Political Factors

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  • by Anup Shah
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Many feel that the NATO bombing was to facilitate a number of additional political agendas1 such as:

  • future access to Caspian oil2.
  • strategic NATO expansion
  • arms sales3
  • access to new markets4 resources and minerals in Kosovo and Yugoslavia.

    "The determination by the U.S and NATO, at all costs, to occupy Kosovo and virtually all of Yugoslavia, is spurred on by the enticement of abundant natural resources. Kosovo alone has the richest mineral resources in all of Europe west of Russia. The New York Times observed that "the sprawling state-owned Trepca mining complex, the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans, is worth at least $5 billion." producing gold, silver, pure lead, zinc, cadmium, as well as tens of millions of dollars in profits annually. "Kosovo also possesses 17 billion tons of coal reserves and Kosovo (like Serbia and Albania) also has oil reserves."

    "A number of unofficial partition plans have been drawn up for Kosovo all raising the question of who would control an important northern mining region," the New York Times revealed. Trepca was also a "glittering prize" taken over by Hitler to fuel the Nazi war machine during WWII."

    Backing Up Globalization with Military Might5

    Since the bombing has ended, numerous US bases in the Balkans have been set up. A military base is being built in Kosovo, described as the largest US foreign base built since the Vietnam War.

    "Behind the propaganda of a humanitarian war, U.S./NATO bases have been constructed in Albania, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Macedonia, and Kosovo. The Balkans, a region of enormous strategic importance, rich natural resources and important industrial capacity is now occupied by thousands of US troops. All this has happened without any informed debate or discussion."

    Sara Flounders, Censored 2000, (Seven Stories, 2000) p. 44

Yet, equally important is the wider Balkan conflict that has been going on for years:

  • As J.W. Smith points out and details in his book, Economic Democracy, (M.E. Sharpe, 2000), throughout history, the centers of power have often raided and plundered their "countryside" to maintain dominance and control of access to resources.
  • When these so-called peripheries were plundered, their basic industry would often be destroyed.
  • We have seen this pattern with Yugoslavia as well. With the Soviet collapse, Yugoslavia was the main economic power in East Europe and for good or bad, (it is hard to know for sure) would have potentially dominated developments in Eastern Europe, which had highly skilled, comparatively cheap labor as well as resources.
  • The years of destabilization in Yugoslavia and the Balkans has therefore had this in mind as well, as Smith details.
  • Furthermore, with the bombing of Serbia being mainly destruction of civilian infrastructure (not military as pointed out in the bombing section on this site, with links and sources), we see this pattern throughout history that Smith has also detailed of plundering the "periphery" by destroying their means of production and crippling their economic capabilities preventing future development and being dependent upon the conquerors.
  • (See J.W. Smith, Institute for Economic Democracy, and their book, Economic Democracy; Political Struggle for the 21st Century, (M.E. Sharpe, 2000), especially chapter 6, extracts of which are available on line6 at their web site.)

As mentioned in the NATO section7, Russia saw NATO attacks on Yugoslavia as a direct threat to itself. In fact apparently some polls showed that 92 percent of Russians condemned the bombings while 70,000 young Russians had even registered as would-be volunteers8 for Yugoslavia.

We have been told that before the bombing began, all the diplomatic efforts did not yield any silver linings. What has not been mentioned in much detail is that Milosevic in fact did suggest that he would consider a UN or other, non-NATO force, but for the US, this was not the silver-lining that the US wanted9.

As the link also points out, a leaked version of the Pentagon's 1994-1999 Defense Planning Guidance report advises that the United States "must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the primary instrument of Western defense and security, as well as the channel for U.S. influence and participation in European security affairs.". This is setting a pretty serious precedent -- even though perhaps there may have been better options available, the US did not want to consider them, because it wanted to have a (leading) role in Europe's security affairs and keep Europe dependent on it.

The "Bombable Serbia" section of this article10, for a starter, describes the region's history showing that there have been a number of additional reasons to the tensions we see today.

Also check out the latter half of this link11 for political reasons.

Also, see this article12 for a look at the economic problems imposed on Yugoslavia since the Kosovo bombing ended, and for a general look at the relationship between wars and economics.

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