by Sasha Uzunov
Mr Branko Miletic is an Australian-Croat journalist, often cited in the Australian media about Croatian affairs. He is also a long time observer of the Balkans.
Question 1. Have successive Croatian governments dropped the ball in winning the diplomatic war for influence in the southern Balkans, namely in Macedonia by allowing Serbia virtually a free hand to exert its influence? In the early 1990s Croatia was very active in pushing for Macedonia diplomatic recognition whilst Serbia was actively against it, even threatening Macedonia with invasion in the early 1990s until the Dayton Agreement of 1995. (see link).
Branko Miletic: Yes they have. Thanks to 2 reasons- one, is the need to fix the economy- regional politics takes a back seat to micro-economics....the second reason is the fact that the European Union keeps pushing this 'rapproachment' theory vis-a-vis Belgrade and now in Croatia for example you have a revitalised neo-Marxist pro-Belgrade Left made up mostly of unemployed actors, artists and poets ( whatever that means) trying to bring down a democratically elected government that is not to their taste. One wonders what the relatives and friends of all those Croatian soldiers, that died on the battlefields (along with surviving war veterans) in places like Vukovar think of all this.
Question 2. Are you concerned that there are leading public figures in Macedonia who claim to be pro NATO but strangely back the centre-right regime in Belgrade, Serbia which is anti-NATO?
For example Macedonian journalist Borjan Jovanovski says he is staunchly pro NATO but rarely if ever defends Croatia which is a NATO member from attacks by the Alexander Vucic regime in Belgrade and instead gives Belgrade a clean bill of health when it has human rights issues to deal with. (see link). Prime Minister Vucic years ago threatened to murder 100 Muslim Bosnians if one Bosnian Serb was killed. Since then Vucic has toned it down somewhat and is threatening Croatia with Russian missiles ! There has been silence from Mr Jovanovski and others over the recent official rehabilitation by the Serbian High Court of controversial World War II leader and ultra Serb nationalist Draza Mihailovic who was anti Macedonian, anti Croat, anti Albanian and anti Muslim as well as the recent the provocative nationalistic statements from Serbian foreign minister Ivica Dacic. (see link).
Some of these leading Macedonian figures even appear on Serbian television but never defend Croatia, which is both an EU and NATO member, whilst Serbia isn't.
Branko Miletic: I am concerned but not surprised. We have the same issues in Croatia. The politics of social engineering from the EU has given rise to this class of political zombies that seems to want to constantly gravitate to Belgrade. As for the EU, it is as if the politicians in Brussels miss dealing with only one Balkan country rather than say six or seven.
Question 3. You were quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in 2012 as saying the Croats were the Muslims of 1970s Australia, as in unfairly being labelled as terrorists by the media because of clever Yugoslav secret police false flag terrorist operations, which amongst other things saw six local Croats set up and imprisoned for crimes they never committed. (see link).
Are you puzzled that there are leading figures in Macedonia who say they are pro NATO and pro West who still defend the old Yugoslavist "utopia?"
Branko Miltetic: No, sadly as I mentioned earlier, this is a 'wave' or a ' mini movement' that is sweeping the Balkans. Not sure where its coming from- the conspiracy theories range from George Soros to the EU all the way to the Illuminati ( no-I'm not kidding, this is what some people think) however I think its sadly the human condition of short term political memory loss and the 'grass was always greener in history' condition. There are also way to many people ( as in the West) that are obsessed with their childhood and 'how wonderful things were' - or should I say that's what they think anyway. This leads to this kind of myopia that takes hold of a loud and culturally influential class that then spends most of its unemployed time pushing this Red Revisionism...I hope, much like Ebola, it will pass with time.
On a positive note, Croatian Member of the European Parliament, Marijana Petir, has recently set up an informal Friends of Macedonian parliamentary group. see link