The Destruction of Yugoslavia: A Template for America’s Future Policy

Yugoslavia (SCF) – The prospects of a Hillary Clinton presidency bring back to the memories of the peoples of the Balkans the era of the 1990s, when Bill Clinton, NATO, and the forces of globalism brought about the collapse of Yugoslavia and a surge in nationalism in the Balkans not seen since World War II. The planned US destruction of Yugoslavia is spelled out in an October 31, 1988, US National Intelligence Council memorandum titled «‘Sense of Community’ Report on Yugoslavia». Written by Marten van Heuven, the National Intelligence Officer for Europe, the formerly classified Secret memo conveyed the opinion of the US Intelligence Community that it was doubtful that Yugoslavia would survive from its form in 1988. Van Heuven was a product of the RAND Corporation, the Pentagon think tank that developed countless scenarios for nuclear war, including thermonuclear mega-deaths on a global scale.

As the Cold War began to conclude, van Heuven and his American supremacy colleagues, including the later US «viceroy» for Iraq, Paul «Jerry» Bremer, and various US military commanders within NATO, began to sharpen their knives for the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.

Rather than blame outside influences for the pressure on the Yugoslav federal system, van Heuven began the meme that would later justify NATO’s and America’s intervention in Yugoslavian civil wars. For van Heuven, it was Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic who was squarely responsible for the fracture of Yugoslavia’s federal system. This lie would persist until Milosevic’s suspicious death in 2006 while he was on trial before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Van Heuven was one of a number of Atlanticists, some carrying significant anti-Russian and anti-Serb ethnic and religious baggage – for example, Polish-born Zbigniew Brzezinski, Czech-born Madeleine Albright, Hungarian-born George Soros, and Berlin-born Helmut Sonnenfeldt – who wanted to «punish» countries like Serbia and Russia for bigoted reasons. In 1995, van Heuven wrote a paper for RAND titled «Rehabilitating Serbia». Van Heuven and his cheerleading comrades for NATO and the European Union saw Serbia as the Balkans’ only aggressor nation and violator of human rights. Nowhere in the vocabulary of right-wing Atlanticists like van Heuvel, Albright, and Brzezinski would be found terms like «Croatian neo-Nazi revanchism», «pan-Germanic Slovenia», or «Bosnian/Kosovar Islamo-fascism», all of which were holdovers from the Nazi pasts of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Kosovar Albania during World War II.

The speed at which Germany recognized and supported the independence of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo from Yugoslavia is a testament to the nostalgia of reunited Germany for the war years of German domination over all of the Balkans, except for the problematic Serbs, who refused to fall completely under the realm of Adolf Hitler.

The neo-conservative Atlanticists of the outgoing administration of George H W Bush and the incoming administration of Bill Clinton decided that the destruction of Yugoslavia would send a powerful message to Moscow about what could eventually be in store for the Russian Federation. The splitting of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia failed to provide the Atlanticists with any battleground on which to take on Russia. The post-Cold War Czech president, Vaclav Havel, was a darling of the Atlanticists. Havel’s Slovak counterpart, Alexander Dubcek, the leader of the 1968 «Prague Spring», remained a committed Communist and a supporter of a loose Czech-Slovak Union. Although Dubcek was feted with the same sort of international «feel good» awards and honors that were bestowed on Havel, a compliant «poodle» for the likes of Soros and Albright, Dubcek was another story. Dubcek was determined to lead the leftist Slovak Social Democratic Party and an independent Slovakia that was not necessarily in NATO’s hip pocket, as was the case with the Czech Republic.

On September 1, 1992, Dubcek’s BMW skidded out of control on a highway near Humpolec in Czech Moravia. On November 7, 1992, Dubcek died from his injuries, which included multiple organ failure. The future socialist leader of an independent Slovakia would pose no problem for a NATO that planned to expand to the East. The attention of the Atlanticists would switch to another rigid socialist who stood in the way of NATO expansion. That person was Milosevic.

It is clear from van Heuven’s 1988 memo that the US goals for Yugoslavia would end up in a dismembered federation. The Central Intelligence Agency, through its support for Croatian, Slovenian, and Bosnian separatists, encouraged ethnic tensions that provoked widespread violence that ultimately led to Yugoslavia’s dismemberment. «Dismemberment» of Yugoslavia is a constant theme in van Heuven’s 1988 memo summarizing the combined «sense» of America’s various intelligence agencies.

The CIA’s biggest problem in Yugoslavia was to «de-Titoize» the federation. World War II partisan leader Marshal Josip Broz Tito brought the disparate peoples of federal Yugoslavia with a simple slogan: «Yugoslavia: six republics, five nations, four languages, three religions, two alphabets, one Party». The one party was the Communist Party. Although Tito allowed the Yugoslav republics a great deal of local autonomy, the van Heuven memo pointed out that this was at the expense market forces being able to take advantage of a uniform economic policy throughout Yugoslavia. Therefore, Yugoslavia would have to be dismantled with the component republics being able to be more easily absorbed into NATO and the EU than a large unwieldy Yugoslav federation. Therefore, for the Atlanticists, Yugoslavia had to die and die quickly.

Image Source: AK Rockefeller, Flickr, Creative Commons CIA Shadow Wars

Image Source: AK Rockefeller, Flickr, Creative Commons
CIA Shadow Wars

The CIA and its affiliates decided that the northern Catholic, Western, and relatively prosperous republics of Croatia and Slovenia would be the first to carve out of Yugoslavia. US weapons and mercenaries were provided to Croatia for its military standoff against the Yugoslav army. The Yugoslav army was considered in 1988 to be a major barrier to NATO’s designs for the country. But van Heuven and others believed that if Yugoslavia could be economically dealt with by more than 200 percent inflation and an unpayable foreign debt, the political disruption would adversely affect the federal Yugoslav armed forces. The Atlanticists were correct as Croatia scored a military victory over Serbia in Operation Storm of 1995, which wrested control of the self-proclaimed Serb Republic of Krajina and provided assistance to the Bosnian army in seizing control of Western Bosnia from Serb forces. Operation Storm received covert support from NATO and the intelligence services of the United States, Britain, and Germany.

The Atlanticists also wanted to see the poorer Yugoslav southern and Orthodox and Muslim republics go their own way. Milosevic was demonized by the Atlanticists over his plans to reassert Serbian control over the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina. The Atlanticists, in their support for irredentist Hungarian nationalism in Vojvodina and Albanian nationalism in Kosovo, knew a human rights conflagration would be ignited. While muted in Vojvodina, the resulting bloody ethnic turmoil in Kosovo ended in NATO having their reason to occupy the Albanian province and shepherd it to independence.

The Atlanticists’ propaganda machine painted Milosevic and the Serbs as dangerous «hegemonists». There was yet one more target for the NATO butchers who dismembered Yugoslavia. Montenegro was convinced that they were not, as insisted upon by post-World War I Yugoslavia, Serbs but Montenegrins, totally distinct from the Serbs. The same NATO psychological warfare operation was used to convince Macedonians that they, too, were different from Serbs and should be independent. NATO, however, never took into consideration the fact that Greece would never allow a country on its northern border with the name «Macedonia». The Atlanticists have never been known to be keen scholars of the histories of lands they intend to carve up for their own selfish purposes.

Today, Yugoslavia is a jigsaw puzzle of a once-strong, independent, and non-aligned federation. In addition to opening up southeastern Europe to full NATO incorporation, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia was also designed to send a message to Russia. That message remains: if Yugoslavia could be dissected into seven independent republics, what could NATO and the Atlanticists do to the Russian Federation, spanning eleven time zones and consisting of 85 federal entities, many of which are based on ethnicity? NATO has already shown with Yugoslavia what it is capable of doing.
This report prepared by Wayne Madsen for Strategic Culture Foundation.