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The following article appeared in Left Business Observer #89, April 1999. It retains its copyright and may not be reprinted or redistributed in any form - print, electronic, facsimile, anything - without the permission of LBO.

For the interview with anthropologist Robert Hayden of the University of Pittsburgh, "A very European war," click here. For a postwar polemic, click here.

This Kosovo thing


[I]f this domestic policy is going to work, we have to be free to pursue it. And if we're going to have a strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the world, Europe has got to be a key. And if we want people to share our burdens of leadership with all the problems that will inevitably crop up, Europe needs to be our partner. Now, that's what this Kosovo thing is all about... it's about our values.
-- Bill Clinton, March 23, 1999


One thing's for sure: NATO's glorious little war has little to do with humanitarianism, except for the PR campaign. NATO isn't a relief agency, it's an instrument of war. A humanitarian motive is impossible to accept given U.S. indifference to and participation in so many other catastrophes -- 1.5 million dead Sudanese, hundreds of thousands of Kurds killed and displaced by Turkey, hundreds of thousands dead and displaced in Rwanda, and a million Iraqis dead from U.S. sanctions. In fact, while it's easy to think of humanitarian catastrophes the U.S. has created, it's hard to think of one it's brought to an end. It's depressing to see people who should know better - those baptized the "cruise-missile liberals" by the Guardian's Mark Steel - cheering on the bombers.

With the end of the cold war, the marketization of everything, and the banalization of politics to mere adjustment to competitive forces, we've become familiar with the coding of trouble on the periphery: as "monsters" to be bombed, or victim