by Živadin Jovanović
October 21, 2014
Lessons of the First World War.
NATO's 1999 Aggression
on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
was a Turning Point in International
History is a teacher of life,
says the old proverb.
Hence, it should be regarded
as a part of life and the future,
not only a part of the past.
We recall that the drive for redrawing the borders was one of the
key objectives of aggressors in the First World War. The revision of
history and results of the First and Second World Wars could prove
to be but a front for the revision of borders.
The Great War began following the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum, one
that everyone clearly knew that Serbia could not have possibly
accepted. At the end of that same, 20th century,
Serbia (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) was given a similar
by NATO in Rambouillet, also one
that obviously could not be accepted.
The request contained therein was:
either accepting unconditional occupation of the entire country, or
NATO aggression against Serbia (the
FRY) of 1999 was the turning point in global relations, marking the
transition from the relative peace and a sort of observance of the
UN system, towards the global interventionism and violation of the
basic principles of the international relations.
Many intellectuals, including the
speakers at this Conference,
believe that this has triggered
the Third World War.
The post-2008 period is marked by a serious
global economic crisis. The
military spending in the world is heading to reach two
trillion US dollars. Step by step, the world has entered a
new spiral of arms race.
Are we going to respond to it by
launching initiatives and activating mechanisms to put it to
Or are we, just like on the eve
of the World War I, going to let this race throw all of us
once again into the chasm of disaster?
A short period of global partnership is
being replaced by an increasing global distrust.
Is there any readiness to seek just
compromises in resolving outstanding problems and revert to general
interests of the humanity, as embodied in peace and progress for all
peoples and nations?
narrow circles of the privileged ones
are amassing enormous wealth.
In a stark contrast, misery, poverty,
illnesses, extremism and terrorism are on the rise.
How can we possibly seek to
develop and spread human and civilization values and rights
against the backdrop of such misery, poverty, illnesses,
extremism and terrorism?
Do we realize the danger
entailed by the boiling social discontent?
Are we ready to concede that the
previously applied methods of combating international
terrorism exclusively by military force, have instead been
actually powering its further strengthening and
The poverty suffered by a major share of
human kind is not a mere result of the growing population, but
rather an outcome of the increasing iniquity in distribution of
assets, within the system that defends the privileges of the rich
and prevents development of the poor.
The roads to both First and Second World
Wars were paved by egotism, denial of equality, and trampling the
interest of other nations.
The ball is in our court.
Shall we continue to speak up
and fight for a just international order, or shall we assert
that the era of liberal capitalism aggression is not the
right moment for such an action?
Are we aware that external and
forcible imposition of internal systems in target countries,
pursuant to the "one-for-all" model, gradually emerges as
the foundation of global domination, interventionism, and
The questions at hand are,
Do we opt for the global
domination of "exceptional" ones, or for the multi-polarity
and a democratic world order of all equal sovereign nations?
What is left out of the UN's and
the OSCE's functions of preventive action and peaceful
resolution of disputes?
Should we, really, consent that
the policies of force and of double standards have become
legitimate or we should oppose it and struggle for
civilization of peace, dignity and freedom for all?
There is growing evidence that we have
entered the age of hybrid democracy and ersatz civic values and
human rights. Institutions of democratic state became the service of
the most powerful corporations possessing military-industrial and
Although the institutional formations persevere, an even the new
ones are being created in the international domain, the true power
is steadily shifting into the narrow and usually informal groups,
councils or commissions directly influenced by such
military-industrial and financial capital.
Issues of war or peace are rarely
discussed in parliamentary proceedings; at best, they are being
decided in a summary procedure. Democratic public debates on vital
issues have definitely become a rarity.
The tangible aspect of militarization is expressed in rapid growth
in numbers of foreign bases, especially on the European soil.
Presently, Europe hosts more foreign military bases that at the peak
of the Cold War.
Why? After the USA Military base
Bond-steel, erected in Kosovo and Metohija in 1999, there mushroomed
four more USA bases in Bulgaria, additional four in Romania, and so
on. Pre-1999 existing bases are being upgraded, either by
anti-missile shields, or by new facilities for revolving
rapid-response task forces.
All are creeping closer to the borders
We are witnessing a new edition of the
old, almost forgotten doctrine, "Drang
nach Osten". In parallel, the media, including even in
countries of the oldest democratic traditions, are having
increasingly less freedom.
Is it possible to maintain THIS unipolar world and privileges by
inciting wars, fratricidal conflicts, coups, or colored revolutions?
On the eve of the First World War, it was obvious that certain
countries were rapidly arming, and, in parallel, that their
appetites for territories and resources were growing. The true
meaning of these trends was played down.
This illusion was, alas, paid dearly, in
millions of human lives.
Program", authored by that-time German Chancellor von
Bethmann-Hollweg, dated 9 September 1914, one hundred years ago,
openly stated German territorial pretensions aimed at neighbors,
customs union in the form of an expanded market, and "German
colonial Africa", as considered by Franz Fischer, a prominent
Hollweg's "September Program" had a
clearly invading, expansionist character.
Hollweg's plan triggers various
reminiscences, such as this one:
In April 2000, ten months after the
end of NATO's armed aggression against Serbia (the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia), Bratislava hosted a summit of heads of
governments and states, and ministers of foreign affairs and of
defense of that-time candidate states for joining NATO, and
senior public officials of the USA.
At this Summit, the American
representatives presented their plan for rearranging the
relations in Europe.
Willy Wimmer, Germany's State
Secretary in the Ministry of Defense, and at that time
Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, who was
present at the Summit, wrote about this "April Plan":
"European legal order is an
obstacle for implementation of NATO plans.
For this purpose is much more
convenient to also apply American legal order in Europe.
During the expansion (towards the East, added by Z.J.), it
is necessary to reinstate the same spatial situation between
the Baltic Sea and Anatolia (in Turkey, added by Z.J.), as
existed at the heyday of the Roman Empire expansion.
This is why Poland has to be
encircled from the north and the south by democratic states
Romania and Bulgaria have to
ensure land connection to Turkey, whereas Serbia has to be
permanently excluded from the European development. North of
Poland, a complete control over the Sanct Petersburg access
to the Baltic Sea must be ensured."
(Published in: Actual Issues
of Foreign Policy -
Belgrade Forum for the World of Equals
- Belgrade, 2006, pages 73-77).
the war marketing evolved into a
It seems that we got accustomed to that
"science" very quickly and underestimating the risks. At present,
even the non-professionals can easily recognize the pattern of
preparing, propagating, and justifying all kinds of aggressions and
instigating civil wars.
The process comprises these steps:
choosing the target
demonizing its legitimate
leadership via the media
promises of democracy and fast
"better life" that serve to disorientate the public
funding and, as necessary,
arming the "pro-democratic" opposition
intensification of destabilizing
actions of the NGOs
staging massacres/poisoning by
chemical warfare/humanitarian disasters, i.e., event brands
"Markale" in Sarajevo
"Racak" in Kosovo
Metohija, "Majdan" in Kiev
then follows instigating civil
wars or armed aggression
toppling legitimate authorities
opposition in power
finally, assuming the target
country's natural and economic resources by the corporations
and even by individuals from administrations of the
aggressor countries by the so-called transition, also known
as the predatory privatizations
One of disturbing contemporary phenomena
is a very extensive interpretation of the notion of national
The USA was the first to appropriate the
right to proclaim its national interests in practical terms, in any
corner of the Planet, and to defend them by armed force. European
partners followed suite. Particular attention provoke statements of
Joachim Gauck, President of Germany, that Germany must be
ready to defend its national interests abroad by force, if needed.
State sovereignty over its natural
resources is derogated. Brzezinski and Albright openly claim that
natural resources in Siberia cannot belong to Russia only, but
rather to the so-called international community!
The claims for redistribution of natural
wealth of the planet are clearly articulated. Here, one may recall
the consequences the humanity suffered owing to German ambitions for
redistribution of colonies in the run-up to the World War I.
Back in 1914, that-time aggressors solely relied on brute force.
Austro-Hungary sought to halt its
declining power and decreasing control over other nations'
territories, whereas Germany wanted to effect its burgeoning
economic and military might by invading neighbors' territories, and
by imposing its control over the Berlin-Bagdad route and,
eventually, over the entire Europe and Africa.
The lessons from World War I show that
reliance on force exclusively, coupled with arrogance and disregard
for the rights and interests of other nations are not advantage but
rather a major weakness.
Another great danger for the contemporary world stems from the
presence of power centers which believe they are destined to govern
the word, and entrusted with this mission by providence. They hold
anyone else in the planet to be handicapped and obliged to do as
told and obey directives of the "exceptional" ones. Such centers do
not recognize profound changes bringing new distribution of global
They apply the logic of uni-polar world
order not recognizing that this concept is gone and that the
history cannot be stopped.
Therefore, having regard to the lessons of history, we may conclude,
that it is not the time to seek privileges and domination by force;
it is in the interest of humanity to accommodate to the new
multi-polar reality, to accept righteous compromises and
work for peace.
 Address at the International
Conference "World War I - Messages to Humanity" - Belgrade, 17