On the First Amendment front lines in Lafayette Park we are privileged to witness a daily stream of supplicants bringing their pleas to the White House, the seat of World Domination. Thus, regarding the present Serbian/Albanian/Kosovar disturbance, in Lafayette Park we've had an opportunity to listen to both sides in the field.


If there is one thing which President Clinton, Serbian President Milosevic, as well as the head of every NATO member-state agree upon, it is the concept of national sovereignty. Moreover, each of the aforementioned heads of state also pays lip service to "the rule of law." In fact, the UN Charter, an act of "International Law" to which the USA, Serbia, and all NATO members are signatory, provides that "The (UN) is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members." Under these universally-accepted political fictions, a sovereign nation is a free, independent entity entitled to administer the territory within its domestic control. Thus, from the perspective of people who subscribe to the political fiction of the nation state, determining who the real Nazis are must begin from the question: "Who is the actual aggressor upon whose national sovereignty?"

On the other hand, "fighting words," in a legal sense, refers to language intended to incite violence. Today US news media reports are using "Hitler," "Nazi," "genocide," "ethnic cleansing," and "free Kosovo" as fighting words. Meanwhile, news media in Serbia and many other countries are likening US President Clinton to "Hitler," referring to NATO as the "Nazi American Terrorist Organization," and claiming that NATO military actions against Serbia have nothing to do with a "free Kosovo," but are actually genocide as a means of ethnic cleansing intended to subjugate Europe to the economic interests of the United States.

Two Illustrative Examples of Sovereign States

       Figure 1                       Figure 2

Figure 1 depicts the sovereign state known as USA, the black lines represent domestic political fictions known as the "various separate states." Together, these various domestic states form the the greater national sovereign state. The lines separating the USA from the sovereign states of Mexico and Canada represent the demarcation points between "the rule of law" of each sovereign state. In the case of the USA there is (1) Federal Law [operating under authority of the U.S. Constitution], which regulates the entire sovereign state, and (2) State Law, which is subservient to Federal Law, but which regulates the territory within each of the separate domestic states.

Similarly, in Figure 2 the red line depicts the territorial area which is internationally recognized as the sovereign state of Serbia. As with the USA, Serbia is composed of various separate states, highlighted in yellow and orange. As in the USA, while maintaining a certain degree of autonomy, the various separate Serbian states are ultimately ruled by provisions of the Serbian Constitution.

For a thousand years Serbians have considered the territory of Kosovo to be the cradle of Serbian culture, oriented toward the Greek Orthodox Church. In the late 14th century armies of the Ottoman Turk empire, oriented toward Islam, defeated Serbian forces at the Battle of Pristina. Nontheless, Serbs continued to comprise the majority of the Kosovar population ... until after World War II, when Albanians seeking a better life began streaming northward into Kosovo.

Since the breakup of Yugoslavia into the separate sovereign states of Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro, age-old Albanian/Serbian ethnic unrest has resurfaced in Kosovo. Albanians, with an average of seven children per marriage, versus two per Serbian marriage, have become a majority of the population. Because they were the minority, Serbian Kosovars suffered the brunt of Albanian Kosovar persecution, with instances of deadly violence and forced removal from their homes. Anti-Serb persecution was mainly carried out by a loose confederation of armed Albanian groups calling itself the "Kosovan Liberation Army" (KLA).

After Serbian Kosovars complained to the federal government about their treatment at the hands of the KLA, the Serbian government declared the KLA to be "terrorists," and increased its police forces in Kosovo. As the KLA escalated its campaign to secede from Serbia, Serbia deployed military troops to the area.

In contrast, as can be seen from Figure 1, the USA wasn't always all the territory it is today. For example California, Arizona, Nevada, and most of Colorado, New Mexico and Texas were taken by military force from Mexico or Native Americans.

Although there has always been a considerable Mexican population, lately northward migration has increased the number of Mexicans living in California. It is estimated that Mexicans will be the majority in California sometime in the not so distant future. Imagine that, angered by perceptions of economic, police, and linguistic oppression, the Latino majority decides that they want to be recognized as "Mexicans," and demand "freedom for California." As evidenced by its Civil War, US history teaches that the federal government will use sufficient deadly force to "protect the Union." Given those considerations, it is reasonable to assume that the US government would not permit a simple state majority of Latinos to secede California from the Union.

As can be seen in a comparison of Figures 1 & 2, the US state of California abuts the foreign sovereign state of Mexico, much as the Serbian state of Kosovo abuts the foreign sovereign state of Albania. By way of analogy, let's hypothesize that elements of the Latino majority of California, disgruntled by the Federal refusal to concede an independent sovereign state of "California," organize a Californian Liberation Army (CLA) to "fight" for the "liberation of California." The CLA will be working on a shoestring budget, therefore, CLA actions are likely to be low cost bombings, attacks on police officers and the like, because that's about all terrorists can afford.

Unfortunately, when sovereign states are forced to confront terrorism, things tend to get messy. How would the peace-loving, democratic government of the USA meet a campaign of CLA terrorism? Perhaps it would begin with local law enforcement agencies, as with MOVE in Philadelphia, 1984. Probably, once the insurrection proved beyond control of local forces, the government would escalate, first sending in crack ATF and FBI SWAT teams, as in Wounded Knee (Native Americans), Waco ("extremist" Christians), or Ruby Ridge. Finally, if absolutely necessary, the national guard, Delta Force, attack helicopters, and military hardware sufficient to quell the disturbance would be deployed. Although those tactics are essentially the same as those used by the Serbian government in Kosovo, it is unlikely that if confronted by a CLA uprising in California the US would welcome NATO airstrikes on Washington, DC, or Sacramento.


Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines "genocide" as "the use of deliberate, systematic measures toward the extermination of a racial, political, or cultural group." Genocide was an apt description of the Hutu/Tutsi conflicts in Rwanda, where hundreds of thousands were killed, but, of course, NATO did nothing to resolve that disagreement.

Notwithstanding the fact that both Serbian and KLA fighters have been involved in the killing of military and civilian opponents, simply because not enough people have died, the word "genocide" is not an appropriate description of either Serbian nor Albanian actions in Kosovo. Many Serbians claim that NATO's deliberate, systematic bombing of both Serbia and Kosovo qualifies as an act of genocide, particularly if NATO is using depleted uranium weapons. NATO probably disagrees with that assessment.


Comparing the Albanians bent on seceding from Serbia to the hypothetical revolt of Mexicans in California, one can only expect that at the "peace talks," the US government would take a position to the effect, "Sure, you're free to be Mexicans, but if you want to be Mexicans you have to go across the line into Mexico, but you have to leave California here, because California is US territory."

Maybe the CLA would not accept the US offer to let them return to Mexico in peace. Perhaps the CLA would insist that California was "Mexican," and that they were committed to a "Free California." In that event, perhaps, rather than just killing any Californian who no longer wished to be a US citizen, the US would be pursuing a more humanitarian solution by just giving them free transportation to Mexico. Certainly, such a "humanitarian" solution might be protrayed as "ethnic cleansing."

Absent any clear examples of "genocide," in the present Serbian/Albanian conflict, the most terrible accusation is "ethnic cleansing" -- wherein the Serbians are putting dissatisfied Albanians on trains to Albania. One Serbian wag asked, "Would you rather have them walk?"


An impartial assessment of the NATO/Serb/Kosovar conflict

To emphasize the impartiality of these observations on the NATO/Serbia/Kosovar conflict, the author hereby declares a firm personal commitment to the belief that the world would be a much more pleasant place if humanity would abandon its faith in the political fiction of national boundaries, and purge itself of any notion that military and/or police force might be a "good" idea. This assessment begins from the premises that all human beings are members of the human race, and concepts of ethnicity are merely shortsighted, ego-centric misperceptions of reality. This declaration is necessary to insure that the reader does not confuse "national sovereignty," "military and/or police action," or "ethnic superiority" as concepts endorsed by the author.

Thomas, April 8, 1999, Peace Park

Other Kosovo Demonstrations