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Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Socialist Federal Republics of Europe (SFRE) ?
MACEDONIA - FROM THE YUGOSLAV HELL TO THE EU NIGHTMARE
SFRJ becomes Socialist Federal Republics of Europe (SFRE)
USSR becomes the European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (EUSSR)
by Sasha Uzunov
Initially, Macedonia's communist ruling elite was reluctant to embrace an independent Macedonia in 1991 and for that matter membership of the European Union. But things changed when they realised they could still be on the "winning side" and maintain their privileges.
Men like Lazar Kolisevski and Kiro Gligorov who had built their careers and devoted their lives to Tito's Yugoslav communist dream were on the losing side of history after the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989 and their beloved Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) imploded 2 years after. After all American academic Francis Fukuyama had told us so… that it was the End of History as we knew it…that democracy had triumphed over Communism and every other ism in the world and therefore there was no need for history. But that view on 9/11 2001 was blown to pieces, once and for all.
Kolisevski was smart enough to retire on a big fat pension-- realising he was too old to play any part and also hated for sacrificing Macedonian nationalist aspirations for loyalty to Tito and imprisoning dissidents with communist show trials that Stalin would have been proud of.
But in 1991 Gligorov, by then President of Macedonia, was a wily politician who distanced himself from Kolisevski but simultaneously lost valuable time trying to save an already dead Yugoslavia. It probably cost newly independent Macedonia its name, as neighbouring Greece had time to block its recognition.
However, Gligorov the economist and the politician, did the maths and came up with the conclusion that as far as the SFRJ project it was not dead after all but could could be merged with the European Union-- both were Nanny States built on voodoo economics which professed to look after its "children" but the only differences being the SFRJ would use repression if you misbehaved whilst the EU would simply get you addicted and then deny you the "drugs" (money) a la Greece, Spain if you were naughty.
It is no coincidence that Macedonia's communist ruling elite were rewarded with EU or Western jobs, scholarships, etc. and have been spruiking "TITO - PARTIJA" oops I meant "All the Way with Brussels" or condemning Macedonia getting too independent for its own good by slapping it with bogus human rights grievances that no other EU member, including Greece or Bulgaria, come even close to fixing…as in giving recognition to the persecuted ethnic Macedonian minority in those two countries.
However, the Communists in the old Soviet Union, its Eastern European satellites and SFRJ were smart enough to understand that too much "nannying" of its captive populations was a bad thing. Conscription/National service/The Draft/compulsory military service was never abolished--for the simple fact that there had to be a "mechanism" still left that would toughen up young adult men in case the "Imperialist West" headed by the United States and its "chained dogs" were unleashed, and in SFRJ case, if Moscow wanted to bring Yugoslavia back into the Soviet fold.
However, the EU together with NATO, has abolished national service in most of its member states. In 2008, Macedonia in its desperate attempt to join both the EU and NATO also got rid of conscription. And you have to ask why when your neighbours still have it?
Under the SFRJ period the Macedonian intellectual elite that had flourished became obsessed with being "cultured" (kulturen) -- that is having a university degree, wearing a suit and tie, holding down a government job where you did nothing but drank coffee served to you by a sexy secretary. But beneath the surface, SFRJ had its secret police, UDBa, whack dissidents and non existent terrorists in Australia and Western Europe in order for Tito to grab the cash from the West during the Cold War in order to fund that "cultured" lifestyle.
UDBa sometimes sub-contracted its assassinations to thugs, banks robbers such Zeljko Raznjatovic-Arkan. It is no coincidence that after the end of Yugoslavia, these UDBa intelligence officers moved into organised crime. But hey someone had to pick up the bill for Tito's cultured elite !
In early 2001, along came a man who had been living outside the SFRJ Nanny state. Ali Ahmeti was in Switzerland but receiving a disability pension and in his "spare time" as a hobby launched an ethnic Albanian uprising against the Macedonian state. At first the EU and NATO were wrong footed by this Philosophy Graduate from Pristina University and labelled him a "terrorist" but then the script changed…when Brussels (coincidentally the HQ for both EU and NATO) thought" "holy shit, we know he's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." (pardon the borrowed American phrase).
From terrorist he became insurgent and freedom fighter. Enforcers such as NATO Secretary General Lord Roberston and EU trouble shooter the Spaniard Javier Solana arrived in Skopje to lecture the authorities not to "overdo it" in fighting to preserve the integrity of the Macedonian state against blatant terrorism. Yet Solana remains silent on Basque independence from Spain.
But there were still some "adults" left in the room. The Macedonian governing classes, both on the left and right (SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE) putting aside their "cultured" (kulturen) ways of thinking, called in the police and Army to fight for Macedonia's very existence.
Luckily for Skopje there where still some tough guys in Bitola, Prilep and other cities, towns and villages who answered the call as Army reservists and conscripts. Men who had done their compulsory military training in the old Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) or in the newly created and aptly named Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM).
Despite the obstacles put up by the EU and sadly by the United States, the lack of resources, compromised leadership, they managed to keep Macedonia together--albeit under a controversial and forced deal from the EU known as the Ohrid Framework Agreement.
The question is what happens if war erupts in Macedonia again? Where will the tough guys and gals come from to defend the country when you don't have a pool of trained men and women with previous military service? The question I would be asking is why was conscription abolished in 2008?
Perhaps Macedonia's secret weapons will be Cambridge Masters graduate Ana Stojanov(a)…maybe she can convince any future aggressor that their University Degree should be recognised in order to get a highly paid government job and they should put their weapons down. Or Health Guru Dr Slagjana Velkov(a) will persuade the "enemy at the gates" to walk barefoot and stare at the sun. (Australian Health authorities warn about staring at the sun too long).