Biden’s Unfinished Balkan Business

Gülnur Aybet and I just published an op-ed commentary with the Washington Post Newsweek’s PostGlobal website on Joen Biden’s visit to the Balkans.

Diffusion of Madness

If you think that the suggestion of Igor Panarin, the director of the Russian diplomatic academy, that the United States is going to disintegrate any time now is lunacy, consider the pieces it will disintegrate into: He suggests that the Northeast (which has a  “totally different ethnos and mentality”) will ‘join’ the EU with Kentucky, Tennessee, North and South Carolina (!). And talks about the Indians in the middle of the USA wanting to secede (“May I remind you that five central states where the Indians live had announced their independence.”).  Such analytical brilliance, probably based on considerable field work is reminiscent of other recent brilliant analyses, such as by Mohammed Saïd al-Sahaf (“There is no presence of American infidels in the city of Baghdad”) and Goran Matic (“CIA instructors are working not only with NIN”): I see a pattern of lunacy diffusion emerging (thanks to Holly for this). Madness seems to be the best response of dictators (and their spokespersons) to the threats of democracy. Matic, al-Sahaf and Panarin seem to share some features on their analysis:

a) they ascribe to others what happens to themselves (or they do to others)

b) they confuse wish and reality

c) their governments don’t end well (at least for the first two, the jury is out for the third).


Just finished watching the inauguration of Obama here at Cornell with some colleagues. While not his best speech, it was very moving. Especially his reference to the rest of the world no longer makes the gap between here and there as big as it has seemed in the past. In addition to a welcome reference to the ‘non-believers’ (very en passent but better than not at all) his clear acknowledgement to lead globally by example rather than by force is not only a clear break with Bush, but also encouraging. Now the hard part begins…

Loosing an easy target

Over the last eight years, it was easy to dislike the US and its policies around the world. All too often, America-bashing seemed to become a favorite past-time without understanding the country’s internal dynamics. Especially in academia, uncritical bashing of the US has been all to common, underestimated the ability of the country to renew itself.

It will not be an easy job for Obama to restore the country’s international standing. At the same time, it should be also an opportunity to abandon the easy target and to try to understand America’s complexity better and to also admire its ability to change.

Hillary’s Dangerous Encounter with Bosnia

Hilary Clinton discovered in retrospect, how dangerous it was going to Bosnia in 1996… sounds like in five years, she will also remember that she fought of Radovan Karadzic single-handedly after the landing and chased after a horde of assorted war criminals. Describing Bosnia in March 1996 as a war-zone is surely a bit silly (esp. if you are an American). I’d say visiting the US embassy in Belgrade today might be more risky…

Veljko in Florida?

Where’s Veljko?

A few years ago when looking to rent a flat in Belgrade, we nearly rented from Veljko Kadijevic daughter-in-law. She shared her outrage with us that he was wrongly maligned as the last minister of defense of Yugoslavia. Apparently the USA agrees.
As Blic reports, he is living in Florida, advising the Pentagon in Iraqi bunkers these days. Wasn’t that the same Kadijevic who was raving about the ‘foreign factors’ destroying Yugoslavia …

Op-ed for Washington Times

I admit that writing a letter to the editor for the Washington Times is like writing a policy brief to Rumsfeld telling him that the war in Iraq was a bad idea and hoping for change. Anyhow, I did write one following a particularly disturbing opinion piece on Bosnia, which hit on all the themes any nationalist publication in Serbia would be proad of: The Islamist-terrorist threat, the artificial nature of multiethnic states and the threat through centralization to Serbs and Croats.

The letter can be read at:

The original article “Islamist State in Europe” with such memorable lines as “The Croatians are dying” is available at:

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