THE ROBERT W. WHITAKER ARCHIVE

archives
articles

BALKAN PEACE: THE CASE FOR SEGREGATION | 1999-04-17

In Somalia, the American policy was "nation-building." In the Balkans, America insists it wants to help develop "truly multiethnic" states.

That is a natural development from our domestic policy of "multiculturalism."

And it is likely to be as great a success as "nation building" was in Somalia, and as healthy and productive as multiculturalism has been here.

What do you do with two people who have been trying for years to kill each other? What do you do with two people who, the moment they see each other, grab weapons and become violent?

According to NATO, you take those two people, lock them in a room together, and put a large guard in the room to prevent trouble. This, says American social doctrine, is the key to harmony in the Balkans.

The way to keep peace in the Balkans, we are told, is to keep those ethnic groups jammed together - multiculturalism, you know -- with lots of foreign troops to keep them from killing each other. Tito used to do the same thing in Yugoslavia with lots of soldiers and the secret police.

Liberals today are always talking about how WONDERFUL Tito was. Granted, they say, Tito killed people, and he imprisoned thousands of people without trial, and he had an outright, permanent dictatorship which he openly intended to maintain forever.

Sure Tito did all that, the liberals say. After all, nobody's perfect.

But Tito enforced multiculturalism. He killed or imprisoned anybody who objected to the ethnic mix he maintained anywhere he felt like maintaining it. There, say the liberals, was a guy who knew how to keep ethnic hatred under control.

That great guy Tito kept these ethnic groups living cheek-by-jowl, and he kept them peaceful. Just think of Tito as a guy who had a National Hate Law, and was just a little overenthusiastic in enforcing it.

Democrats and Republicans agree that it is now OUR turn to do the same thing to Yugoslavia that Tito did.

Two score and seven years ago, Tito enforced multiculturalism. Now we are now engaged in a Great Civil War, testing whether a Balkans so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.

Actually, there is no question that it CAN endure. You can keep people under the same roof despite the fact that they are bound and determined to do each other bodily harm. That proposition is proved every day in prisons and institutions for the criminally insane throughout the world. If you have enough walls, cages, and armed guards, people who want to kill each other can be kept in the same institution indefinitely, and most of them will survive.

Liberals and therefore respectable conservatives have often confused prisons with their ideal of a normal society. They used to do it all the time when they discussed immigration policy.

I remember that almost all political commentators used to routinely say that the American Border Patrol that kept Mexicans out of the United States was the same thing as the Berlin Wall, which kept East Germans from escaping their country's dictatorship.

The Washington (D.C.) Times used to repeat this line in almost every issue. It demanded that America get rid of all its immigration restrictions. It stated that the Border Patrol on the Rio Grande was exactly the same thing as the Berlin Wall! The Times is certainly not liberal , but it is libertarian, and libertarians are just as nutty on immigration policy as liberals are.

After The Times repeated this libertarian nonsense for the fiftieth time, I wrote them a letter explaining something any sane person should know: there was a difference between the United States border Patrol and the Berlin Wall. I did this by reminding them of a local institution with which they were familiar, the District of Columbia jailhouse.

The guards at the DC jail don't just keep people INSIDE the jail. They also keep people who don't belong there OUT of the DC jail. After all, you can't just walk into that jail, any more than you can just walk out of it. The guards will not let you stay in the DC jail unless a judge orders them to.

Using the DC jail example, I explained that there is a difference between being kept INSIDE a prison like East Germany, and being kept OUTSIDE a wealthy, free country like the United States.

In that letter, I pointed out that the difference between being INSIDE the DC jail and OUTSIDE the DC jail was exactly the difference between being inside East Germany with the guards keeping you IN, and being a Mexican in Mexico with the United States Border Patrol keeping you OUT.

The guards at the DC jail would not let you into the jail unless you have a legal reason to be there. But nobody resents that. Like East Germany, the DC jail was a place nobody really WANTED to get INTO. Those same guards do not let people who are IN the jail get OUT.

The people in the jail, unlike people outside, really resent the fact that they are not let OUT by those guards. People want INTO the United States, and the guards keep them in their OWN countries. It is their own countries that are the prisons, not the United States. The problem with East Germany and the DC jail, I had to explain to these clowns, was not that the world outside the DC jail or the United States was bad. It was the DC jail and East Germany that were bad.

I had to explain that.

To grownups.

It was a very hard letter to write. It is very, very hard to explain reality to liberals and respectable conservatives, because when you start to explain something every sane person should already understand, you begin to sound as crazy as they are.

I will say this for the libertarians at the Washington Times. After I wrote that letter, they no longer made the insane comparison between the United States Border Patrol and the Berlin Wall. They switched to other utterly insane statements about immigration, but they no longer made THAT one.

The liberal intellectual hothouse is not so flexible. They have a host of people to protect them from reality. They have respectable conservatives and thousands of PhDs to tell them that, no matter how crazy liberals get, what they say should be taken very, very seriously.

The problem with leftists is that there is no one to tell them that they are, quite simply, nuts.

When one points out to liberals and respectable conservatives that the Balkans is essentially a madhouse, and the thing to do is to SEPARATE the violent inmates, they keep insisting that they have a duty to keep them locked in together. They have a duty to Eternal Justice.

By Eternal Justice, they mean whatever distribution of the Balkan population was made by the latest despotism, which happens to have been that of Marshall Tito.

With certain exceptions, of course. One particular population movement -- the one that gave Prestina an Albanian ethnic majority -- is holy. Therefore this particular population and border settlement must be maintained at all costs. This ethnic Albanian majority must be kept in Prestina, no matter what the cost in lives or treasure, theirs or others'.

But there was also a recent major ethnic cleansing of Serbians by Croatians. That is a different matter. For some reason, that one did not offend the holy cause of multiculturalism.

NATO says it's just as concerned about that case, where the Croatians cleaned out the Serbians, as they are about the Prestina situation.

I'm sure we all believe that, despite the absence of bombers over Croatia, or of any discussion of the matter by NATO.

The fact is that there are not going to be bombers flying in to force those Serbians back into Croatia. It won't be done because, now that Croatia is at peace, nobody wants to put it back into a state of war.

That would be crazy, right?

We are all perfectly aware that the justice of where any population happens to reside in the Balkans at any given time would not survive a moment's serious discussion. There is no justice in the Balkans. There is no record that there has EVER been any justice in Balkans.

The bottom line is this: No one hesitates to move populations by force if it's for integration. If you want to shove people around to enforce multiculturalism, the United States Army is at your disposal.

I have truly radical proposal

How about moving populations for a SANE reason, for a change? Instead of keeping the bloodbath going forever in the Balkans, why don't we do in the Balkans what a sane policy would do in any other madhouse: separate the inmates.

Present doctrine, agreed upon by liberals, respectable conservatives, moderates, intellectuals and libertarians, requires us to keep NATO in the Balkans forever, so we can keep these violently hostile populations jammed as closely together as possible. All these geniuses agree that it CAN be done.

As I said above, talking about reality to all these liberals, moderates, libertarians, intellectuals, PhDs, and respectable conservatives is always a very, very uncomfortable thing to do. As I also explained above, when you have to explain something that any sane human being should already know, it makes you feel a little crazy yourself.

Nonetheless, let us once again forget respectability and go for sanity.

In a prison, you CAN keep the loonies with the general population. But in most real prisons, the truly, insanely violent inmates are separated from the general prison population. The name of this process is called "segregation." Even in a PRISON, if you have two inmates who are absolutely dedicated to killing each other, you SEGREGATE them.

Even in an institution for the criminally insane, no one, INCLUDING THE INMATES, would suggest that you put those who want to kill each other in the same cell with a guard to keep them apart.

If an inmate in an institution for the criminally insane suggested what is now the official policy in the Balkans, declared by NATO, liberals, respectable conservatives, moderates, intellectuals, libertarians, and the American media, they would never let him out.

I have suggested sanity for the Balkans. I can hear the screams now: "Apartheid!" "Ethnic cleansing!" "Hitler!"

But labels only bother RESPECTABLE conservatives.

I will take sanity over respectability any day.

In the Balkans, sanity means separation.