Historical and economic context of the Balkans war

The Kosovo debacle, which has revealed the utter fragility of Nato, the bankruptcy of the Revolution in Military Affairs, and the underlying weakness of US policy and strategic capability, is part of the ongoing process of deepening world crisis and disarray.

The suddenness of the event also indicates the volatility of the historical moment and its potential for revolutionary catalysis. Having said that, one perhaps should not assume that anything other than a glacial calm will settle over Western-sponsored international processes once this is over and the silent, behind-the-scenes inquests begin. There will be no rush to repeat Nato's first out-of-area folly. I'm reminded of ancient Rome's last out-of-area adevnture in northern Europe, when the legate Varus lost three of the emperor Augustus's finest legions to a bunch of unlettered savages roaming the Teutoburger Forest. That was in A.D. 3, and it was a salutary lesson in hubris and nemesis which caused the patrician classes much angst: Augustus on his death bed was still exclaiming 'Varus! Where are my Legions!' But the Roman Empire still lasted another 4 centuries, converting its forward expansionist policy into one of containment, of divide-and-rule, of conscripting allies among tributary kings and comitates, a policy which Nato is now deeply into as it tries to get Bulgarians Hungarians and Russians to bale it out. So I do not expect Nato to founder next Tuesday, but it has been revealed as a paper tiger and at the same time this farce has roused the dragon of slavic nationalism, a momentous event. I've been really surprised by the popular backlash in Russia, and terribly pleased. It should have Nato planners shitting in their trousers. Will Clinton die with the name Wesley Clark on his lips? Nah, I suppose not...

I have a few more disordered reflections. First we now see that (as was also true of the Warsaw Pact), whatever Nato is for doesn't include fighting wars. Nato like the Warsaw Pact was the creature and embodiment of the Cold War, which was always just a phony war. The Cold War inverted von Clauswitz's dictum: during it, armed conflict ceased to be an extension of politics. Instead, Mutually Assured Destruction and the impossibility of actual war between the great powers absolutised economic rivalry. Capitalism was able to achieve its greatest historical flowering because it was reconstituted around an axis of geocidal military technology conjoined to the repressive desublimation of privatised mass desire thru the overgrowth of production and of metropolitan consumption (it is important to note that nuclear war was and remains distinctly thinkable and possible; it did not happen during the Cold War only because it was not strictly necessary: accumulation could gallop ahead as long as the USSR still stood as guarantor-of-last-resort of world capitalist relations of production, an under-analysed outcome of 'actually- existing socialism' -- and also while western mass consciou