Internet Statement 2000/23

Who is Vojislav Kostunica? 

Kostunica is a political personality who not until the presidential election campaign was introduced by the Western media and who, according to the reports, previously had played only a subordinate role in Serbia and Yugoslavia. He is the chairman of a "Democratic Party of Serbia". For a short time now he has been the presidential candidate of the "Democratic Opposition of Serbia", a coalition of several parties in which apparently Zoran Djindic calls the shots, acting as Kostunicas campaign manager.
This union actually already tells essentials about Kostunica, because among the "opposition" politicians who since long have been built up by the West, Djindic is the one who during the NATO terror bombings went so far as to demand to give up the independence of the country and to have it formally incorporated into the realm dominated by the aggressors. Since then, of course, he cannot dare any longer to run for a public office in Serbia, and it seems reasonable to suspect that Kostunica is serving as a fig leaf for Djindic‘s direction, for enabling it to anyway take part in the election campaign and for pushing the West‘s objectives nearer to their fulfillment in spite of all of this. 

In fact all the signs are that Kostunica is acting as the still relatively guiltless and unsuspected one who helps Djindic come to power - a Trojan horse of the US- and NATO-dependent opposition.

Kostunica appears as someone who objects NATO, who condemns the aggression against his country and the separation of Kosovo, and who also drops critical remarks about the US‘ interference into Yugoslavia‘s domestic affairs. 

It is worthwhile, however, to have a closer look at Kostunica‘s statements.

What, for example, should one think about the following explanations in a speech by Kostunica of April 14, 2000:

1. "There is one more thing Serbia desperately needs today - national reconciliation. First of all, the living Serbs are to bury the hatchet and allow the dead to make up and bring about that historic reconciliation. The first step to reconciliation is to abolish the existing division into patriots and traitors. After all, the present-day rulers of Serbia, who decreed themselves patriots, have demonstrated their patriotism to all but the Serbs. They have built other people’s countries and demolished their own. They did many a good turn, but caused their own people to grieve. Slobodan Milosevic has committed a mortal sin against his own people and his own state. Accordingly, he has to leave." 
Here Kostunica accuses Milosevic who so far has been trying, within the bounds of his possibilities, to defend Serbia‘s and Yugoslavia‘s independence, of being a non-patriot, whereas he wants figures like Djindic who definitely represent nothing but serfdom towards the West, to be freed of the treason accusation.

In the same speech Kostunica continues:

2. "It is my duty to say one more thing. There is another sort of violence that befell our misfortunate people - external violence spearheaded by power-wielders in Washington and Brussels. The forms of the external violence are the long-standing sanctions, last year’s bombs and support to Albanian terrorists in Kosovo. Whatever the source, violence is always violence, despite occasional attempts at presenting it as humane. It is hard to believe that people are killed, exhausted and starved by sanctions, and that their environment poisoned for their own benefit. First and foremost, we have to trample the domestic violence underfoot. In order to survive as a people, we have to normalise our relations with the world, but we must neither disregard nor forget the foreign violence conceived by the United States and NATO. More importantly, we must never elevate it in our esteem or present it as anything else but violence. Otherwise we will forget who and what we are."
These sentences deserve a more detailed commentary.

Here "the external violence" is criticized, and a critical attitude is at first taken towards NATO, towards the US and the EU. If however this is at the same time subordinated to a maxim like "whatever the source - violence is always violence", this criticism immediately evaporates into cheap talk. For it is by no means unimportant from which sources violence originates and which objectives it serves. Violence motivated by neocolonialism, as exerted by NATO‘s latest war, by the economic sanctions and the starvation strategy against the Serbian people, has to be objected and fought against exactly because of its political goals, whereas military violence for repelling this aggression is necessary and must be supported. More generally, the resistance against these objectives of the West cannot be denied the right to apply force if necessary. 

Even more clearly Kostunica speaks in the following when he goes so far as to declare the "domestic violence" to be the main enemy. This means in other words: we regret to be the victims of violent acts by the NATO countries, but it is not our main task to do away with that but instead with the domestic violence. Having the situation in mind one has to understand by this "domestic violence" repressive acts by the Milosevic government, and in the first place such against the so-called opposition of the Djindic and Draskovic type. Kostunica here apparently chooses expressions by which the most miserable forces can be vindicated. He avoids the concrete articulation of just demands from the people against the bureaucratic apparatus, although he likes to allude vaguely to the struggle against corruption, but on the other hand he puts possible justified measures by the government against treason, or corresponding acts by the people, on the same level as the suppression of democracy.

Here Kostunica‘s adaptation to the West‘s strategy becomes already very clear.

Now a passage from an interview with the magazine Vreme:

3."I also believed that we have to distance ourselves from declarative, conterproductive support coming from the present, departing, American administration which has proved to be absolutely useless for the opposition and democratic forces in Serbia. And that support can cause a lot of harm in the election campaign. It is common knowledge how they can help the population in Serbia. It seems that some European states are far more aware of that, and they have over some small but important projects, such as energy for democracy, established some cooperation and assistance and led to a quiet and gradual abolishment of sanctions."
To publicly play the distance from the US is absolutely necessary for somebody who wants to act as an opponent of the Milosevic government - this Kostunica is admitting here. If the connection with the US is all too clear, if somebody like Djindic appears in Ms. Albright‘s office for receiving her orders, if the US from their part are too openly sponsoring, financing and media-supporting this "opposition", this cannot be but "counterproductive", therefore its image has to be changed. The substance of NATO‘s policy however is what this Kostunica identifies himself with. The program "energy for democracy" is nothing but a part, an element of the war and its continuation by different means. After the bombs had destroyed power plants, refineries and transport routes and an import blockade had been erected, NATO offered delivery of oil and food to those regional rulers in Yugoslavia who would associate themselves with NATO against Milosevic It is a prime example of the "democracy" of Western capitalism which even after decades will be able to claim a prominent place in the list of its self-exposures: ‚you dance to our tune and acknowledge the government we selected for you, or else we look after your dying a wretched death.‘ 

One more clear example for Kostunica‘s bootlicking of this kind of "democracy" (from the same interview):

4. "VREME: In first news about your presidential campaign, foreign news agencies mostly described you as a ‚moderate nationalist, inclined to democratic changes‘, and ‚a fierce critic of the American administration‘. Would you add anything to or take away from this news agency portrait of Vojislav Kostunica?

KOSTUNICA: I would add a few things. Above all, there is a radical dedication to the struggle against corruption, regardless of its source. That has characterized my political struggle so far. As far as the fierce criticism of the current American administration is concerned, it does not at all imply an anti-western attitude. On the contrary. That criticism is in a way balanced with a different attitude with respect to Europe. That criticism is pro-western rather than anti-western. In as much as it advocates the return of the West to its original democratic and liberal values."

The European governments which represent this dog‘s muck of an "energy and food for democracy" program, are for Kostunica relatively close to the "original democratic and liberal values" of the West. Enjoy your meal!
Apart from the toadying, Kostunica‘s analysis completely misses the heart of the matter. In fact, the EU countries made war against Yugoslavia shoulder to shoulder with the US, and exactly they in fact are the ones which continue to exert massive pressure against Serbia and Yugoslavia by their extortionist policy. Basically they are only subordinates of the US. 
Concerning this one more statement by Kostunica. In a "Statement by Democratic Oppostion of Serbia (DOS) Presidential Candidate Vojislav Kostunica 18.9.2000" he says: 5. "In what they called a message to the Serbian people, EU foreign ministers unequivocally pledged to lift the sanctions against Yugoslavia if the September 24 election results led to a democratic change, thus furnishing compelling evidence that Europe’s policy towards Yugoslavia has changed for the better. Of course, it would have been much more useful for Serbia’s democracy hadn’t the ministers made the lifting of international sanctions conditional, but this gesture of goodwill will no doubt mean a lot to the Serbs, particularly given the fact that we have already fulfilled their sole condition - readiness for democracy. This is also yet another opportunity to pay full respect to France’s diplomacy and Hubert Vedrine, a man at its helm."  The shameless extortion from the part of the EU which ties the abolition of the embargo to the installation of a government according to the wishes of the US and the EU, for him really is "a change for the better", "a gesture of goodwill".

We don‘t to withhold from the Serbian people what a special sort of friend Mr. Kostunica chose for it in the person of Hubert Vedrine, the French foreign minister. 
In an interview with the US paper "International Herald Tribune" of April 20, 1999, Vedrine came to the fore:

(Q.) "The air strikes seem to put the Serbian population strongly in tune with their leader, Slobodan Milosevic. Is a harsher Western military blow needed to bring home to people the consequences of what they‘ve done, perhaps shock them to their senses after living in denial about the outside world for several years?

(Answer Vedrine:) 
"For 10 years, in fact, ever since Mr. Milosevic seized on the Kosovo issue to propagate the backward-looking nationalistic delusions that have done so much harm to the country he runs. Someday the people of Serbia will have a place in Europe, but right now they have developed a mood of paranoia - which existed before the air strikes but has worsened. After a decade in which Serbian leaders have misled their people so badly, Western governments can‘t operate in terms of collective guilt, we can‘t make war on a people. We did not intervene to change the regime in Serbia; we intervened because the Kosovo situation was intolerable. Now we have to work for solutions, not think about punishment. It‘s going to take the Serbs a long time to recover and we‘re somehow going to have to manage for them - until they are again ready to take responsibility for themselves." 

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wg / Editorial staff of Neue Einheit Oct.2, 2000