THE CASE FOR DISENGAGEMENT: Interview with Srdja Trifkovic

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Thu Sep 13 2001 - 09:12:40 MDT


BOWMAN: Our guest today is Srdja Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor of
Chronicles--a magazine published by The Rockford Institute. Dr. Trifkovic,
is there a link between this morning's news that a Russian airliner has been
hijacked in Turkey--apparently by two Chechens--and the ever escalating
fighting in the Balkans?

TRIFKOVIC: The common denominator is Islam. If you look at the map of the
world, wherever a nation that is historically Muslim meets members of other
cultures and other religions, whether it's the Catholics in the Philippines,
Hindus in the Indian Subcontinent, or Orthodox Christians in the Balkans or
in the Caucasus, you have friction, you have conflict, you have fighting.
Let's not forget Africa, where you have the bloodiest of all ethnic and
religious wars--that in southern Sudan, where up to five million Christians
have been slaughtered over the past decade. In some cases a young nation may
masquerade as being inspired by religion, whereas it is really driven by the
19th-century-style national romanticism and the desire to expand. This is
certainly the case with the Albanians. But we must not overlook the
inherently expansionist nature of Islam. It is not a "live-and-let-live"
religion. It is rather peculiar in that it postulates eventual conquest and
conversion of all non-believers as the duty and obligation of each and every
Muslim. Even when they talk of "co-existence" it is for tactical reasons
only, and not as strategic reconciliation with the neighbors who are

Q: So what should we do in Kosovo? Withdraw?

TRIFKOVIC: The involvement of the United States in the Balkans over the past
decade, that had unfortunately started in the last year of Bush-senior's
presidency, and then literally got out of control during the dreadful eight
years of Clinton, had nothing to do with the U.S. national interest, nothing
to do with peace in the Balkans, and nothing to do with stability in Europe.
It had everything to do with four different things. One was the desire to
continue the gradual encirclement of Russia that is always regarded by a
segment of the decision-making community in Washington as The Enemy. The
second ingredient was the desire of the Israeli amen-corner to throw the
Serbs to the Islamic wolves and thus to at least partially atone for more
than half-a-century of largely uncritical and axiomatic support for Israel
that came from Washington. The third ingredient was the increasing
importance of Turkey as the pillar of American regional strategy, and whose
importance has increased with the discovery of the Caspian oil. One way of
looking at the U.S. policy in the Balkans is as the Return of the Ottoman
Empire, and the discovery of the Islamic element there as the ally. In
Bosnia this was at the expense of the Serbs and Croats. In Kosovo, and in
what threatens to become the Greater Albania, at the expense of the Serbs,
Macedonians, and Greeks. The fourth ingredient, last but by no means least,
is the desire to use the Balkans as some kind of laboratory for
"multi-ethnic" experimentation. On the one hand the policy-makers say that
Yugoslavia was untenable because of the allegedly irreconcilable differences
among its constituent nations; but on the other hand some other multi-multi
hybrids are deemed eminently desirable and supportable, such as "Bosnia"
that is really the microcosm of Yugoslavia. There was a skewered
geopolitical logic in all this. The U.S. policy was deliberately aimed at
aggravating the situation in the Balkans, and preventing the peace in Bosnia
when it could have been achieved in 1992. This is a matter of historical
record, evidenced when the U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade, Warren Zimmerman,
intervened to sabotage, to torpedo, the agreement reached in Lisbon by the
European Union under Lord Carrington's chairmanship in February of '92. They
were driving the Balkan crisis in accordance with their agenda: to create as
many small, unviable, and inherently unstable entities--the Dayton Bosnia,
Kosovo under the international protectorate, "independent" Macedonia today
and "independent" Montenegro tomorrow, and then on to the "autonomous"
Sanjak, "cantonized" Vojvodina, and so on. These unstable and weak entities
will have only one thing in common: the demand for the continued presence of
the United States, of U.S. troops, of U.S. money, and U.S. political
influence, as the only bedrock of their existence. Everybody out there knows
that the very moment the so-called international community loses interest in
that part of the world, Bosnia will fall apart, Kosovo will revert to
Serbian sovereignty, and things will be very much the way they would have
been had there been no intervention from Washington. At the moment there isn
't a single interest the United States has in the Balkans that is worth the
bones of a single American soldier.

Q: But on the whole, are you optimistic about the U.S. foreign policy under

TRIFKOVIC: I am certainly more optimistic than I would have been had the
alternative prevailed last November. But the battle for Bush's ear is far
from over. There are some people on his team who give us some cause for
alarm who belong to the neoconservative cabal within the Administration--in
particular Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz. To
some extent Dick Cheney has also displayed certain tendencies typical of
that camp, but I believe that he is more cool-headed. Colin Powell sounds
and looks every inch a pragmatist, but the problem with him is the lack of a
fully developed and coherent world outlook; the same applies to Condoleezza
Rice. What I like about Bush is his essentially nativist skepticism about
the importance of foreign affairs. Washingtonian pundits like to make jokes
about his calling Greeks "Grecians" and talking about "East Timoreans." I
think this displays a rather healthy disdain for those far-away lands. The
President who is confused about those potential hotspots where someone else
might like to send a few squadrons of bombers, is also going to think twice
whether that is indeed worth doing. My own main concern is that Bush has
indicated more than once that he is prepared to let the experts run the show
and tell him what needs to be done abroad. That's why it is important to
select those experts wisely and to make sure that their world outlook and
their approach to foreign affairs is rooted in well defined, clearly
understood and pragmatic, empirically verifiable link between what they are
doing abroad and what they claim they are doing.

Q: How about Chronicles--how successful are you in presenting this point of

TRIFKOVIC: In terms of the quality of its writing, and in its cultivation of
the form of elegant and somewhat idiosyncratic essay, it is truly unique. It
is also unique in its defense of the legacy of our civilization against the
onslaught of one-worldism, multiculturalism, and political correctitude that
threaten to destroy all that we hold dear. Some would call Chronicles
"paleoconservative"--but I don't think that any "ism" adequately describes
what I would say is the normal, sane outlook. Unless we uphold the value of
tradition, and of real communities of people who are related to each other
culturally and even genetically, we are entering the brave new world of
atomized individuals in which no real culture will be possible, and no
liberty will be feasible.

Q: You are staging a panel about Bush's foreign policy at The Rockford
Institute next Friday. Will these be some of your areas of concern?

TRIFKOVIC: We will not be philosophizing on the meaning of history and the
future of the Western civilization. We'll talk about very specific,
down-to-earth issues, such as the National Missile Defense project, the
relations with China, Russia, and the European allies, and also some of the
issues we've discussed earlier, the disengagement from the Balkans--or, more
precisely, the originally promised disengagement that now seems to be under
something of a question mark.

Q: Will you focus on the dangers of the United Nations?

TRIFKOVIC: The problem is not so much the U.N. per se. It is an inherently
weak organization, in that it is only as "strong" as the key players want it
to be. The problem is that the proponents of the One World paradigm, the
globalists of different colors and persuasions, have used the U.N. as a
means of building institutions that might ultimately acquire a momentum of
their own. A prime example is the so-called International Criminal Court,
the ICC. That's why The Hague Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is such a
dangerous institution, and such an important precedent. Once you accept the
principle of trans-national judicial instruments as legal and legitimate,
you'll end up with international bodies that can override national
traditions and national sovereignties. Instead of preventing genocide, the
ICC--if established--will guarantee that those who run the show will be able
to go around the world bombing people at will, intervening with impunity,
and having a pseudo-legal cover for whatever they are doing. It is important
to warn ordinary Americans against such quasi-idealistic projects.

Copyright 2001,

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