Now from that same U. S government, with its same European pals, who brought you the message that the Gulf War was not about oil, but about national sovereignty, sacred Security Council resolutions, and a politician demonized as worse than Hitler, we have a completely different message about the war against Serbia. Guess what! It is not about oil either, but about humanitarian values, and another politician who is worse than Hitler. Since the war could not possibly be about oil-even oil pipelines-it must be about a noble crusade to save ethnic Albanians from ethnic cleansing.

If you're tempted to think it is actually true that NATO has suddenly gone all teary-eyed about suffering civilians, and if consistency is one of your hang ups, then don't ask why NATO has nothing to say about the longer and far bloodier repression of the Kurdish minority going on right now in Turkey. This couldn't possibly have anything to do with U. S. plans to build a major oil pipeline across Turkey. Couldn't happen.

No, the real explanation must be that Serbia is led by an evil S. O. B., and NATO bombs are going to cleanse such monsters off the earth. But why do they oppose Miloseovic, even if he really is doing terrible things? In fact, this is not what the U. S. and NATO have against him. They are annoyed that he is not doing terrible things for them. If you are skeptical about this, then just recall some recent history from, of all places, Yugoslavia. The U. S. secretly (well, not very secretly), through a private organization of retired U.S. military officers, financed, trained, and armed Croatians, so that they could launch a counterattack against the Serbians and create the basis for a partition of Bosnia. These Croatian forces ethnically cleansed some 250,000 Bosnian Serbs, and a the U. S. and NATO, great humanitarians that they are, did exactly nothing about it. Instead they engineered the Dayton accords that sliced up Bosnia. The latest crisis stems from the NATO attempt to split Kosovo off from Serbia, which would have been the effect of the Rambouillet agreement, if it had been implemented.

In fact if you take your history just a teensy bit farther back (to about 1989), you'll find that the U. S., Germany, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank were major players is splitting up Yugoslavia in the first place. In May 1990, German Foreign Minster Genscher was a big player in Croatian succession, and organized quick diplomatic recognition for Croatia and Slovenia when they split from Yugoslavia. In 1991, the conditions for lending money that the IMF dictated to Yugoslavia sucked their federal treasury dry, and the resulting budgetary crisis help induce Croatia and Slovenia to succeed. There is no denying that the reactionary nationalist politics the various factions in Yugoslavia were important in making this happen, but the point is that the powers in NATO wanted to tear Yugoslavia apart, despite the economic misery and civil war that resulted, and they helped it happen. After all, smaller countries are so much easier to push around.

Well, you say, "It's not humanitarian, but it isn't not about oil, either." Listen to our illustrious Secretary of State, "Mad" Albright, speaking April 7th, and read between the lines: "...we need to consider the map. Kosovo is a small part of a region with large historic importance and a vital role to play in Europe's future...This region is a major artery between Europe and Asia and the Middle East... Its stability directly affects the security of our Greek and Turkish allies to the south, and our new allies Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to the north." Do you see it there, right there, a "major artery between Europe and Asia and the Middle East"? Ask yourself, artery for what? The fact is there is a huge new find of oil in the Caspian Sea area, and the big problem for the big oil companies is, how to get it to Europe? There are a bunch of competing plans for pipelines, but the basic geography is simple to describe. The "northern" route through Russia is out, from the U. S. point of view, and so is the "southern" route through Iran. That leaves what? Like Albright said, look at the map, and you'll see that you can't pipe oil to Europe without going through the Balkans. But don't conclude that the U. S. and NATO are killing Serbian kids for oil. No, no, no, they would never do that. Capitalism is such a wonderful system, it could never do such a thing for a few measly $ trillions in profits!

(Check out my web page for articles that spell out the facts cited here: )

Tom Weston,

Professor of Philosophy