Twenty years have passed since the U.S.-orchestrated NATO attack on Yugoslavia. As the United States readied its forces for war in 1999, it organized a peace conference that was ostensibly intended to resolve differences between the Yugoslav government and secessionist ethnic Albanians in Kosovo on the future status of the province. A different scenario was being played out behind the scenes, however. U.S. officials wanted war and deliberately set up the process to fail, which they planned to use as a pretext for war.
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Nine years ago, neoliberal political forces took power in Serbia, promising a radical transformation of the economy. Today, deep into that transformation, Serbia is foundering from its effects, exacerbated by the worldwide economic downturn. Industrial production has fallen 15 percent compared to the average of last year, while unemployment remains high.
A delegation from the IMF is now in Belgrade, negotiating over Serbia’s 2010 national budget and how best to deal with the economic crisis. The two sides are not far apart, in that both parties envision more of the usual neoliberal prescriptions as the way out of an economic crisis brought about in large part by those very same measures. Read More »