Serbia Surrenders to Germany
ALEXA STANKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images
On Friday, April 19, Serbia finally stopped fighting and surrendered to Germany. It’s hard to blame it. Attacked by its historical allies and demonized in the public press the world over, Serbia had no hope of winning. Rather than defying the rest of the world, it decided to submit to Germany on the best terms it could get. This was the pragmatic path. Now Serbia is on its way to joining the European Union and being welcomed back into the fold of Western democracy.
The negotiations centered on northern Kosovo, which is mostly inhabited by Serbs who refused to submit to the breakaway government of Kosovo. These areas are currently under Serbia’s control, but the agreement reached on Friday turned control of these Serbian regions over to Kosovo. In return, the areas will be given a lot of self-government. For example, their police and judiciary would be made up mostly of ethnic Serbs, although they must still come under Kosovar structures.
The implications, however, reach far beyond Kosovo. As Toby Vogel of the European Voice put it, this “historic” agreement “grants ethnic Serbs sweeping autonomy within Kosovo in exchange for Serbia’s de facto recognition of Kosovo’s independence.” The Associated Press wrote, “In what would be an extraordinary change, the deal appeared to recognize the authority of the Kosovo government over the north of the country, which is inhabited predominantly by ethnic Serbs.”
That’s why this agreement is significant. Serbia has done a deal with Kosovo—or rather, with their backers in Germany and elsewhere—that offers some recognition of Kosovo’s independence. This may be the best deal it could possibly get, but it is still a deal. Serbian leaders are no longer refusing to offer any kind of recognition of Kosovo’s independence as a point of principle.
Many in Serbia, and many Serbs in Kosovo, are completely against this. In northern Kosovo, up to 10,000 took to the streets of Mitrovica on April 22, saying that the Serbs that signed the deal were “traitors.” Thousands more protested in Belgrade. The Serbian Orthodox Church strongly condemned it, calling it a “clear surrender” of “our most important territory.”
But the deal seems likely to be approved by Serbia’s parliament later this week. It has already been approved in Kosovo. The resistance of the Serbs in Kosovo might prevent it from going into effect, but that doesn’t change the fundamental point: The Serbian government is willing to compromise with Germany.
Why sign the deal? Serbia gets nothing from Kosovo—it’s just giving up control of its territory. This concession is only slightly mitigated by the Serbs in Kosovo getting self-government.
The answer lies with Germany and the European Union. The EU channels a lot of money into its poorer eastern members. Even before officially joining, candidate countries get money from the EU to help them get ready for membership. Serbia already gets some money from the EU, but to move further toward EU membership—and the money and help it needs to rebuild its economy—Serbia needs Germany’s approval.
Just a few days earlier, on April 16, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle gave Serbia a blunt ultimatum: “An agreement on starting negotiations on Serbia joining the EU, which it would like to see this summer, will be significantly delayed if it does not reach a deal with Kosovo.” Instead, Westerwelle threatened to allow Kosovo to progress toward EU membership without Serbia. He held Serbia fully responsible for the fact that a deal had not been negotiated already, and gave Kosovo a free pass.
Just three days later, Serbia gave Germany the deal Westerwelle wanted.
Serbia sold out to Germany. It’s hard to blame the Serbian government too much, after all that Serbia’s been through. Serbia was sold out by its former allies, the United States and Great Britain, years before. It may have seemed nobler to take arms against its sea of troubles, but it ultimately would have been a lost cause. Serbia has no hope of regaining Kosovo.
As the Trumpet has written often, Germany was behind nato’s takeover of the Balkans from the very beginning. Germany triggered the break-up of Yugoslavia. In a war like this, both sides do horrible things. Describing the behavior of both the Axis and the Allies, Winston Churchill wrote, “When all was over, torture and cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilized, scientific, Christian states had been able to deny themselves: and they were of doubtful utility.”
Horrible things did happen in the Balkan wars. But the Western media focused only on the actions of the Serbs. nato bombed Kosovo in 1999, claiming to respond to Serbian genocide. Yet when Serbs were the victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing, the West remained silent. It was the Croats, not the Serbs, who were responsible for the largest ethnic cleansing of the Balkan wars, which occurred in Krajina in 1995. “Krajina,” wrote Charles Krauthammer, “was Kosovo writ large.” (For more on how the media demonized Serbia, see our article “What Really Happened in Bosnia.”)
Germany has won completely in the Balkans. There is no Yugoslavia—no risk of a united power that could challenge Germany in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Instead, the area is divided and subject to the EU. Slovenia is already a part of the EU and Croatia is set to join in July. After Serbia bowed to Germany’s will, the European Commission recommended that the EU begin negotiations for Serbia’s membership on April 22. All the parts of what used to be Yugoslavia are on their way to being absorbed into the EU.
Just a few weeks ago, Germany got its way in Cyprus. Now the same thing is happening in Serbia. The means are very different. Their situations are very different. But Germany’s assertiveness and success are constant.
What happened in the Balkans is a powerful warning that Germany is rising. Britain and America need to take note. For more on this warning, read our booklet Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.