WikiLeaks releases have not prompted a major reassessment of the U.S. foreign policy thus far, but the documents are nevertheless helpful in upgrading some tentative conclusions into incontrovertible facts. An interesting case in point is the relationship between Serbia and the United States.
Two months ago I wrote that for some years now President Boris Tadić and his cohorts have been conspiring with their foreign mentors to give up on Kosovo while pretending otherwise, and that they have capitulated to Brussels and Washington on all fronts. The above assessment has now become a “known known” thanks to WikiLeaks: Tadić and his team are acting exactly as described. Particularly noteworthy is a report sent last February 10 by the U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade, Mary Worlick, on her conversation with Tadić’s foreign policy advisor Jovan Ratković a week earlier:
Serbia intended to continue its cooperation with the U.S. on sensitive intelligence matters and to increase defense cooperation … The Ambassador conveyed U.S. concerns about indications that Serbia would continue to take a confrontational approach on Kosovo … Dismissing the question of whether Serbia would seek an UNGA resolution calling for new status talks as a ‘mere tactical issue’ Ratkovic said the Presidency was focused on the bigger question … Tadic believes that Serbia cannot remain outside of NATO forever, but doesn’t say this often because of the political sensitivity of the issue.
JOINT CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE - To start with, it is evident that “the Presidency” is violating the constitution of Serbia, adopted in 2006, by usurping the powers to define and execute the country’s security, defense and foreign policies, all of which are explicitly reserved for the Government.
Tadić is also acting in violation of the National Assembly Resolution on Military Neutrality (December 2007), which precludes NATO membership. He is acting contrary to the overwhelming opposition of the people of Serbia to joining an alliance that illegally bombed Serbia for 78 days in 1999 before amputating a part of its sovereign territory and turning it into a hotbed of organ-harvesting jihadist criminality. He is acting contrary to his own public statements ("Serbia will remain neutral"), while at the same time his aides are providing conspiratorial assurances to the U.S. Ambassador that such words should not be taken seriously: the President is not telling the nation what he really thinks because the issue is so politically sensitive.
Worse still, Tadić is violating his oath of office which pledges him to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, including Kosovo as its integral part. The extent to which he treated the UN General Assembly resolution as a mere “tactical issue“ became obvious on September 10. On that day Serbia effectively surrendered its claim to Kosovo when Tadić arbitrarily altered the text of the draft UN resolution – previously adopted by the Government of Serbia and duly approved by the Assembly – to exclude any mention of Kosovo's disputed status. He acted unconstitutionally both by usurping the powers not vested in his office and by violating his pledge to defend Serbia’s territorial integrity.
SUPPORTING UNITARY BOSNIA - According to Ambassador Worlick, Ratković reiterated to her that the Serbian government supported the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina “and would not be swayed by what he claimed was the desire of the majority of Republika Srpska residents to secede and merge with Serbia”:
In this context, Serbia also supported BiH’s entry into EU and NATO as a way to stabilize the country and cement the current borders. … He expressed regret that the Butmir process had not produced agreement since many of the elements of the plan were acceptable to all three constituent peoples… As Tadic’s foreign policy advisor, Ratkovic’s comments come closest to reflecting the President’s views and vision on issues across the spectrum.
There is no doubt that those comments do reflect Tadić’s views. Those views are catastrophic for the interests of the Serbian state and Serbian people. The “Butmir process” the failure of which Tadić regrets is a misnomer for a concerted attempt by Hillary Clinton’s deputy James Steinberg, in late 2009, to coerce the Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska) into self-liquidation. The Bosnian Serbs unsurprisingly rejected the proposals because they would have stripped them of the remaining elements of self-rule guaranteed by the Dayton Agreement. Now we know – and not only suspect, as before – that Tadić is stabbing them in the back, in violation of Serbia’s political pledge and legal obligation to uphold and protect the Dayton Agreement, to which Belgrade is a party.
DENOUNCING RUSSIA - The Russians, long supportive of Serbia's official position on Kosovo, are likely to take a jaundiced view of the revelation that Tadić and his people are privately denouncing them to the Americans. In discussions detailed in a diplomatic cable marked "secret" and sent to Washington by US chargée d'affaires Jennifer Brush in September 2009, Miki [Miodrag] Rakić, Tadić's chief of staff, told Brush that General Ratko Mladić is being assisted by "foreign sources" and hints darkly that Moscow may have better information about Mladić's exact situation than does the Serbian government.
"Russia has not been forthcoming on Serbia's requests for assistance in locating Hague indictee Mladić, presidential adviser Miki Rakić told us on August 25 ," says the cable. Tadić is frustrated with the lack of Russian help, his chief of staff added conspiratorially: "Asking that the information 'remain at this table', Rakić told us that he had posed a series of questions about specific contacts between Mladić associates and Russian diplomats, as well as 'phone calls and trips to Russia by Mladić associates'."
SERBIA'S BENEDICT ARNOLD - A day before Julian Assange surrendered to the British police last week, the authorities in Serbia announced – unpromted by anyone – that he would be immediately arrested if he came to Belgrade. Back then this gesture, however despicable, looked merely like Tadić's obsequiousness to his foreign mentors. Now that WikiLeaks have revealed the character of Boris Tadić and the nature of his regime, the President of Serbia has solid personal reasons for wishing Mr. Assange ill.