- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2001

The current Macedonian quagmire is no different from than those in Bosnia and Kosovo. All are cataclysmic events that will continue to destabilize the Balkans.
The price in blood and loss of property will continue to rise. As long as Macedonia is challenged, there will be no stability or peace for Yugoslavia. Nothing is more clear than the effort on the part of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) thugs and assassins to destabilize Macedonia in the name of greater Albania.
Only naive, shortsighted writers are not aware that what is taking place is based on aspirations for a greater Albania. Whether this ideology is fulfilled is not relevant. What is relevant is that hoping to take advantage of a tired Western Europe and a Bush administration that wants to get out of the Balkan quagmire only strengthens the commitment of the KLA bandits and those who have been coerced to support them in Macedonia and Montenegro. The KLA will eventually challenge Bulgaria and Greece, as well. They hope that all will fall like dominoes one after the other.
Those "humanitarians" who tried to save the Balkans from Slobodan Milosevic have committed two political crimes. The first criminal act was on the part of the United States and Western Europeans in their attempt to destroy the Milosevic regime and, thus, Yugoslavia at a cost of $30 billion, by bombing its industrial and economic centers. This was no victory. The annals of history will put the onus on Bill Clinton who bombed Serbia to divert the attention of the American people from his personal problems.
The next political crime is being committed now, i.e. NATO support of the KLA and its ilk without exercising responsibility or control. Thus, in the effort to end Mr. Milosevics ethnic cleansing, NATO willy-nilly gave a hand to the KLA, which is engaged in destabilizing the area. In a most significant analysis by Cato Institute Vice President Ted Galen Carpenter, "Waist deep in the Balkans and sinking," (Policy Analysis, April 20), the author writes "since NATO assumed control of Kosovo, there has been a massive reverse ethnic cleansing as Albanian nationalists have driven nearly 90 percent of the provinces non-Albanian people from their homes. And now the Kosovo Liberation Army and its offshoots have expanded armed conflict into southern Serbia and Macedonia." Mr. Carpenter points out that the West is wearing blinders and ignores the KLA outrages in Kosovo, "proponents of current U.S. policy circulate far-fetched myths about the nature of the struggle in the Balkans. Having ignored the accurate warnings about the KLA issued by critics of the original Kosovo mission, interventionists are repeating the same kind of errors." The West has given Albanian nationalists bases of operation from which they "foment insurgencies across the borders." According to Mr. Carpenter, the reality is that aspirations for a greater Albania include not only Kosovo, but also parts of Yugoslavia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece.
NATOs quasi-imperial domination of Kosovo shares only the bad aspects of imperialism, and not its contributing factors. Imperialism played a key role, despite its detractors, in creating a more modern political and state system in a number of cases in modern times. In Kosovo, NATO has failed to establish authority, government, a representative system,and certainly no democracy. It does not govern by virtue of its mission, i.e. humanitarian intervention, but in a haphazard fashion, oscillating between carrots and sticks for the KLA. In a pernicious way, NATO has given legitimacy to the KLA bandits.
One of the most serious issues left from the NATO bombing and domination of Kosovo is the status of Albanians elsewhere. It is argued, especially by Western Europeans, that, if the Macedonians provide equal rights to their Albanian minority, all will be fixed. That is political nonsense. The KLA is not interested in the role of minorities and their status in the Macedonian government. They are interested in toppling it. Former NATO Commander Wesley Clarke writes ("Dont delay in Macedonia," The Washington Post, March 30), "Kosovos people deserve self-rule. Albanians elsewhere Macedonia, southern Serbia deserve fair and lawful treatment." Why not establish self-rule for the Irish? Or maybe Xavier Solana, the former NATO secretary-general and a father of the bombing of Yugoslavia, should suggest self-rule for the Basques.
Other minorities can be found in democratic Western Europe, which would easily qualify for self-rule. The very idea of self-rule coming from a former NATO commander clearly demonstrates that, despite the fact he spent so much time in the Balkans and so many hours with the dictator Mr. Milosevic, he needs to study the history of the Balkans once again. Self-rule in the Balkans means that one ethnic group designs the destruction of another in the name of independence. The purpose of the KLA is not to accommodate their Albanian brethren in Macedonia, but rather to destroy the regime. Mr. Clarke is not the only Western leader who advocates the need for "accommodation" between governments and their minorities. In Western democracies and the United States, minorities seek to be part of the system. However, the Albanian minority that supports the KLA has no intention to become part of a Slavic Macedonian State. They want to abolish it.
I wholeheartedly endorse the views expressed by Paula Dobriansky and David B. Rivkin in their article "Out of the Balkans" in the Jan. 30 edition of The Washington Post. They clearly argue that the United States is the worlds only truly global power and that "the withdrawal of U.S. 'peacekeepers would neither destroy NATO, destabilize Europe nor undermine U.S. global leadership."
Ted Galen Carpenter concludes, as do I and many others, that the United States and Europe after the Cold War have different security needs and interests. "It is time to pass the tainted chalice to the Europeans."

Amos Perlmutter is a professor of political science and sociology at American University and editor of the Journal of Strategic Studies.

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