Ukraine, Asterix and Rules: Notes from the Birthplace of American Empire
Tuesday November 1, 2022
“The first parliamentarian summit of the International Crimea Platform showed the world Europe ALMOST entirely united against Russian aggression,” the US embassy in Belgrade posted on Twitter last week, accompanied by a map showing all of the continent in blue – with Belarus, Serbia and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in grey.
No doubt the embassy thought this would bring home the “isolation” of Serbia. Not the first time, however, the Imperial legation had miscalculated. The map made Serbia look more like the “one small village of indomitable Gauls” from the famous prologue of Asterix, while the representation of “Kosovo” as a separate, independent state just lost Washington another 10 points in favorability polls. I know this, because I had just come back from several weeks in Serbia and Bosnia, where the vibe was very much in evidence.
American ambassadors in Belgrade have acted less like diplomats and more like imperial gauleiters ever since the October 2000 “color revolution” that ousted the legitimately elected Slobodan Milosevic and installed a US-friendly regime. Activists trained in Hungary by the National Endowment for Democracy went so far as to sack the Yugoslav National Assembly and torch the ballots, so no one could dispute their claims. Yet the Western media did not label them “insurrectionists” or “election deniers,” but celebrated them as democratic democrats. The model was then applied elsewhere, including Ukraine – twice, in 2004 and 2014 – triggering the conflict that eventually went fully kinetic.