Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"To Kill A Nation" by Michael Parenti [33]


It's a dour world Michael Parenti lives in. The Western campaign against innocent Yugoslavia continued (this book was published in 2000) as Milosevic held firm and Serbians refused to completely give up on socialism and state sovereignty. Yes, Parenti holds firm to this delusion to the bitter end.

This campaign of aggression and intimidation took many forms, he informs the hypothetically outraged reader. Massive financial and material support for pro-Western political parties--which he uniformly regards as Western stooges whether the locale is Serbia or Bulgaria or Ukraine or any other formally Communist country. Economic sanctions and support for Montenegrin secession--no hint that just possibly the Montenegrin people might have decided they wanted out of the failing, war-obsessed kleptocracy that Milosevic had made of his nation. Parenti throws up the alarm flags by noting that General Wesley Clark had made plans for possible military action should Montenegro breakaway against Serbian military resistance--as if the US military doesn't routinely make plans for all sorts of possible and even merely hypothetical scenarios.

Instability in Albanian-majority areas in Serbia was certainly not good news for anybody, but why Parenti thinks this should be a sign of Western plotting is far from clear. Hypothetical discussions about autonomy for Vojvodina, or even annexation by Hungary, are also thrown into the mix without any context or substantiation. I'm sure that certain elements in Hungary and among Serbia's Hungarian minority said and wrote all sorts of things during this period. What of it? Parenti has nothing further to add.

And then comes the most stunning accusation--assassination. Parenti actually suggests that the West was behind the spate of political murders in Serbia at this time, his only evidence consisting of the fact that many of the victims were members of the Socialist Party or otherwise connected to Milosevic--he being such a paragon of loyalty and integrity. I wonder if Parenti thinks George Tenet had Arkan offed?

And so this chapter sputters along, throwing disparagement at Serbia's democratic opposition and waxing nostalgic for the good old days of Soviet-backed state socialist dictatorships throughout Eastern Europe. It is a pathetically anti-climatic way to end this book, but then Parenti's vision is far too cramped and intellectually constricted to reach any rhetorical or ideological heights. All he can do is take empty, baseless potshots at an imagined capitalist edifice of his own imagining. His descent into ultra-nationalist apology is complete; his surrender to the dark shadows of conspiracy, ethnic collectivism, and paranoia is total. He is a parody of a genuine radical who has written a groveling paean to 21st-Century tribalism and anti-modernist racialism disguised as progressive social criticism. What a wasted labor this book is. What a disgrace.


Anonymous said...

I think the following statement described Michael Parenti better than his mother would ever be capable of, quote:

"He is a parody of a genuine radical who has written a groveling paean to 21st-Century tribalism and anti-modernist racialism disguised as progressive social criticism."

No reasonable individual will stand up for Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and similar dictators.

Milosevic was defending himself against 66 (yes, 66!) charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. No reasonable individual would think that international judgest at the Hague would found Milosevic "innocent" of all 66 charges against him. Think about it: What are the chances that Milosevic would be found innocent of all charges?

Michael Parenti is distortionist, plain and simple.

Thank you for exposing his flaws in reasoning, and congratulations for being nominated for the best educational blog.

Anonymous said...

Just wanna say thanks!
You are the best.

Anonymous said...

go micheal parenti!
just because he dared to tread where others havent before!

Kirk Johnson said...

Anonymous, all kinds of people have "dared" to tread the same tired ground Parenti has...much of his book is simply a rehash of an easily-discredited revisionist narrative.

You need better heroes.