Aftermath of the Yugoslav War –

Intensification of all the contradictions of imperialism


War is politics continued by other (i.e., forcible) means.”

This famous dictum of Clausewitz, one of the most profound writers on military questions, has received further confirmation from the latest imperialist war in the Balkans. This war started as a continuation of the imperialist peace, and the imperialist peace ending this war is in turn a continuation of the imperialist war, whose aim was, and remains, the securing of domination by imperialism of the entire area stretching from the Middle East to the shores of the Black and Caspian Seas, endowed as they are with fabulous mineral wealth and a vast network of oil pipelines.

All talk about humanitarianism was just hocus pocus, meant to distract the gullible. The course of developments in the battlefield, and the events since the end of the war, have proved every one of NATO’s assertions and pretensions to be what they always were, namely, barefaced lies told by the mercenary agents and spokesmen of bloodthirsty imperialism. Imperialist spokesmen in our time have neither the courage nor the candour of the US General Smedley Butter, who in 1925 uttered these memorable words:

“In 1914 I helped to make Mexico a safer place for the US oil companies. I helped to turn Haiti and Cuba into patrimony of the National City Bank in order to make a profit. In 1900 and 1912 I helped to prepare the ground in Nicaragua for the international bankers Brow Brothers. In 1916 I made way in the Dominican Republic for US interests. In 1903 I did all I could to make the US fruit companies at home in Honduras.”

Such frankness from the lips of a Robin Cook, a Tony Blair, a Robertson, a Clinton or a Wesley Clarke could hardly be calculated to endear them to the public at large. Hence the necessity for them to resort to euphemism, hypocrisy and plain lies.

For 79 days, a coalition of 19 of the richest countries in the world, with a population of 600 million, a combined GDP of $12 trillion a year, and combined military budget in excess of $500 billion a year – a colossal economic, technological and military force, unprecedented in the annals of history – waged total war against tiny Yugoslavia to force the latter to submit to imperialism’s ‘New World Order’.

Lie number one

At the start of this war, NATO’s political and military leaders sought to justify the war by hypocritically and cynically proclaiming that the purpose of the war was to avert a

“humanitarian catastrophe”,

to protect Kosovars by ‘degrading’ the Yugoslav military, thus eliminating the latter’s capacity for harming the Kosovo Albanian population. It soon became clear that NATO was having little success in eliminating Yugoslav defences, beyond hitting empty barracks and headquarters. As early as 12 May, Simon Jenkins exposed NATO’s myth in these contemptuous terms:

“Nobody believes the bombing war is ‘working’, except for a British cabinet lost somewhere between a focus group and a fantasy,” he wrote, adding that NATO was waging an all-out war in which all bounds of proportionality had been exceeded, and the urban bombing, the dropping of cluster bombs on city centres, and the consequent mindless destruction and loss of human life, merely served to expose the immorality of NATO’s cause.

Hitting civilian targets in impotent rage

As the realisation dawned upon NATO’s military commanders and political leaders that Yugoslavia was a harder nut to crack than they had imagined, that their campaign against the Yugoslav defence establishment was characterised by an exemplary failure, they have given vent to their impotent rage by unleashing a war against civilian targets and centres of population.

With a combined GDP amounting to 1,163 times that of their victim, a population 77 times greater, a territory 226 times larger, and regular troops outnumbering by 43 times those of the Yugoslav armed forces, the NATO aggressors flew 35,778 sorties (combat and support missions) and carried out 12,000 strikes, wreaking havoc on a small country with impunity. During this cowardly and dishonourable campaign, 1,000 fighter planes took part. 10,000 cruise missiles were fired. 35,000 cluster bombs were dropped. 150 bridges were targeted, out of which 63 (including 7 across the Danube) were destroyed. 14 power stations and two oil refineries (at Pancevo and Novi Sad) were destroyed. 13 airports and airfields were damaged or destroyed, including Batajnica and Surcin in Belgrade and Nis airport. 23 railway lines and stations were damaged. 9 major roads and motorways, including the main road between Prizren and Djakovica and other sections of the Adriatic and Belgrade-Nis highways were badly damaged. 9 hospital were damaged or destroyed. Over 300 secondary and elementary schools, university faculties, pre-school facilities and suchlike ‘military’ targets were hit and damaged or destroyed. The population was exposed to poisonous gasses as a result of attacks on fuel storage and chemical industry facilities. 2 million people were rendered jobless owing to the destruction of their workplaces. Radio-Television Serbia in Belgrade, 40 industrial companies and more than 100 businesses, including the USCE business centre in Belgrade, were hit. And the Zastava car factory, with a workforce of 38,000, was bombed over three days in April. Last but not least, 1,500 Yugoslav civilians, 476 soldiers and 114 police officers met their deaths through NATO bombing, while 6,000 civilians were wounded. According to Tom Walker of

The Times, “NATO contributed to the deaths of more than 10,000 ethnic Albanians”,


“without bombing, many would have been alive today”, (The Times,

10 July 1999).

The Cuban UN Ambassador, Bruno Rodriguez, speaking at the 4,011


session of the UN Security Council on 10 June 1999 spoke for the whole of progressive humanity when he exposed NATO’s illegal, unjust and genocidal war against Yugoslavia, the destruction and suffering visited upon her people, in the following graphic and trenchant terms, which tear the mask of humanitarianism from imperialism’s face and reveal the hideous monstrosity and cruel barbarity of an outmoded and filthy system attempting to preserve itself by drowning humanity in oceans of blood.

“The Security Council’s silence will not erase the images of the bombed Grdelica Jorge passenger train; of the Djakovica-Pec convoy of Albanian refugees; of the civilian facilities in Belgrade and Novi Sad; of the Paracin, Kralijevo, Sremska Mitrovica villages; the Serbian television station, the Luzane bus, the Surdulica neighbourhood, the Lucani factory, the power generators, the potable water grids, the Valjevo hospital, the Greek convoy near Vlac, the People’s Republic of China’s Embassy, the Nis market-place and hospital complex, the Kosovar-Albanian Korisa village, 18 diplomatic premises, the Istok prison, tens of bridges, railways and roads.

It has been a genocide. The systematic actions to deprive millions of people of food, heat, drinking water and medial services; the deliberate and daily strikes on non-military targets where civilians were known to be, and the use of internationally banned weapons like the uranium-coated and cluster bombs; or the indiscriminate use of seismic bombs in urban areas and graphite bombs against power grids – so as to paralyse every vital service – cannot be described otherwise. These acts are in violation of the Geneva Conventions, International Humanitarian Law and War Practices and Customs. Those responsible must be exemplarily punished.

“This war’s environmental impact on the region is really inestimably.

“The pretexts NATO politicians have stuffed their speeches with – lying to their own nationals while ridiculously smiling – cannot withstand any analysis.”

The NATO spokesmen and, following them,

“a whole flight command of Luftwaffe liberals”


“stock exchange socialists,”

to use Andrew Murray’s apt terminology, tried to assure the public that NATO’s aims was purely humanitarian, designed to avert a massive exodus of refugees from Kosovo. In fact, NATO bombing forced nearly 900,000 Kosovars to flee their homes and make for the refugee camps, which is hardly surprising, considering that NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ bombardment destroyed or badly damaged 65% of the houses in Kosovo. In any case, only a fool would have taken the imperialist coalition’s words at their face value. For there are presently more than 22 million refugees in the world. The vast majority of these eke out a miserable existence in refugee camps in Asia and Africa, with their ranks swelling, on average, by 10,000 people a day according to the UNHCR. The overwhelming majority of these refugees are victims of imperialist war or imperialist-inspired civil strife and famine. Africa alone accounts for 11 million of these refugees, thanks to imperialist interference. The very same powers who don’t give a damn about 22 million refugees can hardly be believed when they assert that they are going to war to safeguard the rights of a mere 100,000 Kosovar refugees.

Lie number two

While NATO had such a ‘glorious’ success in attacking civilian targets, it failed miserably in its declared aim of ‘degrading’ the Yugoslav military. Right up to the end of the war, NATO leaders continued to assert that a third of Yugoslav armoured vehicles, including 400 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and trucks, as well as 90% of artillery in Kosovo, had been destroyed. That this was a deliberate lie to justify Nazi-like saturation bombing of civilian targets is admirably revealed by the most impeccable of bourgeois organs. Writing in the

Financial Times

of 1 July, for example, this is what Mr Alexander Nicoll has to say:

NATO troops and journalists entering the Serbian province have not found the burnt-out tanks NATO had said it was hitting, especially in the last two weeks of the campaign when the weather was good. According to one report, only 13 tanks were destroyed. Instead, they have found plenty of decoys: false bridges and roads, dummy tanks made out of wood and plastic.

The defiant exit from Kosovo of more than 40,000 apparently undemoralised Serbian troops, along with hundreds of tanks, artillery pieces and other military vehicles raised doubts about whether it was really the air campaign – or at least, the part of it directed at them – that forced Slobodan Milosevic, the Yugoslav president, to accept NATO’s terms.”

Adds Mr Nicoll:

” … NATO, with all its surveillance assets and precision-guided munitions, was apparently unable to inflict crippling damage on Serb forces in Kosovo.”

(‘The Lingering Question’).

Tom Walker, countering the despicable Alastair Campbell, spin doctor-in-chief of Tony Blair, who in a recent speech accused a tiny section of the British bourgeois journalistic fraternity, for no other reason than that it did not ALWAYS go along with the NATO lie machine, of having metamorphosed into lackeys of the

“Serb lie machine”,

has this to say on this score:

“Another clear NATO lie is that somehow it steadily ‘degraded’ the Yugoslav military to the point where Mr Milosevic had to give in. As we have verified from the substantially undamaged army that retreated from Kosovo, this was not true: it was NATO’s systematic bombing of civilian targets – which I saw – that brought the Serbs to their knees.” (‘Why Mr Campbell is wrong – and offensive’,

The Times,

10 July 1999).

Mr Walker concludes his article by rebuking Campbell for revelling in dubious glory thus:

“Mr Campbell talked of the ‘magical moment’ he first set foot in Kosovo after what he calls a NATO victory. From wherever I have reported the conflict – Belgrade, Kosovo or Albania – it seems a strange kind of glory to revel in.”

Lie number three

One of NATO’s assertions was that it had to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign state, which had harmed no other country and presented no danger to its neighbours, because it was allegedly involved in ‘ethnic cleansing’ which NATO, being the purely ‘humanitarian’ organisation that it is, could not ignore. Now that the NATO ‘humanitarians’ are in occupation of Kosovo, the real ethnic cleansing is under way, with the Serbs being driven out by the KLA right under the noses of the NATO soldiers and the implicit approval of the NATO commanders and political spokesmen. The

Financial Times

of 19 June reported:

“Almost all Serbs have fled the western and southern border areas – the region of Metohija, and home to the most sacred of Orthodox monasteries. Italian troops in Pec and Germans in Prizren have made little attempt to disarm the KLA fighters, as laid down in the UN Security Council resolution that empowered Kfor.” (‘Illyria rises from Elysium’, Guy Dinmore).


“In the southern town of Urosevac, Greek peacekeepers and US troops of the 82


Airborne Division were unwilling to intervene to prevent the KLA taking over the hospital, post and communications office, bus depot and the former base of the Yugoslav army. The best they could do was to ensure that the several thousand Serbs left behind by the retreating forces departed alive.”


Financial Times

goes on to say that:

“Armed and uniformed KLA fighters roam the streets freely, their presence terrifying Serbs… Already NATO’s official line has shifted. Not all KLA are to be disarmed for the moment … that some KLA members will be integrated into a new Kosovo police force.”


Financial Times

predicts that within weeks, Kosovo will be

“ethnically pure”

apart from a few pockets.

In short, NATO is up to its neck in ethnic cleansing in the name of

“averting ethnic cleansing”

! This is not surprising in view of the fact that the same powers have already supervised the creation of an ethnically pure Croatia and something resembling that in Bosnia, where Muslims, Serbs and Croats have been neatly parcelled into their respective areas in what are simply and purely NATO protectorates run by their pro-consul, Carlos Westendorp, the High Representative, who dismisses at will elected representatives of the Serb people, replacing them with NATO nominees. A similar attempt is now under way to create a NATO protectorate in Kosovo. So much, then, for the notion, propagated by, among others, some ‘left’ leaning dullards, that NATO bombing was intended to promote Kosovar self-determination.

Lie number four

NATO claimed that its intervention was necessary in the interests of peace and stability in the Balkans. As a matter of fact, NATO’s brutal war has destabilised the region to an unprecedented degree, even by the standards of the Balkans, for it has whetted the appetite of the Albanians for a Greater Albania, with claims on a third of Macedonia and parts of Greece, which in turn is bound to provoke other ethnic groups into reviving old claims – Turks in Bulgaria, Hungarians in Romania and Vojvodina (northern Serbia), not to speak of the claims of Greece and Bulgaria on Macedonia. This provides an explosive mix for a general Balkans conflagration. And all this without taking into account the factor of Russian involvement.

Two questions

Presently two questions need to be asked and answered. First, has it been worth while for Yugoslavia to resist NATO’s onslaught for 11 weeks, and would it not have been better for her to have accepted the Rambouillet terms and avoid all the destruction to which she has been subjected? In our view, Yugoslavia was right to have resisted the imposition of the Rambouillet terms for the following reasons:

1. Acceptance of those terms would merely have delayed, not avoided, confrontation with NATO, for the Rambouillet terms were merely a prelude to further unreasonable terms;

2. The occupation of Kosovo under the UN Security resolution, which brought the present phase of the war to a close, will be under UN auspices rather than directly under NATO;

3. Kosovo is not only to remain part of Yugoslavia but also there is no provision for a referendum of Kosovo’s independence;

4. NATO is denied access to Serbia, its ports, airports, railways and telecommunications facilities;

5. Russians, much to the dislike of NATO, are part of the occupying force;

6. The Yugoslav regime remains in place, at least pro tem;

7. Last, but not least, Yugoslavia has gained considerable stature and moral prestige for its 11.-week resistance against heavy odds against such a mighty coalition as that represented by NATO.

The second question is: has NATO achieved all that it set out to accomplish? Although measured against its publicly-stated objectives – averting humanitarian catastrophe, etc – the campaign has been a dismal failure, one must ask to what extent it has been successful in achieving its real aim. This was to further extend NATO’s neo-colonial hold over the Balkans. On this score the campaign has achieved partial success, albeit at huge costs in view of the uncontrollable forces it has unleashed. Not only is the Balkans region once again the flashpoint for an explosion of nationalist conflicts, but NATO’s campaign has also served to sharpen inter-imperialist rivalry to a point unknown since the end of the Second World War.

Following the collapse of the USSR and the eastern bloc, the restoration of capitalism in these former lands of socialism, US imperialism outlined its objective – that of world domination – in remarkably clear terms in a policy document leaked to the

International Herald Tribune,

which the latter published on 9 March, 1993:

In a broad new policy statement the Defense Dept asserts that the US political and military mission in the post cold war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to

emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territory of the former Soviet Union.

“The draft takes the position ‘that no collection of nations can aspire to regional dominance because that would put them on the path to global rivalry with the American superpower’.

“The classified document makes the case for a world

dominated by one superpower.

“Implicitly the paper forsees building a world security arrangement that pre-empts Germany and Japan from pursuing a course of substantial rearmament in the future.

“The new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders ‘must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.’

“The document says ‘we must seek to prevent the emergence of Europe-only security arrangements which undermine NATO.’

“In the event of a resurgent threat from Russia, ‘we should plan to defend against such threat’ farther forward on the territories of Eastern Europe.”

The only problem with this is that neither Russia, nor Japan nor western Europe will accept the role assigned to each one of them by US imperialism. The Kosovo crisis has made this perfectly clear and served to spur the EU to push ahead with a common security and foreign policy, backed by a powerful military industrial complex [we request the reader to look for the article, entitled ‘The Military Strategy of British Imperialism’ in the next issue of Lalkar]. The US long ago ceased to be the locomotive of the world capitalist economy. Ever since the Vietnam war it has lived a truly parasitic existence by exacting tribute from abroad to compensate for its relative decline and subsidise its economy. Throughout the 1980s it was home to an inflow of $100bn a year from Japan – enormous sums which funded Reagan’s gigantic armaments programme. Without US military hegemony, Japan and the EU would see little in subsidising the US.

The campaign against Yugoslavia was the first-ever war fought by NATO, one of its purposes being to put into effect NATO’s new strategic doctrine, namely, to extend Nato’s field of operation to the whole of the ‘Euro-Atlantic Region’, taking in its sweep western Europe, eastern Europe and the countries of the erstwhile Soviet Union. And this means extension of NATO right up to the boundaries of Russia. That even the present capitulationist Yeltsin regime in Russia is unable to accept NATO’s plans is clear from the Russian opposition to the war against Yugoslavia, its insistence on a security council resolution and the entry of a UN, instead of a NATO, force to occupy Kosovo, and the headlong rush by 200 Russian troops, with heavy armour, from their bases in Bosnia to be the first to reach, and occupy, Pristina airport. This Russian action put a spanner in NATO’s works. To put a gloss on this uncomfortable and awkward reality, Doug Henderson, the British armed forces minister, said:

“This is not the Olympics and there are no medals for getting there first.”

But, as the

Sunday Times

of 13 June observed:

“Nobody was fooled

[by Henderson’s spin].

The Russian trumping of NATO was more than an embarrassment. It was a political coup that may sustain Milosevic in power and called into question the next phase of a campaign dogged by uncertainty. How will the Russians behave as part of the peacekeeping force? What comfort will the Serbs draw from their stance?

“The international peace-keeping force in Bosnia under NATO command is a loose affair. The Russian contingent submits reports and attends meetings, but is otherwise left much to its own devices. ‘It’s a fudged situation there’, admitted a defence official last week. ‘In Kosovo it is too public for that’.

“As Russia vies for its sphere of influence in Kosovo, NATO finds itself wrestling with an awkward bear. The peace may prove just as tricky as the war.”

Far from securing NATO domination, the Yugoslav war has brought into the equation forces which are bound to challenge and upset NATO’s plans. Not only has it sharpened the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations, who are the target of imperialist aggression and banditry, it has also brought to the fore the contradiction between the various imperialist powers who, while united in their common determination to exploit, oppress and suppress weak nations, are at the same time fighting each other like hell to grab the lion’s share of the loot. It is no exaggeration to say that the Yugoslav war may end up by being the second instalment, alongside the Gulf, in the unfolding saga of the third imperialist world war.

Losers and winners

The people, in the aggressor as well as victim countries, are the losers of this war. Tiny Yugoslavia has suffered war damage to the tune of £100 billion. It has cost the NATO imperialist countries upwards of £20 billion to bomb Yugoslavia to rubble – 14% of this cost is to be borne by Britain. All the imperialist governments are vying with each other to implement public spending cuts and reduce welfare benefits to the population. The British government has cut lone-parent benefits, has done away with free university tuition and abolished maintenance grants, and is in the process of depriving some of the disabled of their disability benefits. Yet is has no problem finding huge sums of money to finance imperialist ventures such as the war against Yugoslavia or Iraq. Likewise the US Congress has been cutting the welfare budget, but managed to grant the Clinton administration $12 billion, in addition to the Pentagon’s’ annual budget, as part of a $100 billion plan to boost military spending over the 6 years. Further spending to cover the cost of the Balkans war has since been authorised – all in the interests of monopoly capitalism.

Imperialist war, which brings death, destruction, tragedy and privation to ordinary people, is a source of huge profits to the robber barons of monopoly capitalism. While the attention of ordinary people is firmly fixed on the news from the battlefields during the war, the captains of industry and the kings of finance busy themselves uncorking champagne bottles and gloating at the prospect of the windfall profits they expect to reap during and in the aftermath of the war. For imperialism war is business just like any other. The genocidal war of aggression waged by the neo-Nazi NATO imperialists is no exception. Serious bourgeois commentators in quality imperialist organs (which are meant to inform the bourgeoisie, unlike the mass circulation dailies meant for misinforming the masses) with great aplomb and without the least sense of embarrassment, let alone shame, coolly and openly reveal the sectors of the economy in the leading imperialist countries likely to emerge as the real winners from the war.

Barely a month into the Balkans war, the

Sunday Times

of 19 April, with admirable candour, revealed the spoils, and the real winner, of the war in the imperialist camp. John Waples and Matthew Lynn, in their report, aptly named ‘The economics of the battleground’, comment upon the war economy thrown up by the Kosovo crisis, which produced a huge demand for a range of commodities – from the infrastructure of refugee camps to medicine and military hardware. After a decade of cuts in defence expenditure and seemingly relentless decline of the defence industries, there is a prospect of growth for them on the horizon. Say the authors of the report:

“Investors have seen what is happening on television. They have started buying the shares of the defence industry again, just as they did in the Gulf War and during the Falklands conflict.”

In substantiation the authors refer to the jump in share prices of the major producers of military hardware in Britain and the US, bringing into relief

“the spoils of war … being calculated in defence-industry boardrooms around the world”:

“The impact has already been evident in the performance of some leading players. Shares in British Aerospace, Britain’s top defence company, have risen from 410p, when the bombing began on March 24, to 464p. Shares in Alvis, the main British armoured-vehicle maker, have risen from 168p to 189p. And shares in Cobham, which specialises in air-to-air refuelling systems and military training, have jumped from 860p to 960p.

“The effect has been felt internationally. In America, which is providing the bulk of the hardware for the NATO strikes, Wall Street has begun focusing on the value of defence stocks. Shares in Boeing, the aerospace and military giant, have risen from $35 on March 14 to $41. Shares in Raytheon, which makes the cruise missiles that have been the most visible weapons of the war so far, have taken off faster than one of its own rockets – up from $53 when the first cruise headed for Belgrade to around $70 now.

“Only one month into the fiercest military conflict in Europe since 1945, the spoils of war are already being calculated in defence-industry boardrooms around the world. Before peace is restored to the Balkans, those profits could prove to be huge.” (‘Spoils of War’).

Pointing to the long-term implications of the Yugoslav war for the defence industry, Messrs Waples and Lynn make the observation that the

“scaling back of defence budgets in progress for the past decade could come to a stop as NATO increasingly takes on the role of global policeman, using force in a range of local conflicts across the globe. That will prove expensive. It may even mean that defence budgets start rising again.”

As if to underline, albeit without realising it, that imperialism is inseparable from incessant warfare, they go on to say:

“The conflict in Kosovo is only one of several potential battlegrounds around the world. War could also flare again at any time in Iraq or Korea.”

And further:

“A war in one part of the world also puts countries elsewhere on alert. Other countries in or near the Balkans such as Slovenia, the Czech and Slovak republics, Bulgaria and Romania are likely to be looking to their own defence forces and wondering what new equipment they need. In the next few years they could prove lucrative export markets, just as the Middle East went through a local arms race after the Gulf war.

Since America, Britain and France have the world’s biggest defence industries, they should capture the bulk of the orders.”

Six weeks after the appearance of the above

Sunday Times

article, the

Financial Times

, another representative spokesman of British financial capital, too, and with equally admirable candour, highlighted the real winners of the war, namely the manufacturers of the merchandise of death and their investors – the big banks and other financial institutions. Peter Thal Larsen, writing in the

Financial Times

of 1 June 1999 opens his article with this remarkably frank admission:

“Wars have always provided opportunities for the defence industry to make money. For most people, the conflict in Kosovo conjures up images of refugees huddling in make-shift camps or bombs exploding in the centre of Belgrade. For some fund managers, though, the conflict has also highlighted the attractions of shares in defence aerospace suppliers.”

One cannot be grateful enough for such an admission of such an obvious truth for the simple reason that it comes from a journalist with impeccable bourgeois credentials who cannot, therefore, be suspected harbouring an iota of sympathy for the Marxist Leninist thesis concerning imperialism and war. In the space of just three short sentences, Mr Larsen has torn away the mask of humanitarianism from the face of imperialism, and thus exposed the real hideous face of this monster – imperialism – which has for a whole century drenched humanity in blood in the pursuit of its never-ceasing chase after maximum profit.

Mr Larson goes on to name some of the armament manufacturers likely to benefit from the Balkans war, adding that the

“pick-up demand comes just as the commercial aerospace cycle, which has helped to drive profit growth over the past few years, reaches its peak,”

as Boeing of the US is planning to cut production of its civilian aircraft this year, and the production at Airbus, the European consortium, is likely to peak in the coming year. The increased demand for military aircraft, he forecasts, spells the end of years of cuts in defence expenditure.


Financial Times

of 16 June reported that the British trade and industry secretary, Stephen Byers, has set up a Kosovo Regeneration Taskforce, composed of officials from government ministries as well as the CBI and construction companies, in order to grab the lion’s share of the £7 billion reconstruction contracts expected to be awarded for making good the destruction and devastation caused by NATO bombardment in Kosovo alone.

“British hopes of participating in reconstruction,”

says the

Financial Times, “were given a head start yesterday as the government and private sector members of the taskforce shared intelligence on the situation in Kosovo”

(16 June 1999). John Battle, the industry minister, has called for detailed public and private co-operation as the key to success for British business in Kosovo. A better example of state monopoly capitalism, whereby the state not only becomes enmeshed with monopoly capital but also subordinated to the latter’s interests, would be hard to find. Further, first the destruction, and now the plans for reconstruction, of Kosovo remind one of the operations of the Mafia, with its demolition and construction departments: one department flattens places with bombs and dynamite and the other grabs the reconstruction contracts.

The same issue of the

Financial Times

also reports on the dogfight already under way between the various imperialist countries over the monopoly profits to be made out of the reconstruction of Kosovo.

“The US,”

says the

Financial Times, “is to demand a role for American companies in the rebuilding of Kosovo as European groups vie for contracts in the reconstruction of the Balkans.”

US Under-Secretary of Commerce, David Aaron, speaking before the House international committee, asserted that the US had

“earned the right to be full partners”

in bidding because it bore the greater share of the costs of the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.


The war against Yugoslavia has been a high-tech, high-altitude cowardly war, conducted with total disregard for human life and heartless cruelty. Every attempt has been made, the latest PR tricks pressed into service, to sanitise this bloody and filthy imperialist rape of a tiny country, during which the destruction of bridges, hospitals, factories and urban centres has been passed off as

“taking out an infrastructure element”,

the destruction of a television station as

“degrading military capacity”,

and the killing of hundreds of civilians is referred to as

“collateral damage” –

all in order to lull the audience into thinking that the war against Yugoslavia was just a nice little game (not filthy killing), some life-size computer game played on one’s personal computer or in one’s neighbourhood video-games parlour. It was a war fought by remote control, from far away. It has served to expose the immorality of the NATO cause. The wicked bombing, with its pointless killing and destruction, has made all talk of ‘humanitarian’ war sound not just in poor taste but grotesque. At the same time, be it said in passing, this war, fought with expensive and technologically-sophisticated weaponry, has revealed the Achilles heel of imperialism – its inability to get domestic support for an unjust land war, its fear of the imperialist soldiers returning in body bags. Herein lies the inherent strength of the world’s people and a sure guarantee of their ultimate victory over imperialism.

With the odd honourable exception, this war has revealed the moral depravity, political corruption, mercenary cynicism, and utter shamelessness of the bourgeois journalist fraternity, as well as the leadership of the so-called labour movement and most of what passes for the ‘left’ in this country. At best these gentry kept silent, at worst they acted as apologists and cheer leaders for NATO’s fascistic war. In view of this one cannot but salute the courage of conscientious journalists such as Robert Fisk, Simon Jenkins and Matthew Parris. The last-named, repelled by the lies told by Messrs Blair, Cook and Robertson, disgusted by the jingoist militarism of British imperialism, and nauseated by the

“sly pieties”

of official representatives, exposed the official lie machine in the following scathing terms:

“For the past 70 days, I have tasted the unfamiliar: emotionally on the outside of an imperial adventure, I have discovered how different is the view from beyond the stockade. I have listened to my country’s lies, evasions and propaganda; cringed at the sly pieties; detested the plays with words; shuddered at the jingoism; recoiled at the militarism; spotted the process of demonisation by which war-mongering leaders motivate the led; seen how morality, self-serving, follows chance; noted the ease with which a militant politico-cultural force finds a right to push forward its frontiers. Scales have fallen from my eyes.” (Daily Telegraph, 7 June 1999).

The above words of a conservative, but conscientious, journalist and political analyst put to shame the shameless fraternity of Livingstones, Shorts and a host of other careerists who are prepared to condone any crime so long as it serves their careers and protects the cushy niches they have carved for themselves.

Now that the bombing has stopped, the proletariat in every country must demand:

1. That the forces occupying Yugoslavia in the name of the UN vacate and leave it to the Yugoslav people to sort out their own internal affairs;

2. That those responsible for waging this war – Clinton, Albright, General Clark, Tony Blair, Robin Cook, George Robertson and their counterparts from the other NATO countries – be tried as war criminals:

“If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

(US Supreme Court Judge Robert Jackson, speaking at the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal in 1946).

The rules of criminal conduct that Judge Jackson spoke of ought, in all fairness, be invoked against the chief military and political leaders of the NATO alliance, who should be made to appear before an international tribunal of the Nuremberg type as the war criminals that they really are.

3. That the sovereignty of states be fully respected and imperialism’ attempt to rewrite the rules governing relations among states be vigorously resisted. In an interview with the

Independent on Sunday,

British foreign secretary, the despicable Robin Cook, justified NATO’s war and the violation of Yugoslav sovereignty by this scoundrelly argument:

“What this whole episode

[the war]

has thrown up is the unacceptability of governments using aggression against their own people


and then claiming sovereignty as a blanket protection for whatever they are going to do.”

He called for a new definition of a ‘just war’ and the rewriting of the UN Charter, which prohibits external interference in the internal affairs of states. As if to give expression to his predilection for sick jokes, Cook went on to declare that NATO was becoming a ‘major humanitarian agency’. Shorn of all euphemisms, what this scoundrel and servile lackey of imperialism is calling for is the untrammelled and unrestricted right of the war-mongering imperialist NATO alliance to intervene at any time in the internal affairs of other countries on the pretext of preventing ‘human rights abuses’. The community of nations will not accept this Hitlerian charter for world domination.

4. That NATO imperialists pay by way of reparations to Yugoslavia the sum of £100 billion to make good the damage caused by NATO bombing, to enable Yugoslavia’s shattered infrastructure and economy to be reconstructed.

We end this article by paying tribute to the resistance offered by tiny Yugoslavia to the armed might of the NATO neo-Nazi war machine, which had begun this war in the belief that a symbolic show of force and a whiff of aviation fuel would oblige the Yugoslav government and its people to surrender. Nothing of the kind happened and NATO only managed to extricate itself from the predicament of its own making thanks to the help it bought from the Russians. There are no laurels for NATO aggressors. All the honour belongs to the Yugoslav people who opted for heroic resistance instead of cowardly capitulation.