Vojislav Kostunica – Milosevic’s Opponent or Successor?

from Ideology to Aggression

4 july 2006 / TN / Taken from Nacional.hr

Milosevic’s election rival Kostunica daily states that he will not renounce his deepest national emotions; in Kosovo he posed smiling with a rifle in hand and has persistently defended Karadzic

Nenad Canak was likely trying to explain this when he said: “Kostunica is not the future of this country, but rather he is a man who needs to play the role of the first step to removing Milosevic from his position, and that is all”.
On Sunday, August 13, Nenad Canak, president of the Social Democratic League of Vojvodina, called upon Serbian voters, in spite of everything, to “plug their noses” and to vote for the united opposition.

When the issue is removing Milosevic from power, the citizens of Serbia would likely be prepared to eliminate their “sense of smell”, but this time, that will not be enough. The contribution is, no more, no less, than common sense.

The reason for this can be shown not only through recollections on the democratic balance of Serbia in the last decade, but also through analysis of the realistic, strategic opinions of the politics embodied in the candidacy of Vojislav Kostunica. Certain citizens of Serbia have not a personal aversion, but rather an aversion in principle to Kostunica, when they recall his smiling face in Kosovo two and a half years ago when he posed for photographers, rifle in hand.

Other citizens of Serbia have not a personal aversion, but rather an aversion in principle to Kostunica, when they recall his persistence defense of Radovan Karadzic and his national concept which took the lives of thousands of people in Bosnia. That principle, in other words, has come out of the belief that Vojislav Kostunica defended those individuals and those political options which have been proclaimed criminal by the rest of the democratic world. These recollections in and of themselves would not be so frightful were it not Kostunica himself that were provoking them.

As the presidential candidate for the Democratic Opposition of Serbia, in recent days he has not passed up a single opportunity to emphasize that he has not turned his back on his “deepest national emotions and political inclinations”. Serbs, who otherwise suffer from collective amnesia for the simple reason that one cannot live with the sheer amount of evil, certainly do not need a politician who would remove the vampires of the past from their graves. In addition, this is what Vojislav Zeselj is already doing, suggesting that they return all of the “lost Serbian land”. It is certain that in this political rhetoric, Kostunica cannot compete.

Of course, it is not recommended to teach politicians the ABCs of politics, where one of the first rules is that politics stems from reason, and not from emotion. The issue is a simple exchange of themes, which is often in practice by the governing regime. Each analysis based on the rationalization of the problems in Serbia is cast aside with the argument that everyone who loves the Serbian nation cannot think so critically and heartlessly of the last decade of Serbian history. What is the problem?

The problem is simply that there has not been a politician who could explain to the nation several basic facts. First, that the Serbian state, which we often refer to, perhaps subconsciously, as a concept of space, does not exist. It is not known where its borders begin, and where they end. Second, the Yugoslav state also does not exist.

Montenegro is only on paper a member of the allied states. In addition, even if everything within the Yugoslav alliance were in the best order, the fact is that it is still not an internationally recognized state. Third, that the Serbian economy is on its last legs, and that in the last ten years everyone that could has left, especially highly educated experts. Also that the nation was severely demolished during NATO bombing, and that in the last ten years, technology has not been upgraded or replaced, the nation has been isolated from the world and has been subject to a regime of harsh sanctions. We can continue, however, and this is sufficient for the apocalyptic mosaic which is filled by the main actors of Serbian politics, who do not have the courage to admit that the centuries old dream of a Greater Serbia has been historically defeated.

Complete Failure

In spite of everything, Vojislav Kostunica holds most important his “national emotions”, which imply, as he himself said, the rejection of verbal and material support from the United States, for the US, along with Milosevic is “most responsible for the many years of suffering endured by the Serbian people”. Of course, he does not mention the suffering of all those people who were the victims of Milosevic’s national policies, the policies which Vojislav Kostunica has been a supporter of all these years.

Indeed, he even announced that he would quickly normalize relations with those countries that Serbia was not at war with, meaning Europe, and most slowly, of course, with its neighboring states. It could be said that this, from the foreign policy perspective, is completely characteristic for Serbia.

Like when the ruling regime suggested to its citizens that Russia was willing to enter into a world war for the sake of Serbia, and then when all of those hopes were not fulfilled, they remained firm in their belief that the Russian and Western interests were opposite, now Kostunica is trying to “play” on the opposite interests of Europe and America. Like in the former story, Serbia is an important weight on the scales of disbalance, and Kostunica is no more or less than an important factor in world politics. Then where exactly, is the problem in the conflict between the head and the heart?

It is in the inability to realistically see the position of Serbia in the world, and to see the possible exit from the complete failure which is threatening an entire nation and county. Kostunica can not see this because he simply loves his nation and his people so much that he is not capable of seeing that Serbia is a small country, with not enough people to fulfill the role which was intended for them. Therefore, he tried, in his imaginary world, where he is seen as an important man, to speak arrogantly and to make demands. To whom? To America.

It would be very nice, and Kostunica would be seen as the “tough guy” of European anti-Americanism if the Americans only cared about that, which, unfortunately, they don’t. The only one who should care about what kind of future relations they will have with America would be Serbia itself. Not only because this is a world superpower, unusually important for the European continent, but also because during the 20th century, Serbia has received significant financial and economic aid and political support from America. However, besides the Kosovo conflict and the battle against the Turks in the world politics and activities of the intellectual elite, nothing else functions as historical knowledge, and I assume that Kostunica is not acquainted with that portion of Serbian history.

Orwellian Fata Morgana

There is something strange in failure. That is a refusal to look the truth in the eye. The regime does this by increasing the result of “renewal and construction”, with an attempt to reaffirm their “indefiniteness” and its role as the main opponent in the fight against the “New World movement”.

Television spots with flowery meadows and fat cows who feed upon them and happy young men and women which will ensure the biological renewal of Serbia are further arguments for the projection of this picture of the present and future. The united opposition has given its contribution to this Orwellian fata morgana emphasizing that they will certainly beat Milosevic in the elections, and that with Vojislav Kostunica at the head, as an example of a principled and uncorrupt man. Principled in what? Likely in this political orientation in which various public opinion polls have shown that Kostunica is a candidate who is respected by the voters of the competition.

For example, the public polls showed that 19% of radicals were prepared to vote for him. Of course, all of these calculations count if over 70% of the voters in Serbia go to the polls, which is, of course, enough to see the intentions to falsify of the election results by the old regime. But this is not all.

To be or not, Serbia assumes the accusation of all those who do not feel that Kostunica is an alternative to Milosevic, and this with the exceptional claim that each citizen who does not go to the polls has “practically given their vote to Milosevic”. In this short “history of failure”, it is also important to note the particular candidate Vojislav Mihailovic of the Serbian Renewal Movement, like the opposition’s accusations directed at Vuk Draskovic that he is “Slobo’s man”. Indeed, their argument fails with the two attempted assassinations that Vuk barely survived, but otherwise, it could pass.

What is the truth? There is a huge likeliness that Milosevic will win the elections not because he is a democrat, but because he is not. Vojislav Kostunica, who is the head of the Democratic Party of Serbia received an average of 10% of the vote at previous elections does not have the energy, nor the ability to convince, nor an outlined program for the future.

For years he read his statements from his party’s headquarters, statements which were often, due to their nationalistic-patriotic atmosphere, or support for Milosevic’s national concepts, also broadcast on national television. On the other hand, Kostunica’s election campaign will be based on, as his campaign staff have announced, the slogan “we will not change anything in order to change everything”. He himself added that his campaign would “exclude the language of hate and revenge and everything that goes along with it”.

I believe that this kind of an election promise says only how the Democratic Opposition of Serbia has underestimated the citizens of its own nation. If a man is of sound reason, it is difficult for him to go to the polls and vote for a person who claims that he will change nothing, and in so doing will change everything. I have to pinch myself every time I hear this slogan, to see if I am awake or dreaming.

A Serbian peasant long ago immortalized this nebulous idea by his own politician in the old Serbian phrase, which combines within it the philosophy of the absurd and Einstein’s theory of relativity, which says: “It can be, but does not have to mean anything”. The only rational justification for this type of a statement is the fact that in Serbia, politics is a very dangerous profession. Hanging one’s dirty political wash out to dry and calling upon the responsibility of others can cost someone their head, which all of the actors in the opposition know well enough.

Nebulous Ideas

Therefore, they are trying, perhaps, to anesthetize the regime and its voting body by promising that nothing will happen if the Democratic Opposition of Serbia wins at the next elections. Naive, of course, but in this complete disorientation it is possible. There remains the question of how certain members of the united opposition, who certainly share Kostunica’s perspectives, and who themselves are examples of courage in judging the policies which have brought the Serbs ten years of war, and could accept his candidacy which assumes supporting his well known “emotions” and “beliefs”?

Nenad Canak was likely trying to explain this when he said:“Kostunica is not the future of this country, but rather he is a man who needs to play the role of the first step to removing Milosevic from his position, and that is all”. One must raise the question as to whether among all of the Serbian opposition there exists a man who could be the future of Serbia. If not, then wouldn’t it be, as a moral act, necessary to inform the public and inform them that Serbia does not have a political alternative? That its democratic opposition is not capable of thinking of the future outside of the continuity of those national options which has brought the country, the Serbian people and its citizens complete failure?

Three Realities

Perhaps the Serbian opposition did not have the time for this type of self-awareness! Furthermore, in the last months, they have only been dealing with “quotas” belonging to their individual parties, or rather the number of seats which they need to ensure for themselves. In addition, the licitations concerning who should take which of the promised political functions.
After the split of the Serbian renewal movement, they are now engaged in internal showdowns and messages to Vuk Draskovic to forget about coalitions at the local level. However, he has been responding with the same measures, dislocated from the Belgrade suburbs, in Budva, under the constant fear of a new assassination attempt. While the Serbian opposition exists in its own special reality, the citizens are living in another, and Milosevic and his people in a third. All three realities are in conflict with one another.
What is the solution in the end? I can only agree with my friend, journalist Peter Lukovic who, commenting on Kostunica’s candidacy, sided with those citizens who “took out passports yesterday, so that today they could flee to a world where there is no room for the likes of Milosevic and Kostunica”. I also support his standpoint that the dilemma between winners and losers is fictitious, for who cares when it comes out the same?
I am well aware that because of my standpoint, I could be proclaimed a person who damages the historical decision: vote against Slobo! But what can I do – principles, united with common sense are all I have left in my life. And in Serbia, the country in which I live, that alone is something.

Taken from Nacional.hr

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