Milosevic, Castro and Peron
Joćo Paulo Monteiro: "I know Fidel Castro (etc., etc.). Let me tell you something: Milosevic is no Fidel Castro."
As from recent events, he may be a Peron as someone on the list (Carrol?) aptly proposed. In 1955, Peron caved in so that -later explanation by himself- there would take place no carnage. Milosevic has said "uncle", and like Peron he was isolated and Russia gave him no support at all (see my fwd from Maja from Belgrade). He had his limits, and could not struggle facing the eventuality that the whole of Yugoslavia was transformed into a wasteland (how many of us would dare do it, anyway?). But he will not be demonized for his limits, he will be demonized for his virtues instead.
And the process has already begun, just the same that happened in Argentina with Galtieri after the Malvinas war. From the news we have here, it seems that the "democratic" (that is, defeatist and objectively pro-imperialist) opposition has already begun to say that this war should never have been fought, that who did we think we are, and all the idiocies these worms begin to utter as long as others have struggled for dignity and independence, and lost.
In Argentina, this is known as the "demalvinization" process, and was enthusiastically followed by Gral. Bignone, Alfonsin and Menem (in fact, by the whole proimperialist clique) after the withdrawal of June, 1982.
I am not prone to predictions but allow me to do one prediction: while no bolder leader than Milosevic appears in Yugoslavia, Yugoslavs will secretly cherish his memory (or even support him) against the gang of hounds of the defeat that is already howling. Maja told me that an agreement for collaboration between CNN and the Serbian TV has been established (God knows how many millions invested), so that the process is fast!
No Castro. He did not dare face the carnage to the end. No Solano Lopez, either (whose homeland died with him after every male above 15 had been murdered in the Paraguay war).
Anything better to choose from? _This_ is the question. Instead of putting the blame on Milo, we should point our finger to Moscow.
This is Rhodes, jump now!
I'm not so sure about this, Nestor. Much more probably, Milosevic's limits will prove to be what will thoroughly demonize him in the end. That's the fate of all revolutionaries that only go half way. He could have been a national hero and an anti-imperialist icon (probably much to his surprise) for the next century. He will probably be remembered as... the butcher of the Balkans. Yugoslavia was not only fighting for Kosovo, it was fighting for its honor as a free and peace loving nation aggressed by a decade long smear campaign. It lost. Not by russian betrayal, which was entirely predictable. It lost by its leadership having chosen not to fight on the hour of truth. Now with NATO troops and CNN on the ground, it's a sure bet all sorts of proofs of "genocide" will be fabricated, multiplied and trumpeted to exhaustion from the unearthed corpses of some hundreds of UCK and civilian albanian fighters. There will be death camps, "violation camps", stories of fathers forced to violate daughters at gun point, you name it.
Milosevic will probably face (in fact, is already facing) harsh criticism at home for not conducting the war to the end, when he had the vast majority of the yugoslav people behind him. What the yugoslav people are asking themselves now is what was the worth of all their sacrifices if they end up giving in just the same. They are in a puzzled and sour mood. Sure, they are revolted against the imperialist brutality and hypocrisy. But either this will be capitalized by Seselj's far-right and/or military hard-liners (which I very much doubt), or, in due course, over time, after being handed some carrots and brain-washed by the imperialist propaganda machine, will be transformed in a docile wish to become a "normal country". Either way, Milosevic and the Serb Socialist Party are politically dead. They cannot provide neither butter nor national honor. Yugoslavia is not Iraq.
Yugoslavia is already transformed into a waste land now and I doubt the imperialists would dare or be able to do it much more harm. The only real peril was military defeat on the ground. I'm not sure what were the military prospects for resisting an assault on Kosovo. But I'm pretty sure that, on the long run, the yugoslav people had the will and the resources to repel the invadors.
The serb leadership has chosen to avoid war by retreating and placing themselves at the comprehensive hands of the western powers, hoping their geo-strategic wiseness will allow them to keep Kosovo in the end. That's a long shot in the dark. The imperialist lying machine has already gone too far and NATO will be hard pressed to show post-facto humanitarian justification for its brutal campaign. And once moral absolutes start flying in the air (a fin-de-sičcle specialty of bourgeois intellectuals, the real war criminals in this affair if you ask me), political compromise becomes difficult. Kosovo might be given independence and the serbs forced to flee once again. Now to a totally ruined heartland. Serbia will be the basket of Yugoslavia's dismemberment. And, of course, in the books, this will be proved to be the doing of that demented Milosevic, whose fathers were both suiciders, etc., etc..
The russians have betrayed, yes. But, what this comes up to, in the end, is that the serb leadership was not antagonistic enough towards imperialism. Of course, it felt a sense of injustice and the victim of double-standards. But it went into this war always with the hope of making the West see reason and be fair to them. It was shooting and twinking an eye. The imperialists don't have much of a sense of humour, let alone fairness. If you're going to fight them, fight to the end.
Joćo Paulo Monteiro
I no longer feel so gloomy about the outcome of the war about Kosovo. Of course, things haven't settled down to the details (where the devil lives) but, all in all, I think Milosevic hasn't done a bad job. He played skillfully with the resources he had, made no blunders and, so far, has secured a deal far better than what they tried to make him swallow at Rambouillet.
Lesser leaders would probably have surrendered Kosovo on the spot. Hot heads like me would probably have lead the country to ruin and defeat.
Yugoslavia national honor is saved. So may Kosovo be, on the long run, if all goes well.
I think this is probably the last war in Yugoslavia and Milosevic may probably still be remembered as the statesmen who lead it thorough the most dire straits, almost faultlessly. He is not a very likable character, but I think he has done a good job. No Castro. But maybe the situation didn't call for one.
Joćo Paulo Monteiro