Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Three [1]


Diana Johnstone sets her sights on Balkan history in this chapter. She intends to set the record straight about nationalism in the former Yugoslavia. The title of this chapter, "Comparative Nationalisms" really says it all. Apparantly, Ms. Johnstone isn't quite finished lecturing us ignorant Westerners.

This should be fun.


This chapter, like the others, is broken into sections. As before, she sets it up with a brief, introductory paragraph. And, as usual, she gets it wrong from the get-go.

"Throughout the 1990s, "nationalism" was widely denounced, with the Yugoslav disaster given as the prime illustration of where it could lead. However, the condemnation of Serbian nationalism as the arch villain supposedly opposing "multiculturalism" led to tacit endorsement of the sparatist nationalisms that were tearing apart the multinational state of Yugoslavia. Anti-nationalism in theory became pro-nationalism in practice."

Johnstone must get lonely a lot; how else do we explain her fond attachment to that great strawman, the Clueless Western Idealist. Did you know that all those people speaking out against alleged genocide in Bosnia were really just misguided advocates for "multiculturalism"? (Must remember the quotes--regular readers of this ongoing review will recall how putting words in quotes when nobody is being quoted and/or the word is being used in its proper context is a bizarre Johnstone specialty).

Other than that, we are in familiar territory here; the Serbs only wanted to keep Yugoslavia together, it was the other national groups who wanted to tear it apart, etc. Remember, throughout this chapter, that Johnstone is operating under the twin assumptions that:

1) the national identities of different Yugoslav groups were fixed, collective in nature, and grounded in distant history; and

2) the borders of the republics--especially Bosnia--were merely administrative borders dating from communist rule. The historical basis for Bosnia's modern borders don't exist in her world; then again, she doesn't acknowledge the historical basis for the Bosnian state, period.

We will touch on these points repeatedly. These two premises underly much of the analysis which follows.

I will begin section 1, "From State-Building to State-Breaking"--her survey of Serb nationalism--tomorrow.

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