An Answer Bouquet

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An Answer Bouquet

At the end of the 20th century all Europeans, except those living in the south eastern part of the continent, were spared the experience of war. Why is this so? The question is usually set in another way: Why did the cold war end with the war in the Balkans? There is seemingly no difference between the questions, but if there really weren’t, the common explanations would not all be derived from the second question.
The first of these explanations is covered in the rust that started eating at armoured vehicles and artillery when the cold war began to thaw. According to this theory, the war is supposed to be a last spasm of the dying communist dinosaur (pictured by a giant industrial robot, the later word derived from the Russian “robotnik”, worker) that flicked its tail one last time. The theory, although attractive, does not hold water. It doesn’t explain why of all places the war happened in Yugoslavia, who strayed from the struggles of the communist bloc with the founding of the movement of unaligned nations. This is why the explainers explained the explanation away by a new one: the theory of rekindled nationalisms that the industrial dinosaur/robot had kept at bay while still alive. Yet this theory was apparently not going in the right direction either, as it led the debate about democratization straight onto the question of the violent origins of the modern European states. The theory was still a problem, as many of the states that formed on former Soviet territory at approximately the same time had avoided slipping into a state of war. And the explainers went further: they had to dive into history, all the way to the beginnings of the three Judaic religions – Catholicism, the Orthodox church and Islam – that took to wing on Yugoslav ground, but this explanation was only an echo of what the warring parties used in order to justify violence.
The mainstream explanations were complemented by marginal ones: from theories putting the war in Yugoslavia down as rites of wild tribes, to those seeing the first and last cause of it all in a diabolical plan concocted in CIA headquarters, ensuring the USA’s final and irrevocable claim to the throne of the new world order. Even though some of these explanations may carry some weight, the mainstream current forged its own way ahead and finally stopped when the USA paralyzed the war by military means. At that point the most popular explanation was generalized and applied to global reality as a whole: that the cause of all the wars – past and future – on the planet are in fact inherent differences between civilizations. The elites that mold the world image of today took to it and this had similar results to those of the military intervention in the Balkans. It paralyzed contemplation. From such a viewpoint no solutions can be found.
One of the views that had been pushed aside from the start is that of the peacekeepers. Even before the outbreak of armed conflict in ex-Yugoslavia, the European peacekeepers found themselves in disagreement, both over understanding the Balkan conflicts and over figuring out what to do. Even though these differences were big enough to be presented as “a peacekeepers misunderstanding of the situation”, there exists an even better founded reason to ignore the various demilitarization initiatives from the end of the nineties. With the end of the cold war, the reason for the existence of (global) military systems was called under question. The arguments for a fundamental reduction of their meaning, or even their abolition were clear: the soviet army bloc turned out to be ineffective in protecting its ideological and strategic goals; nearwhile the Yugoslav army – at that time one of the strongest in Europe – was unable to prevent the country from falling apart, and had turned against the very citizens it was founded to protect; and the countries that were joined in the North-Atlantic military alliance by a common enemy, had lost that enemy. This argument against further armament was never stated clearly enough by the peacekeepers, but was very obvious to the economical and political elites – and they found a simple and effective answer. Most at hand and indisputable for the side that does not hold to peaceful solutions to conflicts (conflicts are what it makes a living of), even when the reason for a conflict is no longer there, is “a punch in the mouth”. Ever since Kuwait it was the peacekeepers who got punched in the mouth with every military blow. They are now left with only the right to quietly distribute humanitarian aid.

AuthorSašo Gazdič
2018-08-21T17:23:12+00:00 November 27th, 2006|Categories: Literature, Essays, Blesok no. 51|0 Comments