Empire, Freedom, and Democracy
by Nebojsa Malic
, February 07, 2014Print This | Share This
Throughout the Cold War, the West (calling itself the "free world") argued that the Communist bloc wanted to conquer the world, because for Communism to triumph it could allow no alternatives. Yet the Communist faction advocating a global revolution –Trotsky and his followers – were purged by Stalin, whose own doctrine was "Socialism in One Country," and exiled to the West. Conversely, it was Washington that invoked the threat of Communism to intervene around the globe and spoke of "Europe, united and free." However, this definition of "freedom" has been most peculiar: it does not allow one to say "no." Arguably, the foundations of what would become the Atlantic Empire were laid down when those who tried to exit the 1791 contract between American states were forcibly suppressed. Lacking a similar enforcement apparatus, the European Union has chosen to bully its member states politically: those that reject its creeping usurpation of powers in referenda are made to vote again till they get it "right," whereupon they have no more say in the matter, ever. This is then applauded as "freedom" and "democracy."
That freedom and democracy are not synonymous, but rather incompatible opposites, is a separate discussion. Suffice to say that democracy is akin to a civil war waged by ballots, rather than bullets – in which whoever commands the most votes (not necessarily the majority, either), wins. But if that fails, there are other ways of establishing authority.
The Meaning of Words
Witness the events of the past three months in Ukraine, where the elected government’s decision to reject a suicidal pact with the EU in favor of profitable relations with Russia prompted the Western-backed "activists" to organize a revolution. Having failed to dislodge the government, the revolutionaries have escalated the violence to the point where Ukraine finds itself on the brink of a shooting war. Not surprisingly, the Empire/EU axis is cheering on the violent rebellion, painting it as "peaceful protests" against "government repression" and accusing Russia of malicious interference. More than just being sore losers, though that’s obviously the case, this behavior reveals the utter bankruptcy of their own official values.
Thus John Kerry can declare in Munich that the "demonstrators" – who’ve never stood for election, and those who did received votes in the rounding-error range – were fighting "for the right to associate with partners who will help them realize their aspirations." But it is precisely Kerry’s government, and the Brussels bureaucracy that is denying the Ukrainians that right, because they’ve overwhelmingly decided the partner they want to associate with is Russia.
The Welfare Gulag
At the end of January, Seumas Milne
in The Guardian correctly identified the driving forces of the Ukrainian crisis as an alliance of oligarchs, fascists and the West. Responding three days later, in the same publication, Timothy Garton-Ash inadvertently proved him right, using the rhetoric of "democracy and human rights" to advocate for enslaving Ukrainians in the EU welfare gulag:
"Look at the shifting balance of world power, and look at the demographic projections for western Europe’s aging population. We’ll need those young Ukrainians sooner than you think, if we are to pay our pensions, maintain economic growth and defend our way of life in a post-western world."
How likely is it that those "freedom fighters" in Kiev are actually aspiring to be the laborers fueling the welfarist engine of Western Europe? How many of them are already in peonage, having borrowed from EU banks under impossible terms to afford the status symbols of "normal living"? Victoria Nuland’s cookies for their souls and futures – hell of an exchange, isn’t it?
A Cautionary Tale
To see the kind of future the EU and the Empire have in store for them, the Ukrainians have only to look a little ways southwest. Not Greece, though it is a cautionary tale of its own, but a bit further north. After a decade of blockade, bombs, dismemberment and occupation, Serbia was conquered through a faux-revolution – later reprised in Kiev. Then a succession of regimes, each more quisling than the one before, embarked on "transforming" the country and its inhabitants into the proper thralls of Empire.
A recent Bloomberg story covering the start of Belgrade’s "negotiations" with the EU inadvertently showcases the way this was accomplished: through a combination of bombs and propaganda, the Serbians were driven out of their minds, and many are now eager to self-destruct in order to appease their tormentors. Yet as Deutsche Welle so helpfully notes, though, groveling before Brussels is a process that will take years.
Meanwhile, a cult of personality has been created around the Progressive Party leader, the "First Deputy Prime Minister" Aleksandar Vucic. He is the fearless fighter against "corruption and crime," superhero-savior of children trapped in snowdrifts, the man who will "bring Serbia in from the cold." To hear Vucic say it, he can turn Serbia around in weeks, if only he were actually in charge. But alas, the office of Prime Minister is in the hands of Ivica Dacic, the junior partner in the governing coalition. Hence the snap election, scheduled for March 16, whose sole purpose is to make Vucic the actual Prime Minister, and his Progressives the absolute majority in the legislature, strong enough to amend the Constitution and finalize the surrender of Kosovo. It is not hard to predict that the March vote will resemble the farce staged in occupied Kosovo in November, when Serb turnout in "Kosovian" polls was in single digits yet the "election" was proclaimed a great success both by the Albanians, the Empire, and the quisling regime in Belgrade. In keeping with the actual tradition of democracy in "Kosova", of the two Serb candidates that participated in the whole sham and ran for mayor of Mitrovica, one was mysteriously shot, and another arrested on charges of "war crimes."
A Very Old Chaos
Pat Buchanan is being entirely too charitable when he says that, "our endless blather about democracy, we Americans seem to be able to put our devotion to democratic principles on the shelf, when they get in the way of our New World Order." He assumes that America is actually devoted to democratic principles. But as events in Ukraine, Serbia, and countless other places before that indicate, the Empire subscribes to the "logic" of Humpty-Dumpty: words mean whatever it wants them to mean, and the only question is "which is to be master."
As Philip Cunliffe observed during a sham election in Serbia in 2007, "what counts as democracy is what the EU decides is democratic."
The "order" the Empire seeks to create, by destroying all alternatives, is neither new, nor much of an order
at all, but rather a very old chaos. To embrace it as order means agreeing that democracy is whatever the Empire says it is. That freedom means you’re not allowed to say "no." That there are no laws, no values, no right – only power. And that the Imperial boot stomping on the human face forever is the bright shining utopian future.
Read more by Nebojsa Malic
Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com debuted in November 2000.
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