be cowed or savages to be exterminated. They are imposing arnbird’s-eye view of world affairs in the process, which makes discussionrnof their policy possible only within their odd terms ofrnreference. Try applying the traditional criteria of national interest,rnand yon will be labeled a Buchananite, with all the attendantrn”isms” that will destroy your name and career. But ifrnyou put on tlieir specs and think of their project as one greatrnmoral crusade on behalf of human rights and democracy everywhere,rnyou enter the virtual world in which all pretense tornmeaning is abandoned.rnTheir playful disregard for principles and order smacks ofrn1960’s frivolit’, but it comes with a big stick. The bombing ofrnSerbian buses, hospitals, trains, and TV stations was conductedrnunder the label of “humanitarian intervendon.” The destructionrnof the traditional concept of sovereignh’ and the rule of lawrnis a triumph of the “international community.”rnThe former peaceniks-turned-bombcrs in Washington,rnBonn, London, and Brussels saw the late unpleasantnessrnin the Balkans as a major step toward the fulfillment of theirrnOne World, post-national vision. Universal human rights wererninvoked to justify the will of the “international community,”rnthat modern ec[uivalent of Rousseau’s “general will,” whichrnmeans the will of the person talking. The rule of law and respectrnfor nahonal sovereignty and tradition have been boldly denied.rnBut since universal concepts are by definition deracinated,rnthe next step will be to demand a single global system of civilrnlaw that cannot stop short of a world government. The Serbsrnwere a litmus test, and their collapse—predictable, even unavoidable,rnunder the unspeakable Mr. Milosevic —means thatrnthe project will march on.rnFor that reason, it is not just about the Balkans: In the aftermathrnof NATO’s war, we are faced with a global problem thatrngoes beyond “Culture Wars.” It is the end of culture.rnFor many millennia, people lived in communities in whichrnthe bonds between them were direct and emotional. In the ferhlernplains of Mesopotamia and the Lower Nile, “society” eventuallyrnemerged: Relations between people were formalized andrnmeasured in terms of objects, but the individual was still thernsubject of his own acts, motivated by his feelings and needs. Butrnby the middle of the 20th century, societ had evolved into arnvastlv complex social-technological system, and man was reducedrnto a mere element—the “human fiictor.”rnn our own time, what the ruling elite would call “ideology”rn—and what our grandparents would call spirituality—hasrnbeen replaced by “content,” by information. The process is acceleratingrnby the day, and culture as a mechanism for maintainingrnsocial identity and coherence is becoming obsolete.rnWealth, success, and health are the only “values” in the informationrnera. The soul, emohonal experiences, personal opinionrn—all tliese are regarded as waste that distracts from productionrnor from the precise execuhon of instructions. Culture, ifrnnot already embalmed and relegated to “heritage,” is automaticallyrndesignated “tradihonal.” The real end of history—therncomplete transformation of society into a social-technologicalrnsystem-would signify the end of mankind’s cultural history. Itrnwould also signify the end of mankind.rnYes, and it is all for the best, according to Prof Jon Huer atrnthe University of Maryland, whose musings on the future werernnoted in Signs of the Times (July 1999). For Huer, the bombingrnby Americans and human-shielding by Serbs represented twornvery different worlds. The high technology “of ultimate sophistication,rnso logical and so rational, with little human involvement,”rnis countered by “the total disregard of logic and rationalit’.”rnAmericans believe in the power of technology “and all thatrnit implies—reason, logic, practicality, soluhon-finding.” Serbsrnbelieve in the power of their destiny, “powerful, and so human.”rn”Americans,” he says,rnare now entering a wholly different era of societ) and culturern. . . a “Post-Human Era” where all aspects of socialrnlife are streandined and rationalized . .. [and] each individualrnis isolated from other individuals so that his or herrnself-calculation can be logically derived without distractionrnfrom other human beings.rnHuer believes that post-human Americans are probably “thernfuture prototy|)e humans,” while Serbs are “an atavisticrnholdover fiom a bygone era.” He coircludes that the Serbs havern”to recognize this inevitable development of histor- and join uprnwith what will be, not what was or should be.”rnTry applying the traditionalrncriteria of national interest, andrnvou will be labeled a Buchananite,rnwith all the attendant “isms” thatrnwill destroy your name and career.rnThis gem of brutal honesty indicates why it is not just the Balkansrnanymore. Between the “prototype rational post-humans”rn—epitomized by Clinton, Albright, Berger, Cohen,rnBlair, and Cook—and the atavisdc, irrational humans, each ofrnus needs to make a choice. The former will rely on America’srncontinuing technological and militar’ superiorih’, not on itsrnmoral authorit} or political magnetism. As British historianrnMichael Stenton has put it:rnVictims and opponents are invited to contemplate thernstrength of a dominant culture, and despair. The experiencernin the Balkans today is of resourcelessncss. Onernmust plug into the West—its power centers and its culturern—and pray for favor, and try to be noticed in the rightrnway. Hence the readiness of Balkan countries to damagernthemselves to help America damage Serbia. Looking forrnfavor is the only game in town. If only it were just thernmoney! Imperial culture —today one says global culturern—confiscates respect for what is local and native andrnreplaces it with sometiiing universal, however bad.rnThe Balkans —humanitarian bombings, multicultural Muslims,rnrape camps, and all—was the post-humans’ exercise inrncounterrealism, which is the essence of postmodernism.rn”Jamie” Shea and “Jamie” Rubin (note the cute nicknames retainedrnby these presumed grown-ups) move beyond truth andrnrealit)’, just as their more arty counterparts move beyond thernlimits of the aesthetic. The reversibility of the signifier and thernMARCH 2000/1 7rnrnrn