Geert Lovink on Fri, 21 May 1999 17:59:54 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> geertogram 052199 [digest]: tageszeitung, KA radio, stratfor update

Geert Lovink <>
          (fwd) Die Tageszeitung (Berlin)  19 May 1999 [in english]
          (fwd) LA radio event
          (fwd) Stratfor Global Intelligence Update (May 17, 1999)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 07:51:27 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <>
Subject: (fwd) Die Tageszeitung (Berlin)  19 May 1999 [in english]

Die Tageszeitung (Berlin)  19 May 1999

by Ruediger Rossig

"Without Germans! -- FRG Combat Units Could Only Do Damage in the
Former Yugoslavia"

        Until now, politicians from every German party have forcefully
rejected participation by the Bundeswehr in a NATO ground troop deployment
in Yugoslavia. The question is just for how long. In view of the fact that
after eight weeks of bombing President Milosevic is more firmly in the
saddle than ever before, and the "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovo has almost
been concluded, the discussion about combat deployment continues, of
course. And if it should come to that, alliance loyalists in Bonn will
also be sent a reminder.

The question of what a combat operation by German soldiers in the Balkans
means to people there appears to be getting lost in this context. As a
reminder: on 6 April 1941 the German Luftwaffe attacked Belgrade without
warning. More people died then than in the bombings of Warsaw, Coventry
and Rotterdam combined, In the fall of that same year German soldiers
murdered 4,000 people in one day in Kraljevo and Kragujevac -- 100
civilians in "retribution" for every fallen German soldier. At the end of
1941 there were up to 30,000 murdered civilians for 438 fallen or missing

In view of this past history, it ought to be clear that any participation
by the Bundeswehr in NATO combat operations in Serbia would damage the
peace. And this is less because they would supply Milosevic with
propaganda material by reaching back to German fascism. More importantly,
the sight of German uniforms recalls a collective trauma among many
Yugoslavs -- which could cause many Serbs to close ranks with a regime
which many of them had previously questioned.

A strengthening of the Serbian will to hold out cannot be in the interest
of NATO, however -- even less in that of the FRG. The Germans have just
succeeded in eliminating old reservations in the former Yugoslavia through
a constructive Bosnia operation. Since 1996 Bundeswehr soldiers there have
in fact built confidence in the democratic Germany by repairing houses,
building bridges and operating the largest field hospital in the Balkans.
A combat deployment in Serbia would destroy this invaluable achievement
for the future image of the Germans in southeast Europe.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 08:01:46 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <>
Subject: (fwd) LA radio event

From: Nalini Lasiewicz <LasiewiczN@AOL.COM> 
Subject: LA Radio Event, Sunday May 23

After nearly eight years of almost deafening silence, the So. California
progressive left has finally decided to get involved in the Balkan War.
Unfortunately, some of the leaders in the community are so new to this
topic, they don't even know that it's Slobodan Milosevic's war.....they
think it's Bill Clinton's war.  And now they are going to teach us all
about it.

Many on the left will have us believe that the U.S. is only in this
campaign because we are war-mongering in the Balkans just so NATO could
have a new mission and so that the global military complex will be given a
shot in the arm, so to speak.  The Ex. Director of one of the sponsoring
groups told me today that we should end this cynical NATO campaign,
immediately, and stop "going all around the world bombing hospitals."  
The issue and policy statements that have been released from this new
ad-hoc peace collition speak about things like "500,000 Serbs were
brutally ethnically cleansed from Krajina" and other disinformation.  
They demand a return of refugees, but they haven't any clue as to how that
could be accomplished.  Presumably, the past eight years of UN and EU and
international negotiations have "not been done in good faith."

When the first roster of 16 speakers was released last week, the
organizers were hit with some fierce complaints over what appeared to be
an 8-to-1 ratio between those who oppose the NATO intervention and those
who see the need for strong military force to stop the Milosevic regime.  
Not exactly an fair mix of opinions at that time.  After some arm
twisting, the organizers did invite the Nation's own UN correspondent, Ian
Williams and others who have been active on the Balkan issue throughout
the 1990's so the roster is now more balanced.  This 4-hour event is
expecting an audience of 600.

In my opinon, the roster still contains some shocking surprises......not
the least of which is that not a single Kosovar or Albanian has been
invited. (Perhaps the ferocious self-titled Serbian-American spokesman,
Bill Dorich, or the new darling of the humanitarian movement, Ariana
Huffington, can "teach us" what the Kosovars might need.  :)  Sorry, just
a little sarcasm there.)

Call your local public radio station to see if they are planning to carry
this event.  For more details on the satellite information, you might call
KPFK at 818/985-2711 and maybe they can help get your local station to air
this unique broadcast.

Submitted by:
Nalini Lasiewicz
Lasiewicz Foundation
tel:  323/668-1811

For Immediate Release - May 1999
>From the web site:

Contact: Jim Clarke, Ex Dir, So Cal Americans for Democratic Action

On the War in Yugoslavia and U.S. Military Policy

Co-hosted by Southern California Americans for Democratic Action
"The largest and most active chapter of the nation's oldest, independent
liberal political organization", The Nation Institute and public radio
station, KPFK.

This live event will be broadcast on KPFK-90.7FM in So. Calif and fed by
satallite to some 300 public radio stations throughout the US, making is a
truly national event.


Ramsey Clark
Former U. S. Attorney General

Arianna Huffington
syndicated columnist & author

Tom Hayden
California State Senator

Dennis Kucinich
U.S. Congressman (D-OH)

George Kenney
Former Yugoslavia Desk Officer, U.S. State Dept.

Lila Garrett  President
So. Calif. Americans for Democratic Action

Rabbi Steven Jacobs  Member
Rev. Jesse Jackson Peace delegation

Harold Meyerson
L. A. Weekly Executive

William Dorich
Serbian Journalist & Author "Kosovo"

Christopher Layne
MacArthur Foundation Fellow

Ben Schwarz
Former executive editor World Policy Journal

Richard Becker
Western Reg. Dir., International Action Center

Saul Landau
Pacifica Radio correspondent

Blase Bonpane
Office of the Americas

Richard Walden
CEO, Operation USA

Jim Lafferty
Exec. Dir., National Lawyers Guild

Peter Antonijevic
Yugoslav-American Council

Salam Al-Mayarati
Muslim Public Affairs Council - So. Calif.

Robert Scheer
L.A. Times

Robert Farrell
Forner L.A. City Council Member

Saul Halpert
Former TV Broadcaster

Vera Cecilio, MD

Eric Mann
Labor /Community Strategy Center

Raoul O'Connell
UCLA Students Against the War

Mark Schubb
General Manager, KPFK

Ian Williams
UN Correspondent for the Nation

Marc Cooper - Moderator
The Nation & radio station KPFK

---partial list of speakers---

Sponsored by So. Calif. Americans for Democratic Action,
public radio station KPFK (FM 90.7) & The Nation Institute.

Sunday, May 23, 1999
3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Leo Baeck Temple
1300 N. Sepulveda Blvd.

West Los Angeles (across from the Getty Center)

Suggested donation $10 For Reservations call 323-852-9190

(Reserved & pre-paid tickets held at the door. Limited number of tickets will
be available at the event.)

On-site and off-site parking with shuttle. Please arrive before 2:00 - 2:15

Bus stop at the Temple for Santa Monica Municipal Bus Lines #14 & MTA #561

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 10:48:52 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <>
Subject: (fwd) Stratfor Global Intelligence Update (May 17, 1999)

Global Intelligence Update
Weekly Analysis May 17, 1999

China, Russia, and the Politics of Manic-Depression


Over the past few weeks, Russia and China have engaged in intense,
manic-depressive foreign policy, shifting between sullen quiet, to near
war-frenzy, to friendly cooperation.  Before one prescribes medications,
this behavior should be seen as the natural, terminal maneuvers of powers
that are trying to get the West's attention and are not quite sure what to
do with that attention once they get it.  It is not that the behavior is
not ominous.  It represents the process of great powers going into
opposition to a super-power.  But the behavior is the symptom, not the
problem itself.  The problem is that the structure of the international
system dictates an anti-American Russo-Chinese alliance, and very little
can stop that.


It has been fascinating over the past two weeks to observe the gyrations
of China and Russia, as they carry out their terminal maneuvers on the way
to an anti-American, anti-Western alliance.  Right after the bombing of
Kosovo began Russia went ballistic, in its more extreme moments even
threatening the United States with nuclear war.  China remained sullen but
relatively quiet.  Then Russia turned mellow, trying to work with the West
while China went ballistic over the bombing of the Embassy and a host of
other issues.  It is amazing the extremes at which both countries are
operating their foreign policies at the moment.

The intense mood swings are, of course, calculated and have rational
goals.  Russia and China individually are trying to achieve three things. =
First, they want to get the attention and concern of the United States and
the major powers linked to the United States, like Germany and Japan. =20
Second, they want to generate a substantial level of concern within the
United States concerning the direction of relations with each of them. =20
Russia and China both hope to increase their leverage within the
relationship and ideally extract political and, more important, financial
concessions from a concerned United States that is hoping to appease them
and avoid a new Cold War.  Finally, they hope to create serious fear among
America's allies, like Japan and Germany, concerning trends in U.S.
foreign policy, in the hope of being able to split the American alliance,
further weakening the United States.

Thus, periodically, each generates a major confrontation with the United
States in which it appears that a catastrophic collision is about to take
place.  They then allow themselves to be placated by the United States and
its allies, extracting economic concessions in return for
politico-military quiescence.  The trick for each is to recreate the image
of the Cold War as a reminder of the bad old days.  The Russian
announcement that the Black Sea Fleet would sortie, and mobs of Chinese
hurling stones at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, all served to remind
everyone how bad things could get.  That set the stage for the next phase,
which was bargaining on the price for not letting things get that bad.

We do not believe that Russia and China are cooperating on this.  Quite
the contrary.  In a certain sense, they are now competitors for the West's
limited attentions.  Particularly in Washington, where the ability to
handle multiple foreign policy issues is at a historical low point,
getting priority treatment requires threats of nuclear war and riots in
front of embassies. The similarity in Russia's and China's behavior has
much more to do with the similarity of their strategic and economic
positions relative to the United States than it does to do with
conspiracy. Both need the same thing from the United States and the West:
financial help and collaboration.  Neither will get as much as they want
and need, based strictly on economic considerations.  Each needs to find
levers to extract more.  Thus, in an odd sense, they are competitors,
posturing intensely to try to get attention and help.

Consider Russia's maneuvering.  Immediately after the beginning of the
Serbian war, it appeared that Primakov's Russia was about to launch a new
Cold War.  Yeltsin brilliantly allowed Primakov to position Russia in
complete and hostile opposition to NATO.  He then brought Chernomyrdin out
of retirement. Chernomyrdin, an old stalwart of the reform days, appeared
to be a dinosaur out of the past.  Chernomyrdin delivered two messages. =20
The first was that there was still a chance at reform in Russia.  The
second was that Russia would help NATO in Kosovo in return for financial
aid.  Suddenly, $4.5 billion was shaken loose; not enough to bring
Milosevic to the peace table, but enough to cause Yeltsin to dump Primakov
and appoint a new Prime Minister of ambiguous ideology.  Outmaneuvering
the communists in the Duma by getting Zhironovsky to double cross them
(the price for that is not yet clear), Yeltsin is now in a position to
bargain with the West.  Indeed, Michael Camdessus, head of the IMF, said
on Sunday that the IMF was now ready to work with Russia on additional

Of course, Camdessus also said that Russia would have to institute new
reforms in order to get that money. The new Prime Minister said on Sunday
"Everything is simple here.  Once the Duma passes legislation and endorses
the new government, loans will start coming."  Stepashin, of course, is
still euphoric at the prospect of becoming Prime Minister, and he is not
thinking as clearly as he should.  Obviously, the Duma must pass new
legislation in order to get the IMF to grant new loans.  But that
legislation will include massive austerity in an already impoverished
Russia, as well as a battle for taxes with oligarchs busy shipping money
to the West.  If it were really that easy, it would have been done months

This is the problem with all of this maneuvering.  It is pointless. No
matter how much money the West provides, Russia cannot recover from its
problems because those problems are deeply rooted structural and cultural
defects in the Russian system that make it impossible for it to, if you
will, metabolize money effectively.  Put differently, if it doesn't turn
into capital, it doesn't become productive.  Money sent to Russia remains
money to be spent on imported luxuries, used to bribe opposition
politicians, or stolen.  It does not create economic growth.  Thus, the
maneuvering gets the West's attention followed by ineffective assistance,
inertia, and the return to the crisis stage.

China is a similar case, albeit far from as hopeless economically.
Nevertheless, after a series of entirely unsatisfactory bilateral meetings
at several levels, tremendous criticism from the United States on human
rights, the investigation of Chinese financial aid to Bill Clinton, the
espionage scandal and a general decline in relations, the Chinese saw the
bombing of their embassy as a marvelous opportunity to redefine their
relations with the United States.  Taking a page from Moscow's book, they
recreated the world prior to the rise of Deng Xiaping, complete with
howling mobs and resolutions condemning American hegemonism.  The bombing
of the Embassy, had it happened in 1991 in Baghdad, would have been
managed with a harsh protest and an apology. In 1999, it was turned into
opera by a China hoping to make its point.

That got the U.S.'s attention but, as with Russia, it was not clear what
the Chinese wanted that the U.S. and the West could give them.  Everyone
rushed forward to see what could be done about World Trade Organization
membership for China. However, given the structural dynamics of 1999 as
opposed to 1995 and given China's unofficial economic crisis, it was not
clear what WTO membership would do for China.  It was also unclear what
else could be rationally offered.  Massive new investments on the order of
the earlier years of the decade are hardly likely when the U.S. economy is
so attractive and investors in China are merely hoping to break even at
some point.

Nevertheless, China's Cold War posturing is every bit as impressive as was
Russia's.  For example, the May 13 South China Morning Post reported that
China is abandoning the low- key foreign policy established by Deng
Xiaoping and moving toward a more aggressive approach.  The shift in
policy, unnamed sources said in the report, was made following the NATO
bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.  It was partially in response
to student demonstrations against the U.S. Embassy in China.  The source
said, "In internal talks, Politburo members expressed fears that the
students would next stage protests against a 'weak central Government'
unless Beijing counters threats to national security."  The idea that
China would take a knee-jerk decision in reaction to a group of students
throwing rocks at a foreign embassy and totally reverse a foreign policy
that has stood for ten years is unlikely.  Instead, China is using the
opportunity presented by the anti-American demonstrations to declare to
the world that the U.S. and NATO are forcing China into a new role,
despite the fact that it has already been pursuing this new policy for
some time.

In response to China's overstated warnings of being forced by its own
citizens into a more aggressive stance, the U.S. is planning to send in a
former admiral as the new ambassador to China.  The choice of a military
man to take the position reflects the administration's view of the
potential Chinese threat.  More importantly, the prospective nominee for
ambassador to China is Admiral Joseph Prueher, commander of the U.S.
Pacific Force from 1996 to March 1999.  While Prueher was instrumental in
expanding Chinese-U.S. military cooperation and exchanges, he was also in
charge in 1996 when the U.S. sent carriers into the Taiwan Strait to
demonstrate U.S. resolve vis-=85-vis Chinese interference in Taiwan's
elections.  This makes Prueher a prime candidate in dealing with China who
is unlikely to be strenuously opposed by the Republican-dominated

The real danger here is that during these periodic, ritual chest- thumping
episodes, the situation might genuinely get out of hand. Yeltsin
skillfully reigned in the anti-Western forces he helped unleash.  The old
fox never ceases to amaze us.  However, he will go to the well one time
too many, and unleash forces that even he can't control.  The same is true
in China.  The leadership can whip up anti-American frenzy on demand.  It
is not clear that they will always be able to control it.  In the end, it
won't matter.  The tendency toward anti-Americanism and therefore to some
form of alliance is, we believe, irreversible. The path toward that end,
however, is twisted and quite noisy. The noise, whether from Moscow or
Beijing, is not the real issue.  There is lightning behind the thunder.


To receive free daily Global Intelligence Updates,
sign up on the web at:
or send your name, organization, position, mailing
address, phone number, and e-mail address to

504 Lavaca, Suite 1100
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-583-5000
Fax: 512-583-5025

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL:  contact: