"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Understanding Slobodan Milosevic: Between the cold war and Iraq

An interesting and informative analysis including a variety of internal links:

Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia found dead in his cell in The Hague on 11 March 2006, was an unscrupulous opportunist whose brazen defiance of western democratic states and the United Nations in the 1990s ended in only a narrow defeat. He showed how precarious and shallow was the peace following the long cold war, even in the heart of Europe. He recognised the weakness of the democratic world, its complacency and even moral abdication in the face of the flagrant manipulation of nationalism, and its unwillingness to take risks to defend the Bosnian state and its largest group, the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) from massacre and ethnic cleansing.

The Bosniaks' abandonment in turn envenomed Islamist radicals, who were driven (as their testimonies, and studies like that of Evan Kohlmann, confirm) to take revenge by their attacks in the United States on 9/11.

But the politicians who chose at last to defy rather than succour Milosevic at the end of the 1990s, not least Tony Blair, derived the wrong lessons from their ultimate success. If their predecessors (principally Britain's Conservative government under John Major and Douglas Hurd, and the French socialists under Francois Mitterrand and Roland Dumas) had indulged the Belgrade tyrant and overestimated the difficulties in any confrontation with him, Blair vastly underestimated the scale of the challenge that followed Milosevic's subjugation: "regime change" in Baghdad. The resulting mess has divided and demoralised the west, and emboldened a series of Milosevic-clones the world over.

Read it all.


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