and construct a multi-ethnic Bosnia, now insist upon a visa forrnforeign travelers entering the Republika Srpska from Yugoslavia.rnLike most of the Republika Srpska (RS), Banja Lukarnis swollen with refugees, and the cit has 70 percent unemployment.rnStreets at mid-day are thronged by able-bodied men ofrnall ages, who ought to be at work.rnRonald Hatchett, President Plavsic, 1 lionias Fleming, andrnSrdja Trifkovic.rnI came here with Srdja Trifkovic and Professor RonaldrnHatchett (retired Air Force colonel and former disarmamentrnnegohator) primarily to speak with Biljana Plavsic. I hoped shernwould give us an hour; in the end it was more like seven.rnMrs. Plavsic had been a professor of microbiolog)’ at the Universityrnof Sarajevo before the troubles in Bosnia broke out. hirn1990 she became an SDS (Serbian Democratic Part}-) deputyrnfor Banja Luka. Later, as vice president, she was known for herrnfish-or-cut-bait position, telling her colleagues that they eitherrnhad to win the war as quickly as possible or sign the best deal thernWest was willing to give. In the end, after the Americansrnbombed their militarv and civilian infrastructure to pieces —rnkilling many civilians who were foolish enough to live nearrnbridges —they had to accept a worse deal than, for example, thern’ance-Owen plan.rn.^yfer the Dayton agreement, Karadzic’s ally, Momcilo Krajsnik,rnwas chosen to represent the Serbs in the three-man presidencyrnof Bosnia, and Mrs. Plasic was given the apparenti}’ lesserrnpost of president of the RS. She took over a government withrnno taxation, no customs, an empty treasur)-, while the allies ofrnKaradzic and Krajsnik were getting rich on bribery and corruption.rnGangsters are usually willing to protect their iin’estment,rnand there are rumors tiiat there is something funny about thernsuicide of Vice President Nikola Koljevie (inten-iewed in thernAugust 1995 issue oiChronicles), an honest man vho was writingrnhis memoirs. Koljcvic’s decline and fall could be the subjectrnof a postmodern tragedy; a scholar and idealist who saw allrnhis noble dreams corrupted by men he trusted, a Shakespearernscholar who, as Sir Alfred Sherman obscr’ed, never understoodrnMacbeth. Still, even for a melancholic scholar who had readrnLlamlet once too often, two bullets in the brain does seem excessive.rnDemocratically elected in 1996 as the leader of the newlyrnformed Serbian National Party, Mrs. Plavsic brings a hardheadedrnpragmatism to her job as president, and even Americanrnofficials have had to acknowledge that her government is a farrncr’ from the comic opera proceedings of the Pale regime. Intelligentrnand principled, she has a mischievous sense of humorrnthat she puts to good use in sticky situations. Arguing a pointrnwith the stubborn Klaus Kinekel, she told the German foreignrnminister, “You must be a Serb—only a Serb could be so hardheaded,”rnan oblique reference to so-called Lusatian Serbs inrnGermany.rnShe is, nonetheless, in a difficult position, having to deal notrnonly with enemies in the Croat-Muslim federation and her formerrncolleagues in Pale, but also with the hard-line regime ofrnSlobodan Milosevic, who fears that the success of a democraticrnRepublika Srpska will send the wrong signal to Serbs in Serbiarnand Montenegro.rnAs we speak, Mrs. Plavsic is waiting for the decision onrnBrcko, a town originally allocated to the Serbs but still the subjectrnof dispute. She does not think that, in the context of Europeanrnunion, a small Bosnian-Serb state is an absurdity. “Arnsmall compact Bosnian Serbia might thrive,” she says, “so longrnas it resists the imperial temptation. Pale’s mini-imperialismrnwas fatalistic and destructive.” Her description conjures up arnvision of a Serbian Slovenia, and she does not reject the comparison.rnThe Bosnian Serbs must learn to content themselves withrnhalf a loaf and stick closel)’ to the letter of the Dayton Accords,rnwithout either cheating or surrendering their rights. “Let thernMuslims and Croats cheat,” she says, “We shall be faithful.”rnBut when an American diplomat (Richard Kornblum) came tornher office and told her that she had to go beyond the letter andrnfulfill the “spirit of Dayton,” she replied with some heat that sherndid not belie’e in spirits or ghosts (the word is the same in Serbian)rnbut would stick by the sanctity of contracts. I try to explainrnto her that the American diplomat is a leftist who is simplyrnechoing the activist American judges who find laws in thernspirit of the Constitution and the penumbra of the Bill ofrnRights.rnOf herself, Biljana Plavsic says she has always been a patriot,rnnot a nationalist, but she wonders if Americans will understandrnthe distinction. When she asks us why Americans refuse to understandrnthe Serbs’ problems in Bosnia, Ron Hatchett repeatsrnto her what he heard from policymakers in Washington:rn”I’here are only ten million Serbs in the world, as opposed tornone billion Muslims, who produce huge quantities of oil andrnoffer vast markets for American business.” Almost indignantlyrnshe asks, “But why don’t they understand that we are ten millionrnChristians?” And I try to explain that America, so far as itsrnleadership is concerned, is a post-Christian nation.rnIt is hard for foreigners, who have always heard of America asrnone of the last Christian nations, to understand the animosit’rnof our ruling class against the faith. A cynic might say that thernreal purpose of American education (and journalism and entertainment)rnis the de-Christianization of the people.rnOf course. Orthodox Serbs are all too well aware of therncommunists’ persecution of the faith, and at a lecture inrnMontenegro, I am asked if the New World Order is a plot of thernFreemasons. Another questioner, an Orthodox monk who editsrna theological journal, wants to know if America’s anti-Christianrnbias goes back to the Civil War, when the New Englandrndeists and Unitarians conquered the trinitarian South. Shakingrnhands with me on the way out, Hieromonk Jovan Culibrk intonesrna few bars of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”rnMer returning to the United States, I read an article of his inrn12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn