Rodovan Karadzic is on trial in the Hague and it would be nice to think that ethnic cleansing does not pay. Unfortunately, his project, the Republika Srbska, is alive and kicking and although I am not quite sure exactly what the Republika Srbska is, Sarajevo doesn’t have very much to say there. In effect, The Dayton Agreement gave the Serbs, who constitute 34% of the population of Bosnia and Herzogivina, 49% of the land1 and a lot of that land is land where Muslims and Croats used to live. The events at Srebenica in July 1995 tell the story of what happened to a lot of them.2 Of course, there were also mad Muslims and crazy Croats maiming and murdering all over the place and that is why I find it a bit difficult to understand Richard Holbrooke, the American diplomat who more or less got the Serbs their 49% at Dayton, when he greeted the news of Karadzic’s arrest by saying “Karadzic was responsible for the deaths of 300,000 people and his arrest marked “a historic day.”3 Moreover, considering the consensus is that the number of dead in Bosnia was closer to 250,000, well, Karadzic might be indirectly responsible for a lot of deaths but certainly not 300,000. Indeed, in 1996, when Mr Holbrooke needed Karadzic for his own political career the evidence would appear to suggest that he signed an agreed that, should he resign he would not be tried at the Hague.4 Holbrooke vehemently denies this but when the ex-Bosnian Foreign Minister, Muhamed Sacirbey, hardly a friend of Karadzic, also says that the deal happened,5 we might begin to think that, at least on this point, Karadzic is, in fact, telling the truth. Of course we would do well to remember that in August 1977 it was Richard Holbrooke who went to Indonesia to meet Suharto and praise him for Indonesia’s human rights improvements at at a time when he was wiping out the population of East Timor. Indeed, Holbrooke helped put a damper on the efforts of human rights activist who wanted to stop US military aid to Indonesia and actually helped speed up the flow of weapons to the Suharto regime.6 Holbrooke might not have the authority to make a personal deal with Karadzic but might that not suggest that he was acting as an instrument of the United States if he had made such an agreement just as in 1977 he was acting as an instrument when he praised Indonesia on human rights?
Whatever the answer to the above question, Mr Holbrooke was no stranger to ethnic cleansing when he arrived at Dayton in 1995 and there he was one of the chief architects of one of Bill Clinton’s main foreign policy “successes”. Bill was to declare, “refugees will be allowed to return to their homes.”7 However, what we in fact had was a rubber stamp on ethnic cleansing from the American administration. It is for good reason that Karadzic is in the Hague. Nevertheless, the slightest scratching of the surface reveals once again the hypocritical and, indeed, criminal nature of a machiavellian American “Realpolitik” and a foreign policy that has facilitated ethnic cleansing all over the planet from Indonesia to Palestine to Bosnia. Perhaps it is appropriate to finish with the title of John Pilger’s book, “tell me no lies.” and ask you to watch Bill Clinton and Richard Holbrooke telling lies at http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/28/the_democrats_suharto_bill_clinton_richard . Go on, cut and paste the link and watch it, it is only eighteen minutes. After the all too blatent drivel spouted out by George and his cronies over the last eight years, it might at least give us an inkling of the style that will be the trademark of the next American president. That, however, is another story.
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