Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Four [4]



Johnstone's determination to prove German responsibility for war in Yugoslavia is tiring. It's easy to understand why some of her admirers praise her erudition and wide-ranging field of knowledge--she's willing to go far and wide in search of quotes and anecdotes which fit the script she's writing. Her work in this section is quite impressive.

First, she quotes Rupert Scholz on the "consequences of World War I," in comments that she then attributes to a broad effort to whitewash German actions in the Balkans in both World Wars. Scholz maintained that Germans had a historic mandate to demonstrate solidarity in the region, specifically with Slovenia and Croatia.

Johnstone makes a crucial mistake next--she assumes that she can misrepresent the meaning of a quote simply because she has taken it out of context. Here is the quote:

" "Once such a recognition is carried out, then the Yugoslav conflict is no longer a matter of an internal political problem of Yugoslavia, in which there should be no international intervention," he pointed out. "

She then attempts to summarize the gist of Scholz's comments for him:

"Once Croatian and Slovenia were recognized as independent states, it would be possible, by obtaining an UN Security Council mandate, to exercise "international security responsibility" by means of military intervention."

And now she tells the reader what she wishes you to believe Scholz's meaning really was:

"Scholz's meaning was clear: rapid recognition of Croatia and Slovenia was designed not--as was officially claimed by the German government--to prevent military conflict, but to internationalize it, in order to justify outside military intervention, with German participation, under the auspices of either the UN or the OSCE."

[As always, underlined words in quoted passages were italicized in the original text.]

Johnstone's attempt to alter the rather clear meaning of Scholz's quote is clumsy and obvious; a sign that she is less shrewd and more deluded than I suspected earlier in this book. I no longer think she is a cynical ally of Serbian ultra-nationalism. I think she believes in her paranoid fantasies.


The rest of this section consists of a chronological leap that defies rational analysis. She quotes Scholz (who, in Johnstone's alternate universe, is apparantly vested with the authority to speak for all Germans at all times) speaking against calls for stability for its own sake (I'm paraphrasing slightly). His point was that a rigid insistence on existing borders might trap a people within a state hostile to their well-being or rights. He spoke of "unwanted" and "unnatural" states.

What did he mean by that? It's a good question, especially considering the ideology of the Bosnian Serb Republic versus the reality of Bosnia. Does Johnstone see the irony? Of course not--she is focused on the Germans. And for the next page and half, she segues from Scholz's 1991 speech to the writings and policies of--you guessed it--Adolf Hitler, without blinking an eye. In her telling, Scholz was merely articulating an old German idea of the "volk-state," an ethnic entity that trumped the civil state. Hitler was just one end of a consistent German spectrum of thought on the subject.

If you would like to discuss Johnstone's summary of Hitler's vision for the Third Reich, it's on page 170 of this book. In the next section, she attempts to elaborate the continuity of racialist, expansionist foreign policy in German from the time of the Kaisers right up to UN peacekeeping missions in Yugoslavia. You've been warned.

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