CHRONICLES INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENTrnThe Serbs and the Westrnby Srdja TrifkovicrnAthousand editorialists have described Vojislav Kostunica,rnYugoslavia’s new president, as a “moderate nationalist.” Inrnfact, Kostunica is no more “nationalistic” than Jacques Chiracrnor Vaclav Havel. He is a self-described Serbian patriot, who saysrnhe wants for his people no more —and certainly no le-ss —thanrnhe is prepared to grant to others. That is enough to make himrnsuspect to those who want Serbia to remain a black hole in thernheart of the Balkans.rnDuring a decade-long acquaintance with Kostunica, I havernhad ample opportunity to hear his views on the way Serbiarnshould develop its relations with the Western world in the post-rnMilosevic period. Those views were summarized in his presentationrnat a conference organized by the Lord Byron Foundationrnin Belgrade last January (at which several Rockford Instituternrepresentatives spoke, including Christopher Check, ThomasrnFleming, and myself.) His remarks, made months before hisrnrise to international prominence, reflect his real views, franklyrnstated, unburdened bv the requirements of diplomatic niceties.rn”The question of what the Serbs have to agree to in their futurernrelations with the Western world, and what they must neverrnaccept, is central to our future,” Kostunica said, warning thatrn”democratization”—as applied to the Balkans from Washingtonrn—does not necessarily mean the creation of democratic institutionsrnas such:rnNo, this entails finding obedient, pliant people who willrnassume power. . . [They] provide the prime example ofrnthe relativization of “democracy” . . . Whether it is elections,rnthe media, or the functioning of elected bodies, thernwill of the people is irrelevant. Wliat matters is the will ofrnthe authorities in Washington.rnAs one of his country’s most prominent legal scholars, Kostunicarnwas scathing about the lack of respect for the rule of law inrnthe emerging Pax Americana. Washington “introduced intornthe rule of law everything that is opposed to the rule of law: voluntarism,rninsecurity, arbitrariness.” The countiess revisions ofrnthe Dayton Agreement, which settled the war in Bosnia, are arnclear sign he said, but he drew further proof from Americanrndiplomat Christopher Hill, who in 1998 insisted that the U.S.rnplan for Kosovo “must be worded so as to provide different interpretationsrnof the same provisions by the opposing sides, withoutrnundermining the agreement in the process.”rnWliile condemning Milosevic’s ineptitude in foreign affrirs,rnhe was equally critical of the “excessive cooperativeness” ofrnsome of his colleagues in the opposition:rnCommunist apparatchiks, young and old, have replacedrnone form of Newspeak with another. They are wellrnaware of what can be said and what is forbidden. OnernSrdja Trifkovic is the foreign affairs editor of Chronicles.rnmust not talk of tiic NATO bomliing and the subsequentrnconditions in Kosoo, while one has to talk about tiiernSerb “culpabilitv” and The Hague tribunal. In the aftermathrnof the bombing, tinis was the basis for institutionalizedrnrelations between Hie Kuropean Union, the LJnitedrnStates, and tiie democratic opposition in Serbia. Beforernthat time, those relations were based . . . on the trianglernformed by the U.S., the E.U., and Slobodan Milosevic;rnthen it was reduced to the United States dealing witiirnMilosevic.rnThe focus of Kostunica’s remarks was on the need for thernSerbs to find a third way “between the extremely uncooperativernposition of Milosevic and the exce,ssivel- cooperative position ofrnsome of his political opponents.” But for the new strateg)’ to bernsuccessful, the Serbs have to retain their national identity:rnIn order for a nation to surie, it has to know wliat is itsrnnational interest. In order to define its national interest, itrnhas to have a strong national identity. This is a specialrnproblem since some Serbs ha e lost their national identit’rnby becoming “Yugoslavs,” “Europeans,” “anti-nationalists,”rnglobalists, or else sub-national regionalists.rnKostunica warned that, even if future Serbian political elitesrnsucceed in “avoiding the many traps that await them as they sailrnbetween the Scylla and Charybdis of tiie modern world, betweenrnconfrontation with the outside world and a subservientrnattitude to it,” the country will confront the distorted and prejudicedrnpicture of the Serbs that has been created during the pastrndecade. But the truth will come out in the end: “It is now quiternclear that factually, politicallw and legally, the so-called humanitarianrnintervention by NATO against the Federal Republicrnof Yugoslavia was not justified, that it was the intervention itselfrnthat caused the humanitarian catastrophe, thernconsequences of which will be felt for a long time.”rnThe lesson of tiiat war is tiiat the Serbs cannot count on anyrn”allies,” in the old sense, among the great powers;rnThe’ can count, however, on covert and overt allies inrnthe West, in Europe, and on the diffuse but e’cr morernprealent resistance all over the world to what has comernto be known as “beneolent global hegemony.” Theyrncan count on the growing awareness tiiat the NATO Serbia was mediated in the West by lies and manipulations,rnby the creation of a hvi.sted and false picturernabout the Serbs that justified their ])unishment by sanctions,rnbombs, and politically driven indictments at ThernHague.rn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn