Hoisted/Smackdown: On the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia...: May 31, 2006: Having made the mistake of having joked about Noam Chomsky and so provoked a Chomskyite troll eruption that was painful to clean out, I believe that I have to make my position clear:
Noam Chomsky is a liar.
For example, Noam Chomsky says:
On the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia, Noam Chomsky interviewed by Danilo Mandic: Director of Communications [for Clinton Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott], John Norris.... [T]ake a look on John Norris's book and what he says is that the real purpose of the war had nothing to do with concern for Kosovar Albanians. It was because Serbia was not carrying out the required social and economic reforms, meaning it was the last corner of Europe which had not subordinated itself to the US-run neoliberal programs, so therefore it had to be eliminated. That's from the highest level...
John Norris simply does not say what Chomsky says Norris says. "Reform[ing] their economies, mitigat[ing] ethnic tensions, and broaden[ing] civil society" is simply not the same thing as "subordinat[ing] itself to the US-run neoliberal programs". NATO moved against Milosevic because he had proceeded "from mass murder to mass murder", not because Serbia was evidence that economic prosperity was attainable by doing the opposite of what the U.S. recommended
Here's the passage from John Norris (2005), Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo (New York: Praeger), that Chomsky is misciting, p. xxii ff.:
For Western powers, the Kosovo crisis was fueled by frustration with Milsoevic and the legitimate fear that instability and conflict might spread further in the region, The evolving political aims of the Alliance and the changing nature of the transatlantic community also played a role. In that vein, it is useful to more broadly consider how NATO and Yugoslavia came to be locked in conflict....
NATO's large membership and consensus style may cause endless headaches for military planners, but it is also why joining NATO is appealing to nations across central and eastern Europe. Nations from Albania to Ukraine want in the western club. The gravitational pull of the community of western democracies highlights why Milosevic's Yugoslavia had become such an anachronism. As nations throughout the region sought to reform their economies, mitigate ethnic tensions, and broaden civil society, Belgrade seemed to delight in continually moving in the opposite direction. It is small wonder NATO and Yugoslavia ended up on a collision course. It was Yugoslavia's resistance to the broader trends of political and economic reform—not the plight of the Kosovar Albanians—that best explains NATO's war. Milosevic had been a burr in the side of the transatlantic community for so long that the United States felt that he would only respond to military pressure Slobodan Milosevice's repeated transgressions ran directly counter to the vision of a Europe 'whole and free', and challenged the very value of NATO's continued existence.
Many outsiders accuse western countries of selective intervention in Kosovo—fighting on a hair-trigger in the Balkans while avoiding the Sudans and Rwandas of the world. This was hardly the case. Only a decade of death, destruction, and Milosevic brinkmanship pushed NATO to act when the Rambouillet talks collapsed. Most of the leaders of NATO's major powers were proponents of 'third way' politics and headed socially progressive, economically centrist governments. None of these men were particularly hawkish, and Milosevic did not allow them the political breathing room to look past his abuses.
Through predatory opportunism, Milosevic had repeatedly exploited the weakest instincts of European and North American powers alike. Time and again, he had preserved his political power because nations mightier than his own lacked the political resolve to bring him to heel. His record was ultimately one of ruin, particularly for the Serbs, as Yugoslavia dwindled into a smaller and smaller state verging on collapse. It was precisely because Milosevic had become so adroit at outmaneuvering the west that NATO came to view the ever-escalating use of force as its only option. Nobody should be surprised that Milosevic eventually goaded the sleeping giant out of repose.
NATO went to war in Kosovo because its political and diplomatic leaders had enough of Milosevic and saw his actions disrupting plans to bring a wider stable of nations into the transatlantic community. Kosovo would only offer western leaders more humiliation and frustration if they did not forcefully respond U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's view of Milosevic was probably best revealed when she said that, at a certain stage at Rambouillet, it was evident that Milosevic was 'jerking us around'. In early June of 1999, German Minister Joschka Fischer rather angrily responded to those who questioned NATO's motives. Fischer observed that he had originally resisted military action, but that his views had changed, 'step by step, from mass murder to mass murder'...