Sparks flew at the Transatlantic Forum in Brussels last Friday between Western and Russian participants over Kosovo. When French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner accused Russia of being responsible for the absence of a negotiated agreement between Belgrade and Priština, President of the Duma Foreign Policy Committee Konstantin Kosachov replied that it was not Russia’s stand which prevented the finding of a solution, “but rather the promise of the West to Kosovo Albanians that they would get independence sooner or later” which meant that “Kosovo Albanians were not motivated to look for a solution.” At this point yet another participant, former U.S. Balkans envoy Richard Holbrooke, reacted by bursting into loud laughter. According to a Russian news report, Holbrooke and Kouchner then got up and left the room in the middle of the Russian representative’s presentation.
The same mix of haughty arrogance and plain rudeness was on display in Rome three weeks ago, where I attended a fairly high-profile conference on Kosovo organized by the geopolitical review Limes. Other panelists included the Undersecretary of State at the Italian foreign ministry, Famiano Crucianelli; the vice-chairman of the Italian Senate foreign relations committee, Sen. Alfredo Mantica; Limes’ editor Lucio Caracciolo; Jim Jatras of the American Council for Kosovo; and Serbia’s Ambassador to the Holy See Professor Jankovic.
A political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Gabriel Escobar, had accepted the organizers’ invitation to be one of the panelists – but then used his introductory remarks to berate them for not including any “Kosovars” in the panel. Having finished his tirade Mr. Escobar got up, turning his back on the Italian officials seated next to him, and left the podium, and the room, without a word of farewell. - Srdja Trifkovic, writing at the Chronicles website.
I have already written of the folly, arrogance, and mendacity of American policy in the Balkans, and so will not reiterate what already has been said. Suffice it to say that such puerile conduct on the part of American 'diplomats' is a fitting reflection of the imperial hauteur affected by American high officialdom, especially since the denouement of the Cold War: every American ukase is not merely to be obeyed without reservation - the expression of which is dishonestly equated with anti-Americanism - but is possessed of such solemn majesty and wisdom that to question it is to invite supercilious disdain, even laughter. Like St. Augustine writing of infancy, Spoiled-Child America waxes indignant when wiser souls deign to offer correction, regarding such free men as so many insubordinate slaves, and so revenges itself upon them by petulent displays and infantile mockeries. This is what one should expect from imperial diplomacy: a lurching from truculent bluster to low, dishonest, dirty intrigues to manifestations of arrested development; for empire is the political form in which enslavement to appetites is writ large upon the nation. And one never desires to come between a man or nation enslaved to mad passions and the object of those passions.