December 8, 2000


The ongoing coup attempt, and the outraged reaction to Gore's political grand larceny, has obscured a vitally important if somewhat depressing fact: no matter which candidate emerges triumphant, he is going to cause major trouble on the foreign policy front. Gore's lawyers were still stretching the limits of credulity down in Florida, but that didn't stop Dubya from putting together his "transition team," and otherwise acting "presidential." Last week, while the Democrats launched a propaganda campaign accusing the GOP of incipient "fascism," and coverage of the election crisis might have been dubbed "All Al, All the Time," Dubya was nowhere to be found: during his one TV appearance last week, he was asked about Democratic accusations that he was trying to "steal the election": he replied that he couldn't wait to get into office so that he could start implementing tax cuts. Far from answering the most outrageous Democratic charges, Dubya has been programmed by his advisors to not even acknowledge them.


This week, as the Democrat blitz continued, Dubya was equally missing in action until Wednesday, when he turned up at a photo op with Condi Rice, his putative national security advisor, and announced that he had just about settled on his White House staff. Fresh from his second CIA intelligence briefing, Dubya made a rather startling declaration:

"I have all the confidence in the world that the Clinton administration and the next administration, which I hope is the Bush administration, would do whatever it takes to send a chilling signal to terrorists that we'll protect our property and our people. The warning ought to be that, as we decide this election, people ought not to take advantage of our nation."


Aside from speculating about just what he learned at his briefing session, one has to wonder what "property" is Dubya talking about – unless he means the whole of the Middle East. And isn't it odd how property, in this equation, comes first, with "our people" – the 17 martyred sailors on board the USS Cole come to mind – a secondary consideration. Parsing Dubya's pronouncements could be a thankless task, if not an impossible one, but I suspect the reason we haven't been seeing much of him is that his handlers don't trust his natural spontaneity: they're afraid he might spill the beans before they've had a chance to prepare the public for whatever surprises might be in store. "Our property"? And who, pray tell, is us? Surely he cannot mean ordinary US taxpayers, who don't as a rule own a whole lot of overseas real estate. This is what it means to have elected what Ralph Nader rightly described as "not a person but the equivalent of a giant corporation" to the US presidency: "Our property" means the property of American and British oil companies, and when Dubya moves into the White House their interests will be equated with America's "national interests."


Not that this isn't the operational principle of US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, already: The special and longstanding relationship between US oil executives and the Saudi monarchy, which has enriched Big Oil beyond the dreams of avarice, is backed up by tens of thousands of American soldiers and sailors stationed on or near Saudi soil. For all their talk of "free enterprise" in America, for the Republicans it is quite a different story abroad, where government intervention in the form of the US Marines is always welcomed. As I pointed out on Wednesday, Dubya hasn't even taken office yet and already the academic minions of certain US corporate interests are beating the drums for war in the Middle East, calling on the son to complete the job begun by the father – and take Baghdad. And there is every indication that Dubya is champing at the bit for his chance to prove himself worthy of the Bush legacy: We are at "a very unique moment in American history to promote a foreign policy that is bipartisan," said Dubya, as Condi nodded eagerly beside him. In answer to questions about the likelihood of a Republican victory in the court battles raging down in Florida, he added "I hope we can get this over with quickly. There's lots of work to be done." Desert Storm II, here we come!


Here, at last, is something Republicans and Democrats can agree on: the necessity of going to war for the profits of Big Oil. For President Bush, it would be a diversion away from political divisions at home that could give him much-needed legitimacy. He didn't quite win it at the polls: perhaps he can win it on the battlefield. In this way, a new precedent will be set, and the analogy with the old Roman Empire will be complete. On account of his conquests, Dubya, like Caesar, could win the crown and the accolades of the people. Few would notice what had been lost.


It will be a lot harder, however, to convince Republicans, especially conservatives, that the enemy is Saddam Hussein instead of Gore and his fellow coup-plotters. If there is one thing that Republicans, even the so-called moderates, have learned from the past month is that the main enemy is at home. Saddam Hussein may want to overthrow the American Constitution and replace it with a Baathist-style one-party dictatorship, but that can happen only in his dreams. On the other hand, the dream of Al Gore – to reinvent the voting process, steal the presidency, and subvert the Constitution – may yet come true, and, if not, he came mighty damn close. Now, you tell me, who is the real threat – Saddam or Gore?


Ah, yes, the glories of our "bipartisan foreign policy," as Dubya glowingly puts it: whatever their differences over domestic policy (and a Dubya administration may reveal that these differences are vastly overstated) the essential unity of the two parties on the foreign policy front is illustrated by one of the favorite adages of our bipartisan statesmen: "Politics ends at the water's edge." This is what makes it possible for such cold war relics as "Radio Free Europe" and "Radio Liberty" [RFE/RL] to continue long after the implosion of Communism and the fall of the Soviet Union. Founded at the height of the cold war to counter Communist propaganda by broadcasting the US government line overseas, Radio Free Europe and its satellites faced the budget-cutters' axe when the Berlin Wall fell, but escaped on account of bipartisan collusion and the logic that governs all government agencies: a state bureaucracy, once established, is never considered obsolescent, because its employees and their patrons can always be mobilized to fight like hell for the agency's continued existence. The cold war may be over, but the national security apparatus it spawned is alive and well – and busy meddling and causing no end of trouble.


So what does RFE/RFL do, now that the Communist Menace has shrunk to the diminutive dimensions of Mirjana Markovic, Slobodan Milosevic's wife and leader of the neo-Communist Yugoslav Left Party? Why, what else but attack the anti-Communist government of Vojislav Kostunica, who led a popular uprising against the last Stalinists in Europe? In a December 1 broadcast, which sneeringly starts off by asking is it "the end of history in the Balkans?," the RFE/RFL announcer disdainfully remarks that

"Scarcely a week or even a few days go by as of late without some Western politician or group of politicians waxing eloquent about Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica and his allies from the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS). The Westerners routinely hail the fall of dictatorship in Serbia and birth of democracy there. Some observers even suggest that Serbia and the Balkans have ceased to be an international trouble spot, and that the West can best deal with them through "soft" institutions such as the EU's Balkan Stability Pact rather than through NATO or the UN. Some in the US have added that Washington can safely consign the region to the care of Brussels and concentrate on its own interests in other parts of the globe."


It is the one inflexible rule of US foreign policy that both parties endorse: the trouble never ends. There is always someone, be it the Serbs, or the Iraqis, or the Russians, or the Colombians, who dares to defy the diktat of Uncle Sam. In that case, they are quickly discovered to be the reincarnation of Hitler and their country is deemed a "rogue nation," or a "nation of concern," as Madeleine Albright's State Department likes to put it. (One imagines that Colin Powell and his crew will reinstate the "rogue" terminology). Once a "trouble spot" always a "trouble spot" – why else do we have troops in Germany and Japan, for god's sake, more than 50 years after the end of World War II? What are US soldiers doing guarding the Korean DMZ, as if frozen in time, still ready to fight an enemy that has long since been defeated?


Don't imagine for a moment that they're going to let the Serbs off that easy – oh no you don't! According to RFE/RFL, the US appears to be discriminating in favor of the Serbs. Forget the US bombs that fell and killed over 5,000 citizens of Yugoslavia; forget the sanctions, that killed and crippled more; there is "the perception that the Westerners are suddenly falling all over themselves to give large sums of money and other aid to Serbia." The Bosnians, Kosovars, and other US clients in the regions "shake their heads in disbelief." The Serbs, complain their enemies in the Balkans, are having an easy time of it: they are getting

"into the international community's good books without having had to meet the painstaking prerequisites for democracy, market reforms, human rights, and cooperation with the Hague-based war crimes tribunal that some of its neighbors have. Croatian President Stipe Mesic, for one, has frequently tried to remind the Westerners that the changes in Serbia have only just begun, and that one should not be so generous or trusting until one better knows with whom and what one is actually dealing."


The main concern of RFE/RFL is to echo the would-be Robespierre of the Yugoslav revolution, Zoran Djindic, who has called for purging the Yugoslav army: Kostunica may have "a refreshing devotion to the rule of law," but such niceties mean little – according to US government propagandists – if the same generals who fought NATO to a standstill are allowed to stay in command. Kostunica is described as a man with "strong nationalist credentials," the "Not-Milosevic," and the DOS is described as "nominally committed to democracy" – with the clear implication that this could all be an illusion, or even a trick.

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“Behind the Headlines” appears Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with special editions as events warrant.


Past Columns

Bush or Gore: Pick Your War

Gore, Bush, and the Imperial Style

Neo-Nazis and Neocons: An Unholy Alliance

Al Gore – The O.J. Simpson of American Politics

Coup d'Etat 2000 and the Madness of Al Gore

Slobo and Gore: Peas in a Pod

Gore Coup Radicalizes Republicans

The Dimple That Shook the World

Listen Soldier, You Can Stop the Gore Coup

Two Ways to Steal an Election

In Occupied America: Rage Against "The Regime"

Al Gore's Beer Hall Putsch

A Message to My Readers

The Real Victors: Nader & Buchanan

Buchanan's "Hail Mary" Pass May Work

Doubletalkin' Dubya: Bush Backtracks on Kosovo

The Nader Moment

The Smearing of Ralph Nader

Nader Sells Out

America's Fifth Column

Bush, the Balkans, and the Bipartisan "Division of Labor"

Hilary, the War Goddess

Vidal's Valediction: The Golden Age

Norman's Narcissim: Podhoretz in Love

The Middle East: War Without End

Classic Raimondo: Isolationism for Beginners

Notes on the Serbian Revolution and Other Matters

Revolt of the Little Guys

The Clinton-
Gore-Milosevic Connection

Szamuely's Folly: Sympathy for the Devil

Slobo's Gambit: Will It Work?

Adventures in Cyber-Politics, Revisited

Curtains for Milosevic

Dubya's Kosovo Deception

The Return of Pat Buchanan


The Vindication of Wen Ho Lee

Against the EU: Danes Resist Assimilation

UN Millennium Summit: Globalist Dream is Your Worst Nightmare

Iraq and the US – Our Fantasy Island Foreign Policy

Classic Raimondo: Allied Vultures Pick at Iraq's Bones

Colombia – The Deja Vu War

Passage to Cartagena: An Inauspicious Visit

Invasion of the Party-Snatchers

Blowback: Read This Book!

Bush on Kosovo – Turning on a Dime

The Kosovo Fraud: Will They Ever Admit It?

The Outing of Ralph Nader, and Other Atrocities

Why Kosovo? Follow the Money!

Additional Justin Raimondo Archives

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).



Having characterized Milosevic – a third-rate apparatchik and small-time hoodlum – as a Slavic Hitler, it is only natural for US government propagandists to push for a German solution to the Serbian "problem." For if Milosevic really was guilty of "genocide" against the Albanians of Kosovo – in spite of the inability of forensic scientists to uncover more than 2,000 bodies in the war zone, including Serbs – then surely the Serbian people themselves were "Milosevic's willing executioners," as the New Republic phrased it. The US State Department-New Republic doctrine of collective guilt requires mass reeducation and the self-abnegation of the Serbian people. In support of this thesis, RFE/RL cites the presidents of Croatia and Albania, who complain that

"Neither the new Serbian leadership nor Serbian society as a whole has begun a 'catharsis' of the emotions and beliefs that at one point led to the rise of Milosevic and ultimately to four disastrous wars (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 17 and 31 October 2000). Nor do most Serbs even seem to sense any need to look deeply into themselves and at their political culture."


This "catharsis" means nothing less than total submission. The US and Germany will settle for nothing less than the Bosnia-zation of Serbia: that is, a Serbia occupied by NATO troops, where Serbian nationalists are arrested for engaging in "hate speech" and Serbian nationalist parties are banned, their elected candidates to the national assembly thrown out at gunpoint by the NATO-crats. Even now our KLA allies are penetrating the southern border, provoking a new conflict, and RFE/RFL has a clear line on this, too: the poor Albanians are once again being put upon by the evil Serbs, who have the gall to object to Albanian border incursions. A formally-constituted "Liberation Army" has been organized, consisting of at least 600 militants, who aim to break off yet another piece of Serbia, this time in the Presevo valley, and adjoining regions, but the existence of an organized Albanian terrorist network does not interest the editors of RFE/RFL: their main interest is in "reporting" yet another Albanian "mass exodus" on account of Serbian police action. Interviews with various Albanians claiming mistreatment at the hands of the Serbs are cited, RFE?RFL reports UN estimates of 5,000 "refugees" – and does any of this sound familiar? How long before CNN is down there "reporting" yet another "humanitarian catastrophe," illustrated with an endless loop of Albanians trudging down dusty roads?


The present administration is fixated on the Balkans, and its chief interest in the Middle East is Israel, while their would-be successors in the GOP are mildly skeptical of Balkan adventurism (although they are committed to seeing it through) and have a much broader Middle Eastern agenda. Dubya and his co-president-to-be, Dick Cheney, have their sights set on the oil fields of Iraq and the Caucasus. An increasingly adversarial relationship with Russia, not only over the Caucasus but on account of NATO expansion – which ideologues like Bush advisor Paul Wolfowitz are absolutely committed to – is inevitable if and when Dubya wins the White House. Putin will do nicely as the new Hitler, until and unless a more convincingly villainous Russian ruler comes along. Already the alleged rise of Russian anti-Semitism is becoming a Western cause celebre, and Putin is being roundly criticized for breaking up Russian media conglomerates critical of the regime. There is a certain revival of anti-Russian sentiment among conservatives, or at least an attempt to stoke those dead embers.


However, I doubt this effort will catch fire, and for the same reason that a crusade to unseat Saddam will be met with something less than enthusiasm among the thousands who demonstrated against the Gore coup, and the millions more who were deeply angered by it. These millions – the Republican base – will not soon forget the horrors of Coup 2000. Nor will they forgive, in spite of Dubya's conciliatory rhetoric and the bipartisan love-fest that is sure to come. This blatant attempt to seize power, utilizing a Praetorian Guard of lawyers and street activists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to steal an election, has had a clarifying effect on the Republican rank-and-file: they may be confused enough to believe that "compassionate conservatism" means anything other than hard-assed liberalism, but, for once, they know who and what their real enemies are – and they aren't in Belgrade, or Baghdad.

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