CNN, National Socialist Public Radio, the New York Times,rnthe Washington Post, and the Washington Times), the opinionrnmagazines (from the New Republic to National Review, fromrnthe American Spectator to the Nation), organized religionrn(Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim), the offthe-rnshelf scribblers and blabbermouths (from William Satirernto Anthonv Lewis and Susan Sontag), and a bevy of ncoconservativernpinups (Jeane Kirkpatrick, Zbigniew Brzezinski,rnNatan Scharanskv, George Soros, Norman Podhoretz, TeddyrnKollek, Albert Shanker, Richard Perie, Albert Wohlsetter,rnJoseph Brodskv, and Czeslaw Milosz, plus numerous others,rndemanding in the Wall Street journal that the United Statesrnbomb not only the Bosnian Serbs but Serbia proper).rnAnd on this one, our typical fellow citizen has got it right.rnBosnia—in fact, the entire Balkans—is not “the heart of Europe”:rnit is the charred, bone-paved gateway to the MiddlernEast. It was never a dreamland of tolerance, but an arena ofrnfierce and bloodv struggle for supremacy and sur’ival betweenrnChristians (in two mutually antagonistic varieties, RomanrnCatholic and Orthodox, not counting the now-extinct Bogomils)rnand Muslims; among communists, royalists, republicans,rnand nationalists of various hues; and among Serbs,rnCroats, Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Germans, Italians, Mag-rn”ars, Romanians, and Turks. If at any time a semblance of orderrnexisted in a given locale, it was only because one group orrnanother was on top, and depending on the specifics, the otherrnjust had to live, or die, with the consequences. Rule NumberrnOne is this: you want your enemies to live as a minority inrnyour state; vou do not want to be a minority in their state. Inrnthe Balkans, the hazards of minorit’ status can range from thernfairly comfortable buy-out of their ill-gotten gains “suffered”rnb- the Muslims under what amounted to Serb rule in pre-rnWorld War II Yugoslavia, to the horrendous oppression ofrnChristians under fi’e centuries of rule by these same Muslims,rnfeaturing such niceties as the Blood Tax (a periodic levy on therninfidels’ children), not to mention occasional bouts of pillagernand massacre to remind them who rules in the Dar-ul-klam.rnAs has been widely observed, the collapse of communismrnhas led not to the end of history but to its reappearance.rnPeriiaps the problem in the Balkans is that the place just hasrna lot more undigested history than most other regions. Seeminglyrnon cue, starting in 1991, the natives took up their longrnknies and went after roughly the same throats as during thernFirst and Second Balkan Wars (which occurred just beforernWorld War I), with encore performances during The War tornEnd All Wars and its Sequel. Particularly striking is the degreernto which the nearb’ regional powers have gravitated to the supportrnof their traditional clients, setting up, in this BosniarnRound of the Third Balkan War, a semi-overt proxy war amongrnGermany, Russia, and Tlirkev. Of course, there are alwaysrnnew—meaning, in the Balkans, rcemcrging—wrinkles. Lastrnear, so-called neofascists, included for the first time in a postwarrnItalian government, raised the issue of whether certainrnparts of the Dalmatian coast should go to—they would say, bernreturned to—Ital\ These areas encompass the major townsrnof Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Split, a.k.a., Ragusa, Zara, and Spoleto.rnThe Serbs, who have their own republic in a nearbv partrnof Dalmatia, think this is a dandy idea and have conferred honorar-rncitizenship on a right-wing Italian senator. Meanwhile,rnNATO air strikes against the Serbs are launched from Italianrnbases. Croatia is a German satellite. Russia is as pro-Serb asrnit can afford to be, with the Yeltsin government tacking betyveenrnappeasement of its Western benefactors and the outragernof domestic critics across the political spectrum: support forrnthe Serbs is one of the few areas of policy where “democrats”rnpretty much agree with what they otherwise refer to as thern”red-brown conspiracy.” Britain and Eranee, officially committedrnvia NATO and the European Union to “the Westernrnpolicy,” i.e., a generally pro-Croat/German and pro-rnMuslimAIurkish orientation, favor a solution that leaves thernSerbs with most of their current holdings, a manifestation ofrntheir traditional Germanophobia. The only really unprecedentedrnelement is the emergence of the United States as arnzealous partisan of Muslim regional interests, along withrnTurkey, Iran, and pretty much the same lineup as in thernanti-Iraq coalition in the Persian Gulf War.rnhe UnitedrnStates, by virtuernnot only of itsrntripwire in FYROM but its overallrnregional network of political andrnmilitary assets, would be deeplyrncommitted to the AlbanianAurkishrnside in the Third Balkan War. Besidesrnthe local consequences, we would thenrnhave the makings of a sharprnAmerican/Russian confrontation.rnMore about America’s metamorphosis into Uncle Salaam inrna moment, but first back to the Balkan War. As noted above,rnthe Bosnia Round, despite a lot of effort by the usual suspects,rnhas not done the trick: the United States has not taken thernbait. But, luckily for progressives everywhere, there happensrnto be another “multiethnic democracy” in the neighborhoodrnthat seems to be just what the spin doctor ordered, lurkingrnunder the improbable moniker of “The Eormer Yugoslav Republicrnof Macedonia” (EYROM).rnModern Macedonia is much like Kashmir or Israel/Palestinernor the Ealklands/Malvinas Islands, in the sense that hardly anyonernreally understands it, and most of those who do generallyrnlie, or at least adhere to such astoundingly discordant versionsrnof yyhat passes for truth that they might as well be lying.rnEormedy the southern-most federal republic of Titoist Yugoslavia,rnPTROM is the home of over two million people,rnmost of whom speak a Slavic language with features similar tornBulgarian and Serbian. These Slavic-speakers are, by tradition,rnOrthodox Christians. In addition, there is a Muslim minority,rnmostly Albanian, plus some Turks and Gypsies, locatedrnmostly m FYROM’s northwest, bordering Albania and Koso-rnAPRIL 1995/27rnrnrn