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Myth about the provincial imperialist predator

Written 02.12.2009. 15:04
Croatian Banovina/Ban Croatia in 1939.Tudjman's permanent political orientation has remained an almost Anschluss-like drive for annexation of the Croatian majority areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was his central geopolitical strategy and obsessive expansionist ambition.

Tudjman himself has openly disclosed (or "blurted out") his sinister expansionist obsession in numerous historical books and essays, interviews and academic ruminations: he publicly questions and, more, expressly announces his disbelief with regard to feasibility and long-term stability of multicivilization states (not multiethnic- see the discourse below). A multitude of his explicit statements deny the possibility of a self-sustained state Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Tudjman's predatory appetites stemmed from an ahistoric psychopathological fixation on the Croatian Banovina borders (a 1939 territorial settlement between Croats and Serbs giving Croatia proper circa 1/3rd of the current Bosnia and Herzegovina.)

Also, Tudjman's retrograde and antiquated myopic "vision" (essentially, a 19th century-like territorial plunder, "sanctioned" by geopolitical imperatives) got an unexpected boost from the American political analyst Samuel Huntington's bestseller "The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking of the World Order", whose central thesis is that multi-civilization states, lacking a strong and unequivocal self -identity, are not only prone to self-dissolution, but frequently act as foci and hotbeds of radical conflicts which tend to sweep globally polarized "denominationally hued" antagonists into the vortex of a certainly regional, and possibly planetary confrontation.


Tudjman assuredly did not believe in long-term sustainability of states patched up of competing nations (here, as in the majority of continental European studies, the concept "nation" is not equal to the "state". For example, Poles in the 19th century have been a nation without a national state, not just an ethnic group or an amorphous "people". This doesn't include states whose population is made up of groups of different ethnic origin, like Argentina or Australia.), so that his views on the possibility of self-sustained Bosnia and Herzegovina, can be summed up thusly: heretics of the yesterday are prophets of the tomorrow.

Besides, he was not solitary in this judgement: similar geopolitical vision can be found in American diplomat, writer and historian Henry Kissinger’s masterwork "Diplomacy" (with all the understandable simplifications taken into account): ("Henry Kissinger: "Diplomacy", Touchstone publishers, paperback, page 195. Chapter "A Political Doomsday Machine"). History has justified Tudjman's perspicacious observations and diagnoses (which are understandably more penetrating and detailed, with regard to the "Balkans" (a spooky and worn-out stereotypical tag) situation than Kissinger's bird's view fuzzy generalizations; we won't even bother to address such amateurish self-advertising dabblers like Glenny, Vulliamy or Maas,..), at least in the case of the South-East European contested lands (Western Europeans' killing spree has ended, hopefully, in the 1950s/60s- Algeria, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya). With only Switzerland as the proverbial happy exception that proves the rule (no genocidal war fought on the Swiss soil (so far)) and Belgium as the buffer zone in service of restraining and sapping post-Napoleonic France's influence- Europe's only "multiethnic" states are only those where one nation has succeeded in overpowering and assimilating others to a significant degree (English vs. Welsh and Scots in the U.K.; Castilians vs. Catalans and Basques in Spain,..) or has acculturated them in subtler ways. All other "multiethnic" states (in fact, composed of more nations, not just ethnicities; but the concept "multinational" has become restricted, as any serious English dictionary shows. Therefore we shall abstain from using the adjective "multinational" in the continental European sense in order to avoid confusion.) rest either on outright repression (China, Indonesia) or religious/denominational self-absorption and fear of "the other" (India, Pakistan)- the situation somewhat resembling that of the medieval Europe before the growth of national monarchies' powers (France, England, Spain) has destroyed European unity based on common faith (Catholicism) and the figure of indisputable political arbiter (Papacy).

With regard to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tudjman was not an addict of any "Banovina fixation", but reasoned as a realist politician: after the collapse of communist totalitarianism and its concomitant, inevitable footnote, the break-up of Yugoslavia, Bosnia, as the "epitome Yugoslavia", a microcosm of Yugoslavia's contraries, becomes a contested country where each and every nation looks after their own, separate aims: Croats and Serbs after the final, long postponed unification and integration with their respective mother countries (Croatia, Serbia); while Bosnian Muslims, who were the chief beneficiaries of the later stages of Yugoslavia's existence (the growth of Bosnian "statehood" within communist Yugoslavia ran parallel with Bosnian Muslim demographic expansion and assertiveness, which resulted in the fact that they, for the first time in reliable population surveys, spanning some 150 years, have achieved a relative demographic majority ) want to preserve Bosnia and Herzegovina as a, more or less, "their own state". This state will, patterned along the lines of Bosnian Muslim demographic expansion, Croat and Serb emigration edging on exodus and tinged progressively with Islamic cultural and historical hue, from employment preferences to myopic history school textbooks, inevitably have grown (in not so distant future) into an exclusively Muslim state with Croats and Serbs majorized and marginalized, with the prospect of complete disappearance of Christian Slavs from their ancestral soil. (Of course, one must distinguish between strategy and tactics: strategy aims at re-constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an essentially Bosnian Muslim national state, whereas tactics deceptively misuses the multiculturalist ideology in the "one state-one nation" variant ("cultures" don't receive recognition as "national" cultures of two separate peoples, Croats and Serbs, but are relegated to the status of digested footnotes closer to the American "subculture" concept of picturesque periphery, from cuisine to genealogy).

The entire stratagem can be easily deciphered in a few trends:

-overt manoeuvres to institute a quasi-official, "Bosnian" language, at the expense of Croatian (and, hopefully, Serbian as well)

-clampdown on and silencing virtually all Croatian-language electronic media, except those on provincial levels, serving the sole purpose of de-Croatization and brainwashing

-media isolation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the surrounding countries (especially Croatia, which covers more than 65% of the protectorate's boundaries). Having in mind all the grand phrases announcing European unification urbi et orbi-these dirty little tricks glaringly bespeak of cynical colonialist mindset.

-combination of gerrymandering, election frauds and gradual distortion of the Dayton peace treaty in such a direction as to ensure growing Muslim dominance. In essence- externally imposed Bosnian sovereignty of the "nation-state" variant (something that the majority of Bosnian Croats and Serbs detest and are not willing to accept, from here to eternity) only encourages Bosnian Muslim overblown ambition for domination (something they couldn't dream of achieving without permanent foreign patronage). All slogans of the "hands off Bosnia" type just intensify Croats' and Serbs' bitterness: their dissatisfaction may be summed up in an angry rhetorical question: "Who the hell are you, decrepit neo-colonialists, policing, bossing and abusing your UN prerogatives, gotten under highly suspicious circumstances, to lecture us what to and what not to in our ancestral homeland? If you fancy that we are going to bend and accept your shameless promotion of Bosnian Muslim political and national agenda-then, maybe, Alice's wonderland would be better suited for your "peacekeeping" zeal. No chance we'll ever accept pompous blather about "Bosnian territorial integrity" (essentially, a remnant of Ottoman Turks' invasions), especially when it comes from global colonial plunderers (Hawaii as a "naturally acquired national territory/state". Yeah, my foot)."

One can shortly describe Croat national strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (bearing in mind other nations' aspirations: Serbs wanted to secede and absorb into Serbia proper a greater part of B&H (somewhere between 60% and 75%); Bosnian Muslims kept on insisting on the "indivisible and unitary" status quo, refusing to take into consideration possible constitutional and administrative changes which would dispel any fear of the looming Muslim majorization (Bosnian Muslims, who have constituted 30,73% of the total Bosnia and Herzegovina population according to the 1948. census, have grown to become 43,67% in the 1991. census. During the same period, Croats have dropped from 23,94% to 17,32%, and Serbs from 44,29% to 31,37%):

a) in the case of definite collapse of Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatian-majority areas should be incorporated into Croatia

b) if Bosnia should survive as a state, then, it could be only as a political entity each and every of her 3 constituent nations have agreed to give their assent to, because they see their own prosperous future in such a political unit: without true equality, achieved through ethnic/national sovereignty and materialized via numerous building blocks of equality (schools system, military and police, economic system,..)- Croats's and Serbs's fickle good will shall inevitably vanish for good. To ask them to assist to and hasten their own national marginalization and disappearance (virtually, a suicide) is way too much for even morbid mindset. In such a situation Tudjman, along with the vast majority of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has chosen the following option: Croatian majority areas (greater part of Herzegovina, central Bosnia and Bosnian Posavina) should serve as strongholds for preservation, defense and growth of Bosnian Croatdom, while Croatian minority in other territories could be given help and sustenance, backed by Croatia and Croat-controlled areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The dogmatic contention about supposed Tudjman's fixation on the Banovina Hrvatska/Ban Croatia boundaries (dating back to1939.) simply doesn't hold water. Being the late 20th century politician, he was well aware of the fact that Bosnian Muslim masses and their elite were not in the semi-comatose state of political apathy and passivity (in sharp contrast to the pre-WW2 situation), and that, in part as a consequence of decades-long Yugo-communist indoctrination, harbour more or less intense animosity toward Croats as such (this may sound as an overstatement, but history has proven it to be an euphemistic understatement). Also, since huge portion of Banovina Croatia (we are referring to the Bosnia and Herzegovina territory) had covered Bosnian Posavina (more than 6 municipalities, plus good chunks of other municipalities' areas), and the fact that Dayton Peace Agreement has "mercifully" accorded the Croats only 2 territorially disconnected municipalities (thanks to the "international community's” generosity in awarding Serbian aggression with the greater part of Croatian soil in Bosnian Posavina as the necessary "life corridor" (what a marvel! we are witnesses of resurrected geopolitical monsters we have thought to lie safely buried in the imperialist past) -all this is a definite proof that endless blather about imaginary Tudjman's "Banovina boundaries addiction" is just a piece from Croatophobic propagandist arsenal.

Moreover, newer babble (originating from conspiracy junkies circles soaked in chronic Croatodemonomania) has hilariously (for a detached viewer) undermined the entire "Tudjman-Banovina-fascination" myth. According to this, "revised" version of partition dogma, Tudjman has, having come to see the merciless truth of military vulnerability and geopolitical insignificance of the whole Bosnian Posavina pocket, shifted focus of his predatory interests to the under-populated and craggy, but strategically and communication-wise important region of the north-eastern Bosnia, where Serbs have constituted overwhelming majority from the 18th century on.

The fairy tale goes on like this: the north-eastern Bosnia parts secures Croatia's geopolitical "soft belly" by adding the decisive strategic depth buffer zone (although Bosnian Muslims are even deeper in an imagined Croatian vulnerable geo-strategic zone, inhabiting densely populated Bihac region-this crucial fact is easily dismissed with charming irresponsibility) and is a sort of territorial compensation for lost Bosnian Posavina. Now, the entire "Banovina-boundaries-fascination" myth collapses before our eyes. Had Tudjman wished to resurrect the Banovina Hrvatska/Croatia in the 1939 boundaries, he couldn't possibly have done so without incorporating the overwhelming majority of Bosnian Posavina, which had been so vital a part of Cvetkovic-Macek Banovina 1939 agreement. But, if he had, according to the same conspiracy theorists, come to agreement with Milosevic with regard to territorial "swap" (Posavina for NW Bosnia), he must have been astonishingly clairvoyant, because Bosnian Posavina was occupied as early as 1992., and Croatian military forces have gained control over north eastern Bosnia as late as 1995, after many military and diplomatic ups and downs. Since "Banovina fixation" and "territorial swap" are mutually exclusive- another myth goes down the toilet.

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