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The Yugoslav Wars: Biden’s Belligerent Militarism Revisited

By Nauman Sadiq | Global Research | October 11, 2020

Ironically, while three US presidents have been accused of impeaching the Constitution for relatively minor offenses, including Bill Clinton for perjury and Donald Trump for using political influence to discredit opponents, no US president has ever been charged, let alone convicted, of waging devastating wars of aggression.

Unless impeachment proceedings are initiated against war criminals, including George Bush and Dick Cheney for invading Afghanistan and Iraq and Barack Obama and Joe Biden for waging proxy wars in Libya and Syria, the impeachment provisions in the US Constitution would serve as nothing more than a convenient tool for settling political scores.

The fact is not only the domestic law enforcement and judicial systems of the Western powers but also international institutions, such as International Criminal Court, have been used as tools of perception management for solely prosecuting alleged “war criminals” of former Yugoslavia and impoverished African nations and real war criminals have never been prosecuted for the crimes of destroying entire nations with their militarism and interventionism.

Before being elected as Obama’s vice president in 2008, as a longtime senator from Delaware and subsequently as the member and then the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden, alongside inveterate hawk Senator Joe Lieberman, was one of the principal architects of the Bosnia War in the Clinton administration in the nineties.

Reflecting on first black American president Barack Obama’s memorable 2008 presidential campaign, with little-known senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, as his running-mate, Glenn Kessler wrote for the Washington Post [1] in October 2008:

“The moment when Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. looked Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in the eye and called him a ‘damned war criminal’ has become the stuff of campaign legend.

“The Democratic vice presidential nominee brings up the 1993 confrontation on the campaign trial to whoops of delight from supporters. Senator Barack Obama mentioned it when he announced he had chosen Biden as his running mate.

“During vice presidential debate with his counterpart on the Republican ticket, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Biden twice gave himself credit for shifting US policy on Bosnia. The senator from Delaware declared that he ‘was the catalyst to change the circumstance in Bosnia led by President Clinton.’ At another point he noted: ‘My recommendations on Bosnia — I admit I was the first one to recommend it. They saved tens of thousands of lives.’”

Instead of “saving tens of thousands of lives,” the devastating Yugoslav Wars in the nineties in the aftermath of the break-up of the former Soviet Union and then the former Yugoslavia claimed over 130,000 fatalities, created a humanitarian crisis and unleashed a flood of millions of refugees for which nobody is to blame but the Clinton administration’s militarist policy of subjugating and forcibly integrating East European states into the Western capitalist bloc.

Regarding Washington’s modus operandi of waging proxy wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, since the times of the Soviet-Afghan jihad during the eighties, it has been the fail-safe game plan of master strategists at NATO to raise money [2] from the oil-rich emirates of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait; then buy billions of dollars’ worth of weapons from the arms markets [3] in the Eastern Europe; and then provide those weapons and guerilla warfare training to the disaffected population of the victim country by using the intelligence agencies of the latter’s regional adversaries. Whether it’s Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Libya or Syria, the same playbook was executed to the letter.

Raising funds for proxy wars from the Gulf Arab States allows the Western executives the freedom to evade congressional scrutiny; the benefit of buying weapons from unregulated arms markets of the Eastern Europe is that such weapons cannot be traced back to the Western capitals; and using jihadist proxies to achieve strategic objectives has the advantage of taking the plea of “plausible deniability” if the strategy backfires, which it often does. Remember that al-Qaeda and Taliban were the by-products of the Soviet-Afghan jihad, and the Islamic State and its global network of terrorists were the blowback of the proxy war in Syria.

Nevertheless, smugly oblivious to the death and destruction caused by Washington’s global domination agenda, national security shill Glenn Kessler further noted in the aforementioned Washington Post article:

“Biden focused on deficiencies in US policy toward Bosnia, he called for NATO expansion before it became fashionable and most recently prodded the Bush administration to back a $1 billion package to rebuild Georgia after the Russian invasion.

“As the incident with Milosevic shows, Biden is hardly shy about emphasizing his own role in world affairs. Biden’s book portrays him frequently confronting Clinton and bucking him up on Bosnia when the president had doubts about his own policy. But the hard legislative work was left to others. Biden did take an early stab at prodding action, writing an amendment in 1992 — opposed by George H.W. Bush’s administration — that authorized spending $50 million to arm the Bosnian Muslims.

“In April 1993, Biden spent a week traveling in the Balkans, meeting with key officials, including a three-hour session with Milosevic. The trip was detailed in 15 pages of the senator’s autobiography.

“By all accounts, the meeting was tense. Milosevic spent a lot of time poring over maps and expressing concerns with peace proposals crafted by a group of international mediators. Milosevic denied he had much influence over the Bosnian Serbs, but then immediately summoned Radovan Karadzic, their leader, with a curt phone call.

“According to Biden’s book, Milosevic asked the senator what he thought of him. ‘I think you’re a damn war criminal and you should be tried as one,’ Biden said he shot back. Milosevic, he said, did not react.

“Upon his return to the United States, Biden issued a 36-page report on the trip, laying out eight policy proposals, including airstrikes on Serb artillery and lifting the arms embargo on Bosnian Muslims.

“Biden continued to make fiery statements on Bosnia, demanding action. Richard C. Holbrooke recalled that when he was nominated as assistant secretary of state for Europe in late 1994, Biden ‘in no uncertain terms made it clear to me that the policy on Bosnia had to change and he would make sure it did. He believed in action, and history proved him right.’

“’When you look back, Senator Biden got Bosnia right earlier than anyone. He understood that a combination of force and diplomacy would revive American leadership and avoid a disaster in Europe,’ said James P. Rubin, a Biden aide at the time who later became spokesman for Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.”

It’s pertinent to mention that though touted as a “collective defense pact,” the trans-Atlantic military alliance NATO and its corollary economic alliance European Union were conceived during the Cold War to offset political and economic influence of the former Soviet Union which was geographically adjacent to Europe.

Historically, the NATO military alliance at least ostensibly was conceived as a defensive alliance in 1949 during the Cold War in order to offset conventional warfare superiority of the former Soviet Union. The US forged collective defense pact with the Western European nations after the Soviet Union reached the threshold to build its first atomic bomb in 1949 and achieved nuclear parity with the US.

But the trans-Atlantic military alliance has outlived its purpose following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and is now being used as an aggressive and expansionist military alliance meant to browbeat and coerce the Central and Eastern European states to join NATO and its corollary economic alliance, the European Union, or risk international isolation.

It was not a coincidence that the Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991 and the Maastricht Treaty that consolidated the European Community and laid the groundwork for the European Union was signed in February 1992.

The basic purpose of the EU has been nothing more than to entice the former communist states of the Eastern and Central Europe into the folds of the Western capitalist bloc by offering financial incentives and inducements, particularly in the form of foreign direct investment and grants and loans to the tune of billions of dollars, and by abolishing internal border checks in the common European market, allowing free movement of workers from Eastern European nations seeking employment in prosperous Western European economies.

Naively giving credit to former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden for his supposed “humanitarian interventionism” and for creating a catastrophe in the Balkans in the nineties, Paul Richter and Noam N. Levey, writing for the LA Times [4] in August 2008, observed:

“Biden has frequently favored humanitarian interventions abroad and was an early and influential advocate for the US military action in the Balkans in the 1990s.

“Biden considers his most important foreign policy accomplishment to be his leadership on the Balkans in the mid-1990s. He pushed a reluctant Clinton administration first to arm Serbian Muslims and then to use U.S. air power to suppress conflict in Serbia and Kosovo.

“In his book, ‘Promises to Keep,’ Biden calls this one of his two ‘proudest moments in public life,’ along with the Violence Against Women Act that he championed.

“In 1998, he worked with McCain on a resolution to push the Clinton administration to use all available force to confront Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, a move designed to force the president to use ground troops if necessary against Serb forces in the former Yugoslavia, which was beset by fighting and ethnic cleansing.

“In addition, Biden, who claims close relationships with many foreign leaders, has demonstrated a readiness to cooperate with Senate Republicans in search of compromise — a trait that meshes with Obama’s pledge to reduce the level of partisan conflict and stalemate in Washington.

“He has called his new adversary, presumed Republican presidential nominee in the 2008 elections, Senator John McCain of Arizona, a ‘personal and close friend.’”

Birds of a feather flock together. Not only did Joe Biden collaborate with Joe Lieberman in the Clinton administration to create a humanitarian crisis in the Balkans in the nineties but he also shared the hawkish ideology of late Senator John McCain.

Though a decorated Vietnam War veteran who died battling cancer in 2018, McCain was a highly polarizing figure as a senator and was regarded by many Leftists as an inveterate neocon hawk, who vociferously exhorted Western military interventions not only in the Balkans in the nineties but also in Libya and Syria in 2011.

McCain was a vocal supporter of the 2011 military intervention in Libya. In April 2011, he visited the anti-Gaddafi forces and National Transitional Council in eastern Libyan city Benghazi, the highest-ranking American to do so, and said that the rebel forces were “my heroes.”

Regarding Syria’s proxy war that began in 2011, McCain repeatedly argued for the US intervening militarily in the conflict on the side of the anti-government forces. He staged a visit to rebel forces inside Syria in May 2013, the first senator to do so, and called for arming the Free Syrian Army with heavy weapons and for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria.

Following reports that two of the terrorists he posed for pictures with had been responsible for the kidnapping of eleven Lebanese Shia pilgrims the year before, McCain disputed one of the identifications and said he had not met directly with the other.

In the aftermath of a false-flag chemical weapons attack in Ghouta in 2013, McCain vehemently argued for strong American military action against the government of Bashar al-Assad, and in September 2013, cast a Foreign Relations Committee vote in favor of then-President Obama’s request to Congress that it authorize a military response, though the crisis was amicably resolved after seasoned Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov staged a diplomatic coup by persuading Damascus to ship its alleged chemical weapons stockpiles out of Syria under Russian supervision.

***

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

Notes

[1] Biden Played Second Fiddle to Joe Lieberman in Bosnia Legislation:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/06/AR2008100602681.html

[2] U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/world/middleeast/us-relies-heavily-on-saudi-money-to-support-syrian-rebels.html

[3] Billions of dollars weapons flowing from Eastern Europe to Middle East.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/27/weapons-flowing-eastern-europe-middle-east-revealed-arms-trade-syria

[4] On foreign policy, he’s willing to go his own way:

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2008-aug-24-na-foreignpol24-story.html

October 12, 2020 - Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , ,

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