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Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions

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Military interventions on supposedly humanitarian grounds have become an established feature of the post-Cold War global order. Since September 11, this form of militarism has taken on new and unpredictable proportions. Diana Johnstone's well-documented study demonstrates that a crucial moment in establishing in the public mind - and above all, within the political context Military interventions on supposedly humanitarian grounds have become an established feature of the post-Cold War global order. Since September 11, this form of militarism has taken on new and unpredictable proportions. Diana Johnstone's well-documented study demonstrates that a crucial moment in establishing in the public mind - and above all, within the political context of liberalism and the left - the legitimacy of such interventions was the "humanitarian" bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1999. In the course of the civil wars that led to the break-up of Yugoslavia, a complex history came to be presented as a morality play in which the parts were scripted to meet the moral needs of the capitalist West. The identification of Muslims as defenseless victims and Serbs as genocidal monsters inflamed fears and hatreds within Yugoslavia, and prepared the way for power to be shifted from the people of the region to such international agencies as NATO. Fools' Crusade tests the popular myths against the reality of Yugoslav history. Johnstone identifies the common geopolitical interests running through such military interventions, and argues persuasively that they create problems rather than solving them. She shows that the "Kosovo war" was in reality the model for future destruction of countries seen as potential threats to the hegemony of an "international community" currently being redefined to exclude or marginalize all but those who conform to the interests of the United States. A concluding chapter shows how the script prepared for Yugoslavia is being re-enacted in Afghanistan. Whether Milosevic's trial before the International Court at the Hague or the capture of bin Laden will provide an adequate conclusion to this ideological play-making, remains an open question.


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Military interventions on supposedly humanitarian grounds have become an established feature of the post-Cold War global order. Since September 11, this form of militarism has taken on new and unpredictable proportions. Diana Johnstone's well-documented study demonstrates that a crucial moment in establishing in the public mind - and above all, within the political context Military interventions on supposedly humanitarian grounds have become an established feature of the post-Cold War global order. Since September 11, this form of militarism has taken on new and unpredictable proportions. Diana Johnstone's well-documented study demonstrates that a crucial moment in establishing in the public mind - and above all, within the political context of liberalism and the left - the legitimacy of such interventions was the "humanitarian" bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1999. In the course of the civil wars that led to the break-up of Yugoslavia, a complex history came to be presented as a morality play in which the parts were scripted to meet the moral needs of the capitalist West. The identification of Muslims as defenseless victims and Serbs as genocidal monsters inflamed fears and hatreds within Yugoslavia, and prepared the way for power to be shifted from the people of the region to such international agencies as NATO. Fools' Crusade tests the popular myths against the reality of Yugoslav history. Johnstone identifies the common geopolitical interests running through such military interventions, and argues persuasively that they create problems rather than solving them. She shows that the "Kosovo war" was in reality the model for future destruction of countries seen as potential threats to the hegemony of an "international community" currently being redefined to exclude or marginalize all but those who conform to the interests of the United States. A concluding chapter shows how the script prepared for Yugoslavia is being re-enacted in Afghanistan. Whether Milosevic's trial before the International Court at the Hague or the capture of bin Laden will provide an adequate conclusion to this ideological play-making, remains an open question.

30 review for Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions

  1. 4 out of 5

    David M

    The unilateral procedures adopted by NATO for Yugoslavia amounted to asserting a Western monopoly on determining what is a "humanitarian catastrophe" and what should be done about it. A genuine, unquestioned humanitarian emergency could be dealt with legally through the United Nations. In contrast, where real or potential rebel groups are made to understand that Great Powers can arbitrarily decide to intervene on the basis of a "humanitarian catastrophe," the incentive becomes enormous to manufa The unilateral procedures adopted by NATO for Yugoslavia amounted to asserting a Western monopoly on determining what is a "humanitarian catastrophe" and what should be done about it. A genuine, unquestioned humanitarian emergency could be dealt with legally through the United Nations. In contrast, where real or potential rebel groups are made to understand that Great Powers can arbitrarily decide to intervene on the basis of a "humanitarian catastrophe," the incentive becomes enormous to manufacture just such a catastrophe, or the appearance of such a catastrophe.- pp 261 This seems like the book Nobel laureate Peter Handke would have written if he had any skill at making an argument (as opposed to poetic rambling). In every war there are real atrocities as well as fake or propagandized one. In some wars, it becomes taboo to even try and critically asses the difference. When it came to the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia, the western liberal intelligentsia settled on a simplistic framework in which the Serbs were the villains and Milosevic the new Hitler. Diana Johnstone ably punches holes in this official narrative and show whose interests it served. A rigorous and provocative book which obviously took courage to write. ... The book paints a highly unflattering portrait of Sloven intellectuals in the lead up to secession. Slovene nationalism was an invisible nationalism in that it spoke the language of "universal" (ie, Western European) values, liberalism, anti-militarism, human rights; however, the real purpose of Slovene independence was to join the rich man's club of the EU and leave their poorer Slav brethren behind. The anti-militarism of Slovene intellectuals was quite selective; it meant rejecting the Yugoslav People's Army but eagerly joining NATO. Moreover, their human rights advocacy involved championing the downtrodden of Kosovo in the theory while also seceding so as not to have the tax burden of developing this poorer part of Yugoslavia. For myself, I have to say reading this made me wonder if I can still respect Slavoj Zizek. Slovene secession pushed the rest of Yugoslavia into the abyss. Zizek supported it and then proceeded to blame everything on the Serbs, like a good European bourgeois.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christina Spivak

    While this book is quite spot on with many of the issues in the Balkans, she still it slightly incorrect about some of the facts. But that is to be expected as most of the facts are hard to get and fully understand unless you are fluent in Serbian and know where to look. All in all, a great read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    A fully sourced and accurate account of US aggression against the former FRY. Necessary.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alan Ireland

    Excellent. Everyone who wants to understand the US modus operandi, as it seeks global dominance, should read this book. Johnstone is one of the best - if not the best - commentators on current affairs. Never assume that, because you have done "nothing wrong", the US will leave you alone. It's your potential to impede the US advance that concerns the arrogant leaders of the "exceptional" nation. So any country that pursues an independent foreign policy, which implicitly challenges US hegemony, is Excellent. Everyone who wants to understand the US modus operandi, as it seeks global dominance, should read this book. Johnstone is one of the best - if not the best - commentators on current affairs. Never assume that, because you have done "nothing wrong", the US will leave you alone. It's your potential to impede the US advance that concerns the arrogant leaders of the "exceptional" nation. So any country that pursues an independent foreign policy, which implicitly challenges US hegemony, is likely to be targeted for dismemberment and/or "regime change". In other words, what was done to Yugoslavia is what the US would like to do to Russia and China. (The US-engineered fascist coup in Ukraine should be seen, in this context, as the opening shot.)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Sultan

    If you really want to know what our foreign policy is about please read this book. Diane Johnstone is an excellent investigative reporter. She refuses to comply with main stream media "rules" and instead insists on truthful reporting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rob Prince

    So... you think you know what happened as Yugoslavia imploded in the 1990s? If you got your information and insights from the mainstream media which portrayed the Serbs as something akin to Nazis and Milosevic as akin to Hitler, and has treated the Bosnian Muslims and Croatians as poor undeserving victims ... then you swallowed the cool aid. I know I did or a good part of it. But there were always these nagging bits of information... like - the Bosnian Muslims recruited Al Qaeda types fresh from A So... you think you know what happened as Yugoslavia imploded in the 1990s? If you got your information and insights from the mainstream media which portrayed the Serbs as something akin to Nazis and Milosevic as akin to Hitler, and has treated the Bosnian Muslims and Croatians as poor undeserving victims ... then you swallowed the cool aid. I know I did or a good part of it. But there were always these nagging bits of information... like - the Bosnian Muslims recruited Al Qaeda types fresh from Afghanistan - not exactly freedom fighters for a multi-cultural Bosnia - but fascist thugs who since have been shipped far and wide - Chechniya, Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Xighur regions of China. Maybe the Bosnian Muslims weren't so inncoent nor so progressive" - that from the very beginning the Croats, Tudman and co. had their own brand of extreme bigoted ethnic nationalism, reviving the war crimes of the Ustasi elements who made up a large portion of their base. How come we never heard about Croatian war crimes - or hardly, back in those days? - Never could quite believe that the likes of Bill Clinton and Madelaine Albright - who were bombing the heck out of Iraq at the time, imposing those sanctions that killed half a million Iraqi children that Albright defended - couldn't believe that that Administration would support a legitimate war of liberation. - Over the years I have come to conclude it was all a kind of demented experiment for what the U.S. would do in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan - or try to - to pulverize and partition states that for one reason or another it opposed either for geo-strategic reasons, or because Israel didn't like them. The dismemberment of Yugoslavia was the dry run for what followed in the Middle East, what Clinton would have liked to have done to Russia - tried and failed - and what's in Washington's sick playbook for China, Iran - if they could get away with it. Think the dismemberment and partition of Yugoslavia a quarter century ago is irrelevant? You're wrong. And no one - and I mean no one - writes about it better, documents what happened more carefully and understands analytically what happened than Diana Johnstone in this little powerhouse of a volume - Fool's Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions. Available in paperback. Get it read it and if you'r really daring, discuss it with friends. Wanna understand what is happening today in Syria, Libya... here's a solid framework for you. You've been fooled, lied to... not too late to get at the truth, which as the saying goes... will make you free. Don't know if it will free you, but it will clean out a bit of that cool aid that has addled the brains of so many.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Yiğit Güler

    Kesinlikle okuduğum en ezber bozan araştırma/tarih kitaplarından biri. Özellikle devamlı kulaktan dolma bilgiler ile ön yargılı baktığım Sırplar’a bakış açımın büyük ölçüde değiştiğini söylemeliyim. Yugoslavya’nın dağılış süreci, NATO, AB, ABD ve BM’nin süreci ne şekilde etkilediği, kaynaksız hiç bir bilgi verilmeden mantık çerçevesinde, tüm Yugoslavya ülkelerinin gözünden kronolojik olarak aktarılmış. Özellikle Sırp’ların şeytanlaştırılma süreci ve bunun arkasında yatan çıkar ilişkileri kitabın ö Kesinlikle okuduğum en ezber bozan araştırma/tarih kitaplarından biri. Özellikle devamlı kulaktan dolma bilgiler ile ön yargılı baktığım Sırplar’a bakış açımın büyük ölçüde değiştiğini söylemeliyim. Yugoslavya’nın dağılış süreci, NATO, AB, ABD ve BM’nin süreci ne şekilde etkilediği, kaynaksız hiç bir bilgi verilmeden mantık çerçevesinde, tüm Yugoslavya ülkelerinin gözünden kronolojik olarak aktarılmış. Özellikle Sırp’ların şeytanlaştırılma süreci ve bunun arkasında yatan çıkar ilişkileri kitabın özünü oluşturuyor. Kitap Yugoslavya’nın hem dağılış hem de kuruluş sürecine olan ilgimi daha da arttırdı. Öte yandan azınlıklarla ilgili meselelere ABD, AB gibi “Büyük Güçler”in , hangi motivasyonlarla baktığını da genel olarak güzel özetliyor. Kesinlikle tavsiye ediyorum.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Quite a dissent from the mainstream reporting and analysis of the collapse and dissolution of Yugoslavia, "Fool's Crusade" borders on a polemic in defense of Serbian nationalism (which Johnstone says barely existed in 1999) and of Slobodan Milošević who she characterizes as a confused and somewhat opportunistic politician, something like a big city mayor in the United States but without the ability to finesse his enemies in the manner of, for example, Richard J. Daley of Chicago. The accepted vi Quite a dissent from the mainstream reporting and analysis of the collapse and dissolution of Yugoslavia, "Fool's Crusade" borders on a polemic in defense of Serbian nationalism (which Johnstone says barely existed in 1999) and of Slobodan Milošević who she characterizes as a confused and somewhat opportunistic politician, something like a big city mayor in the United States but without the ability to finesse his enemies in the manner of, for example, Richard J. Daley of Chicago. The accepted view of Milošević as a heartless butcher of Muslims and a modern day Hitler needs revision or at least revisiting since it is so unanimously held by those one the left and center left. Johnstone sees the NATO air war over Bosnia as a manifestation of liberal imperialism run by the center-left (Blair, Clinton, etc.) that paved the way for western intervention in Afghanistan--the Second Iraq war hadn't begun when the book went to press.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul Rhodes

    Great book. Clinton was just as much a warmongering liar as his braindead successor. Get it through your thick skulls, people. The two party system in the United States is a smokescreen, behind which is just one single, monolithic war party.

  10. 4 out of 5

    jsewellmcevoy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bill Perrin

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aleksandar Djuricic

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marina

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lukereynolds17

  15. 4 out of 5

    BookSwim.com Book Rental Online

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Misha

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Levich

  19. 4 out of 5

    Louis Guégan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Milos

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gracchus Babeuf

  22. 5 out of 5

    Avery

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marko

  24. 5 out of 5

    Xavier Louwagie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cory Dupont

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dawud Oufkir

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jasper

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aurora

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