TV reports show each day something incomprehensible. World richest nations joined efforts once again for destroying economy of underdeveloped and uncivilized in their perception country.
Reports on that undeclared war look exactly as the history of privatization in Eastern Europe. The difference is that instead of acquired by multinationals enterprises they cite destroyed. All industries with low capital requirements, which produce high margin products, traditionally are expansion targets for multinationals, with US and Western European roots - Procter&Gamble, Shell, Philip Morris. Such industries in Eastern Europe are mostly controlled now by Western powers, with old facilities destroyed and replaced with new, covering needs of few countries. Now such enterprises in Yugoslavia are the targets for American military strikes - tobacco factories, TV and radio, home appliances, pharmaceuticals, detergent and other chemicals production facilities. It looks that independent and growing economy was the biggest Serb's sin.
I think Russians couldn't understand reasons, why for saving democratic and humane values, developed nations destroyed wealth of poor nation, the hard-earned national capital. But one couldn't blame American stupidity or cruelty. USA is a big country with developed economy and complicated social and political structure, where everyone in business and politics specializes in certain area and has to rely on others' professionalism. Businesses enjoy better quality of the labor force, and competing approaches and concepts flourish in private economy. Government agencies are monopolists in some sense, whose decision-making process is influenced often by incompetent and unprofessional personnel, and it is especially true regarding Eastern European departments.
American establishment experience troubles with staffing the diplomatic offices for a long time. Number of Americans learning Eastern European languages and the region is decreasing for decades. Moreover, choosing the career in government never was the most attractive for the brightest young professionals. Everyone in the government office has to adjust his or her desire to live on the taxpayers' money to everyone and be ready for limited opportunities and strict control. As a result, most of people who work for government agencies are those, who couldn't compete for corporate positions.
In that situation, many of politicians and experts, who provide their estimates, recommendations and prognoses, were recruited from immigrants, who's competence in language and cultural issues are unmatched compare to general low level. One should not forget that many of them arrived in US as 'political refugees', with the only skill - negligence and hatred towards their former countries. Some of them reach high levels in government, just recall Mr. Bzhezinsky or Mrs. Albright stories. It is clear that using such a staff, the foreign policy makes itself exposed to 'special interests' influence.
Biased and incompetent opinions of professional emigrants often caused major faults in the US foreign policy. Cuban emigrants had already predicted anti-Castro upheavals, the Iraqies - anti-Saddam's. Now the new case - Miloshevich. Having provoked with bombing Albanian separatist's army fighting, NATO also provoked thousands of Kosovars to flee in hope to obtain refugee status in Western Europe, and the refugees are ready to provide terrible stories and are paying hundreds of dollars of bribes for the opportunity to move to Western Europe. I think that all NATO's forces would be not able to bring them back to Kosovo.
The style of thinking that often created troubles for Americans is quite simple: demands along with credible threats. If they fail once to fulfil the threats, they couldn't use them anymore. Thus, every operation is escalation of threats and demands, but this tactic ("Send a clear message...") was never productive in foreign policy. USA was successful in conflicts with small nations, as Panama, simply canceling US visas to dictator's relatives or freezing banks' accounts in USA. That simple approach won't work with Yugoslavia, which lost over a quarter of its population in each of World Wars, and almost no one in State Department can come up with something more sophisticated.
The American movie industry familiarized the entire world with such ways of thinking. May be American diplomacy is specially adjusted to Americans, which are brought up on comics books and movies, assuring support for the global police operations. Having superficial historical and geographical education, avoiding studying details, most of Americans receive information from short news stories about dictators and threats to democracy. They think that the war is a fight of cute Superman in red briefs with laser sword against someone in black on the top of skyscraper, in the computer game style. The victory brings the instant peace and total appreciation of American values worldwide, especially American goods.
Also, everyone could be assured on intentions of American diplomacy, or bombomacy to be more precise, which is always, with the first signs of resisting to the interests of Western economy, ready to send bombers from democratic nations and bomb with a good will whatever they want. Even though their high precision weapons miss occasionally the targeted country.
* Adopted translation from Russian.
Copyright (c)1999 Andrei Marchak.
Published in FORUM.RU http://www.forum.msk.ru/ June 3,1999.
All right reserved. No part of this text could be reproduced without author's permission.
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