, one should not be surprised if at some later stage they make an attempt to revise the UN Charter in order to include a version of the limited sovereignty doctrine already adopted by NATO.

The second conclusion to be drawn, in view of what it was said above about wars in the New Order, is that it is not the sovereignty of the powerful states in the AMEs which is going to suffer because of this new doctrine but only that of the weak nations.

Finally, as a kind of epilogue, the NATO ‘deal‘, which was imposed at the end of this criminal war, secures all its major aims, in a way that signals a total victory for the New Order in the Balkans. Thus:

1. The dismembering of the old Yugoslavia and the full integration of the entire area into the New Order is now completed through the creation of a formal NATO protectorate in Kosovo, as well as the establishment of conditions of full economic dependence of Serbia on the West. Thus, the price tag for repairing the country from the bombings is estimated to be anywhere between $50 bn and $150 bn and the damage to the infra-structure is such that, as the G-17 economic research organisation[22] have estimated, without significant foreign aid, it would take 45 years for Yugoslavia to reach the level of economic prosperity it had in 1989, before the beginning of the Western economic sanctions. Needless to add that the NATO elites made it clear, immediately after the end of the war, that Serbia would get no reconstruction aid, unless its present political elite were ousted. The combined effect of the creation of a new formal protectorate and of a dependent Serbia, in all probability, will lead to the formation of one more (informal) protectorate in Montenegro . As a Western analyst and supporter of the war put it, the long term perspective is one of NATO and European Union countries maintaining a formidable military and economic presence in south-eastern Europe for a long time to come.[23]

2. The NATO elites have shown an unquestionable capability of destroying a country with no casualties at all on their side. Thus, the murderous technique of high tech killing at massive scale, first used against the people of Iraq, has been refined to such an extent that even the minimal losses suffered at the time by the armies of the AMEs have now been avoided. Thus, against 1,500 Serb civilians  and 5,000 troops killed, as well as 10,000 wounded, there was not a single NATO casualty in battle! As a Western analyst put it, Mr Clinton will not have completely rewritten the rules of war there could still be skirmishes and casualties in Kosovo but he will have gone a long way towards defining a new type of conflict; It may be a ''coward's war," but it is perhaps the only sort of war that a squeamish public will support. What is more, it has worked.[24] In effect, the elites of the AMEs, with the manipulation of the public which they exercise through their control of the MMEs, in combination with the techniques of total victory, which  their military technology provides them, are in a position to crush any radical movement, irrespective of the degree of popular support it may have.

3. Finally, not only the conduct of the war but its end as well has taught the Russian (let alone the Chinese) elite a sound lesson to the effect that it is only the AMEs which effectively control world economic and military power. The Russian elite, which,  at the beginning of the war, warned Nato that it was in danger of drawing Russia into a Third World War, by the end of the war, was playing the role of the NATO messenger, capitulating completely to NATO demands—a basic element in the Yugoslavian elite’s capitulation.

To conclude, in my opinion, the war may either function as a catalyst for the emergence of new forces that will fight against the New Order and the building of a new society, or, alternatively, it will mark the beginning of a new, high tech form of the Middle Ages.


[1] Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy,  The Crisis of the Growth Economy and the need for a New Liberatory Project (London: Cassell, 1997), ch 1.

[2] Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, pp. 46-50.

[3] International  Herald Tribune (February 16-19, 1999).

[4] K. Ohmae, "The rise of the region state", Foreign Affairs (Spring 1993).

[5]  Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation, (Beacon, 1944), p. 5.

[6] Adrian Hamilton, The Observer (25/2/1996).

[7] P. Hirst & G. Thompson, Globalization in Question (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996), p. 188.

[8]  See Takis Fotopoulos, The War in the Balkans and the Criminal Role of the Centre-Left, Democracy & Nature, vol. 5, no. 1 (March 1999), pp. 195-98.

[9] As Milovan Djilas put it, the catastrophe for the Yugoslav ideal was that all of the communist elites in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, turned to nationalism to save themselves when the communist ideology began to decay in the early eighties after Tito’s death, The Observer (14/3/1993).

[10] Lenard J. Cohen, Broken Bonds: Yugoslavia’s Disintegration and Balkan Politics in Transition,” quoted in ‘The Balkan War and Leftist Apologetics for the Milosevic regime by Harald Beyer-Arnesen, Oslo, Norway (11/5/1999).

[11] Takis Fotopoulos, The Catastrophe of Marketization’ (In this issue)

[12] Michel Chossudovsky, Dismantling Former Yugoslavia, Recolonising Bosnia’, Znet (April 1999).

[13] Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government in Kosovo (23/2/1999), Ch. 4a, article 1.

[14] Clinton, for instance,  stressed the need for encouraging trade and investment and helping the nations of the region join NATO and the European Union (W.J. Clinton, A Just and Necessary War, New York Times, 23/5/99). Similarly, Tony Blair declared in a meeting of fellow ‘socialists’ in Paris during the Euro-elections campaign that once genocide  is defeated ‘let us give this pledge to the people of the Balkans. We will help you build a future based on membership of the EU, of security within NATO, a future of prosperity and peace, not ethnic conflict." (Daily Telegraph, 28/5/1999)

[15] Martin Walker, The Guardian (1/6/1999).

[16] North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, The Alliance’s Strategic Concept (24 April 1999).

[17] Ben Macintyre, The Times (26/4/1999).

[18] Christopher Layne & Benjamin Schwarz, Making the World Safer for Business: Instability and aggression are regarded as a threat to the global stability upon which U.S. markets depend, Los Angeles Times (2/4/1999).

[19] Financial Times (28/5/1999).

[20] Takis Fotopoulos, Mass Media, Culture and Democracy, Democracy & Nature, vol. 5, no.1 , pp. 33-6.

[21] Stephen R. Shalom, Reflections on NATO and Kosovo, New Politics (Summer 1999).

[22] Daniel Williams, Decades, Billions Needed to Restore Yugoslavia, Washington Post (5/6/1999).

[23] Martin Woolacott, A sort of peace. Smashing Serbia was not pretty, The Guardian (4/6/1999).

[24] Mary Dejevsky, The Independent (4/6/1999).