Being at the head of a small research organization called (pretentiously) the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) implies elementary knowledge of basic political context and actors in the United States, and even social trends, not primarily knowledge of the functioning of NATO. In my case, it's also a passion. And I am aware, after following it for so many years, that I know very, very little, and what I know is mostly from TV shows. I sometimes jokingly say that the thing I understand the least when it comes to Americans is their attitude to 3G: God, guns, and the government.
This summer, in Covid induced desperation, I tried to watch Tiger King and gave up after literally fifteen seconds, because I immediately understood everything. Fifteen days ago, on sick leave for the first time since I don't know when, I discovered that my cable provider, which doesn't have N1 (local CNN affiliate, VOA partner, self declared as free, professional and objective media-JM note), has FOX News. I am worried about the socio-liberal component in the CEAS manifesto, which I already began to question, not because of its value or ideological aspect, but the way it is advocated. How refreshing it is in comparison to the sermons of CNN’s Don Lemon, who doesn’t realize that they are just the other side of the coin. FOX is not even trying to hide it. Since yesterday, when I heard that Trump's voters (75 million of them) need to be "decoded", I will be watching FOX News even more often, to hear how Biden encouraged a caravan of desperate people from Guatemala – Here we go, said Biden.
The story of my life. In the book Something Happened by Joseph Heller, author of the cult Catch 22, one of the characters bemoans: "I always wanted to have a 26-year-old girl. The only 26-year-old girl I had was my wife, but I was already 34 at the time.” For years, I have been advocating (Working and contributing at least a little, I hope-JM note) for strengthening cooperation between Serbia and the United States. And in all these years, there has never been greater public interest in what is happening in America, or more official rhetoric about the importance of that cooperation with the US, than in the last 4 years. That is why #MsMilić "turned Chetnik" (Phrase who those who due to very poor awareness and knowledge of a situation choose obviously losing side in the process/game/battle -JM note) during Trump and Vučić administration, and I don’t regret it in the least. Because Serbia's support for cooperation with the United States, even in the field of defense, stands at 65%, with an additional 18% undecided, just to mention one positive thing, partly due to the hints at the possibility of a compromise on the new status of Kosovo that Serbia could agree to. And that is something I also advocate for.
Support for CEAS, however, dropped where I assumed it will (among some Western donors-JM note), but I am still disappointed. I am convinced that the Biden administration, supported by the adequate Serbian policy, will very rationally weigh the benefits of having 20201 Serbia as a partner, at it’s side, and potential damage of the legacy of the Trump administration (Allegedly WW3 if compromise is made regardless of NATO being all around us which was not the case in ’99-JM note), which is a much broader concept than Trump. Take a note, only Clinton is missing from the top ranks of the Obama administration, at least for now.
I was done with my “natural” environment back at the time of the mockery with Vučić’s party members using moving escalators in a wrong direction while convening in Belgrade. Unlike Basara (acclaimed Serbian writer and columnist who I highly regard-JM note), I don’t blame only the opposition for the situation in Serbia, but also the NGO sector, punditry and the political West. The line was crossed when citizens associations financed from abroad started participating in local elections (in a sad attempt to appear inconspicuous), and when I realized that think tank "experts" in the field democratic control of the armed forces were demonstrating "against the dictatorship" of Aleksandar Vučić with the Serbian Military Trade Union (VSS), whose leadership stated that the agreement with Pristina confirmed by the parliament would be considered “a treason”, and which, hollering at demonstrations in front of RTS (public broadcaster-JM note) last winter, carried slogans that the army should take matters into its own hands if things turn in the direction of a compromise with regard Kosovo. In the meantime, they were in Moscow. BTW, members of trade unions in security forces of Serbia are banned from dealing with politics. ( For more about VSS and Kremlin structures see CEAS reports-JM note).
You never found it strange how many Al Jazeera journalists follow the demonstrations against Belgrade Waterfront (Savamala is a different thing. This is the case when Vičić regime terminated the rule of law, and when I as a consequence in protest canseled my police protection-JM note). The signatories of the support for the authors of the discriminatory Montenegrin law on religious communities, who are on a cancel culture trip more than the NYT and Californians who would like to cancel Lincoln, are the same ones who never fail to congratulate Happy Eid, Hanukkah, or Catholic Christmas to all who celebrate, but rarely Orthodox holidays. All regional nationalisms are OK because they are new and romantic, only Serbian is forever malignant. How long does one have to pay for sins and war crime aberrations? Is anything left for pedophilia, support for Hitler, or torture of women and gays? When does nationalism end and freedom to express healthy patriotism begin?
I started to see bias and a lack of objectivity in the work of colleagues from the NGO, independent media and think tank community, who are often funded from the same American donor circles as CEAS - those liberal, pro-Democrat, or formally nonpartisan, with a strong regional component in decision-making. Likewise, I began to notice dogmatism in the American legacy media, and in the rhetoric and mode of action of the American Democrats, and above all in the growing autocracy of advocates of identity policies and the view that Kosovo is independent and that negotiations are in fact recognition without any concessions to Serbia (except for two birds in a bush of EU perspective-JM note), whose main proponents in the region are precisely the same "liberal NGOs". So, surfing the net in my new phase of self-isolation, I discovered the intellectual dark web, a group of American commentators of various profiles who pointed out the problems caused by such trends in colleges, the scientific community, the media and elsewhere in North American society and institutions. Oh, yes, and Jordan Peterson is right about many things.
Meanwhile, an orchestrated fascination with "non-partisan personalities" started in Serbia, and the creation of groups of signatories of the appeals, from 0 to support for actor predator Goran Jevtić – down with Mika Aleksić, alleged predator and acting teacher (Recent examples of gross double standards and selective arbitrary social and professional support by the allegedly progressive part of Serbian society-JM note), who are also in favor of representative democracy in Serbia. If I remember correctly, it implies political parties, because they represent that bridge between the entire public, the majority and the minority, and the government. We are overwhelmed by a wave of non-transparent processes of "appealism" and "movementisms" whose actors participate in elections financed by foreign money, and "parliamentarianism" based on loopholes in the law, encouraged by a part of the political West.
Putin saw and first tried to imitate the concept of an open society across the border, which CEAS wrote about even before "malignant influences" were discovered, but he has no patience for using soft power in the way the West has. The West is better at it, and it is a pity that it’s self-abused for a minor gain, in the case of Serbia because of the four municipalities in North Kosovo. By the way, how is Mlađan Đordjevic's movement (A guy who complains to the EU about the state of affairs of the democracy in Serbia while advocating for us to get as close as possible with Kremlin. He visits “liberated” Cremia.-JM note) with that bear logo, financed? Or Do not let Belgrade d(r)own? (Local Soros and other Western donors pet project playing in a gry zone of financing electoral participations of “groups of citizens”-JM note)Ouch.
While Serbia is being cretinised by movementisms, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is learning not only from Popović but also from the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The peaceful transfer of power did not happen in America (“There are 25,000 policemen of the city of Chicago” in Washington- Radovan the Third great theater play reference-JM note), but it did happen in the CDU. By the way, check out who mentioned the importance of Armin Laschet for the first time in Serbia, a couple of years ago. Was it Gregory of Dusseldorf? Mladjan Đorđević from the occupied Crimea? Đilas from behind four walls (“Leader” of one of the micro movements, businessman ex mayor of Belgrade-JM note)? Jeremić – I’m carousing in New York with the world's political elite (Same like Đilas, but also president of the UNGA-JM note)? Nope. It was the one without a hat, but with knowledge.
That is why I was not surprised by Trump's victory, nor by Trumpism, nor by the strengthening of the SNS, nor do I blame them for everything. Quite the contrary. And I say that now when Biden will become the president of the USA in six hours, and I am still the director of CEAS.
All of this is happening in an increasingly fast-paced world where you’re a loser at the start if you don’t know how to code, additionally overwhelmed by Covid at a time of mass disinformation, in the aftermath of job losses that went to China and Mexico. In a world where for years you keep witnessing enormous social stratification, while you are drudging in Starbucks in the morning, and at another bar in the evening, after college for which you will be repaying the loan for the next several decades. In a world where you watch positive discrimination go astray and insistence on "diversity" become disproportionate to demographics or competence, but because of it, if you are "originally guilty" Caucasian, you with have trouble with kindergartens and job applications. You have no choice in that world. It’s either oxycodone, or it’s QAnon, or it’s messianism. Or you are very strong, hardworking and happy.
But the rich also cry, do you remember that new age bullshit? Now they are leaving the overpriced California, which has become affordable only to big-tech, Hollywood bosses, and the rich democratic elite à la Pelosi. All the others left for New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. Purple is the new red. At some point you will have to mow the lawn yourself and realize that money isn't everything if there isn’t enough for everyone. Bernie Sanders understands that, but so do Biden's Democrats, which is why Bernie is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget.
A compromise in such circumstances is a job in a Zrenjanin-Korean factory that pollutes the environment. But you are still advancing towards the EU, so you will regulate that, with a hope that once that as many Serbian citizens work for a decent salary as possible, your status in the cafe in the evening will fare better than those whose origin of profit is well known, but ignored. And that even though you are gay, you will be able to kiss your partner in that same cafe, just as if you were straight. Not behind four walls, because, God willing, you will be able to buy those on credit which you will repay by working. You don't have to go to politics for that, but you have to go to the elections.
Is Trump a consequence, or by now a cause and effect? Those I admire have long pointed out that his coming to power was a consequence of the Democrats focusing on race instead of class, and that the end of his mandate was already the cause of a dangerously high level of distrust in institutions. They suggest that the priority of the new administration should not be to reduce polarization, to seek a great peacemaker, someone decent, quiet, and well-mannered, but above all to insist on accountability and restoring trust in the system. The great Fukuyama, who perfectly pointed out how extreme identity policies can be harmful to the American society in his book Identity, proposes the introduction of regular civil service, as one of the ways to overcome the current challenges.
It seems that it would be better for American children, but the adults as well, if instead of shoving white guilt in their DNA via critical race theory, and I see experts "successfully" apply similar theories in the case of the late great and popular performer Džej of a Roma origin burial at the national cemetery for dignities and deputy mayor Goran Vesić on Peščanik portal (Old school identarian left Western donors co-sponsored, once prominent media outlet-JM note), someone would remind them of civic duties and obligations and about the basics of how the system works. How did we get from every suspect on TV shows knowing his rights and invoking the Second or Fifth Amendment to a man who pays for a private plane, breaks into Congress (disregarding the responsibility for entrances, not having enough guards, and talks about "organized tours"), turns over the papers, hits the cops (or watch others do it), video records it all, shares it, comes back home and then is astonished when the FBI knocks on his door. And then he pulls the same excuse as the Democrats - Trump incited me. A thoughtful person would wonder if these were homegrown terrorists or homegrown idiots.
That is why Fukuyama suggests that one of the priorities of the new administration should be to renew the understanding of the importance and trust in professional public administration - the fundamental institutions. They didn’t start to erode with Trump, he only accelerated the process and exposed systemic problems that cause distrust in institutions, such as big money in politics. He did not mention anyone in particular, not even 300 people. He suggests solutions that are to the benefit of all and that must be carried out by those 300 plus a large fraction of millions of Americans. That is democratic. So when the individuals like Miletić (Local pro Vučić pundit), who are going to teach the students about public institutions at the Academy of Public Administration, mention the deep state, know that they are talking about you - the people who are now organizing and-or carrying out vaccinations at the Belgrade Fair, or the Security Intelligence Agency that investigates local organized crime Kavač and Škaljari clans (Narcho clans with a HQ in neighboring Monte Negro allegedly. -JM note). However, we women do not understand this "because we cannot think politically", as professor also recently Miletić said. And those 300 bishop Gregory’s (SOC bishop with tenure in Germany considering political career against Vučić by assembling 300 devoted Serbs.-JM note)wannabe Gerard Butlers, what are they? Deep state? Nope. Fake state.
Fukuyama puts it nicely - there is something very legitimate and human in the need for a sense of pride. And not only individual but collective pride as well. In doing so, he notes one of the basic problems of American postmodernism in the Hillary Clinton era - the misconception that diversity is an identity. Not everything is in peace and economic stability. Think about it while wasting time hating the monument to Nemanja. A well-known Macedonian liberal once retorted while many mocked Macedonia and the construction of all those monuments in Skopje: "You can laugh, but we did not produce a single war criminal in the 1990s." They were the only ones. Northern Macedonia is in NATO. From Šešelj (Convicted war criminal.-JM note) in power to Šešelj on TV and the monument to Nemanja (Serbian historic figure who recently got a expensive and a bit controversial monument Belgrade down town.-JM note). It’s progress, don't you see? From the support and hiding of Karadžić and Mladić to their extradition, and schools and vaccines for Republika Srpska. Progress. Civilizational. The irony is that many who hate the monument (not talking about the budget for it) have contributed to Serbia's development these last 20 years. But they have lost patience, so they want everything just the way they like it and they want it now, very autocratically and hypocritically. Not democratically.
We have now witnessed how even the great United States with a powerful separation of powers, and still independent judiciary despite Trump's pressure, has a hard time dealing with messianism in the age of social networks and relativization of reference systems. Appropriately, that layer of society that declared itself an oppressed elite, which hates Vučić's omnipresence, in allegedly fighting for the common need to establish democracy in Serbia, turned to... messianism and false elitism. Or elitism where there is no place for it. In a democracy where still at least formally if you are not Jack, one man means one vote, and political activism means putting up posters, which is not difficult for Vanessa Redgrave, because not everything depends on the BBC or RTS. However, this is not exactly to the liking of our "opposition" leaders, who seem more numerous than the opposition voters.
It seems that even Bishop Gregory does not understand the importance of fieldwork, since he intends to find 300 apparently imported Serbs to resolve the matter. I did not fully understand what seems to be the problem in Serbia and in which direction we should go according to Gregory, but I have a hunch. It is not to Dusseldorf, it is further east. And there are also priests and an elite there pinching 300 out of 300 million and living nicely. And what is wrong with the "domestic goods", who actually know the field and circumstances better which is important for politics, except possibly that every 8th person is non-Serb and non-straight, I did not quite understand that part. Actually, I did, but I’ll pass.
The aforementioned stratification does not mean that Zuckenberg is to blame, such are the times - accelerated. New technologies, the law of large numbers, everything is going faster than social adjustment and legal regulation of new circumstances. Redefining responsibilities for content on platforms, means of taxing big tech, budget allocations, and changes in the political system or the number of large parties, are just some of the major challenges before the Biden administration, besides stopping the pandemic. In such an accelerated new social environment, brought about by the development and abuse of science and technology and unbridled economic liberalism, including the Chinese state variant, new needs of society, or at least its difficulties until the needs are articulated and standardized, must be viewed much more earnestly than the Hollywood style CNN’s "decoding" of Trump's voters or making fun of SNS caravans.
On the American West Coast, it wasn’t only the "vandalism" of the antifa, which devastated many private business owners this summer, that was justified, but also their intrusions into the public institutions of many federal states. Kamala Harris supported the funds for legal assistance for the detained antifa. At about the same time in our country, while Trump was still exerting certain pressure, financial control of some local NGOs was carried out. Coincidence? Maybe, but compare the views on the attempted intrusion into our and the American Assembly expressed by local democracy advocates and those who despair over the state of democracy in Serbia, and add to that the views of Bieber, Fajon, and Cramon (Influential pundit on all things Western Balkans, and two pretty anti #Serbia biased EP MPs reporting about Serbian SAA and Kosovo. JM note). The bottom line is not whether it’s Vučić's or Pelosi's mercenaries that storm the Assembly, but whether one can storm the Assembly in a hybrid democracy country, in which the election results were recognized by the whole world, except maybe Yevgeny Primakov, Mlađan Đordjević, Vuk Jeremić, and Dragan Đilas. And that is all that Serbia WASN'T during Milosević's time. There were dead people in America on January 6, 2021, and the shots were fired by the police. Not so in Serbia in the summer of 2020. Was it really an excessive use of force? Or is it a case of double standards?
How many headlines are there in the "professionally oppressed" media about the uproar made by the government media against an interview with Bishop Gregory? Much more than such headlines and comments on a prescribed topic in a prescribed tone on the morning programs of those same state media. I feel like Forest Gump when it comes to that Montenegrin scenario, whether Daka Davidović (“Controversial” MN businessman and SOC donor.-JM note) is OK with bishop Gregory or not, and how many Mandićs supported from Serbia are enough for Milo? Since I was poorly informed about the past social work of the bishop, I googled it. I am not interested in private, unverified, spun, and inaccurate information, produced about Gregory by the convicted war criminal Vojislav Šešelj, who is obviously serving a sentence for some other crime by constantly appearing on TV. I was interested to see who that man is and where he stands about things that interest me. Obviously, he has some ambition, and it is less important to me whether he wants a position in the Serbian Orthodox Church, in Belgrade, or in Serbia.
He was a member of the Commission for the interrogation of Pahomije, a pedophile from the Serbian Orthodox Church, whose results were not exactly honorable.
Let's go back to the 2010 Pride Parade, and what Bishop Gregory the Savior had to say about homosexuality, human rights, and European values: "The very need for someone to talk about what he is doing behind four walls, and even to demonstrate it publicly on the street and expect support, is not normal for me... I am amazed that these people want to demonstrate, I am also amazed that people bother with that so much, I am amazed that this is a precondition for entering the European community. Putting it all together, I just wonder, has this world gone crazy, what is this all about?” It’s not clear to him what the participants of the Parade are proud of or what are they trying to say with such behavior, and he, as an ordinary man, a Serb, thinks that the normal reaction should be not to allow that to happen because we still function as a community. “Such things don't have good effect on the community. The claim that the participants in the parade have a problem is completely unfounded, or that they are endangered in any way by anyone, and that they are only defending themselves in this way."
For a couple of years now, Serbia has had a gay prime minister, a member of the SNS, who comes to gay parades. On the other hand, she is a politician enough to see the late patriarch. And what about the four walls? Familiar rhetoric? My first front page in a tabloid five or six years ago was: "Milić- Djilas is a homophobe and a racist."
Gregory and the EU? Maybe even NATO, since we are talking about the "Montenegrin scenario" which includes imported Montenegrins, people "untainted by politics". We have witnessed in Serbia on several occasions, many such people disappear from the scene because they have not been hardened by the politics. But not bad for a CV. So far so good, they stayed in NATO and still want to join the EU.
Serbia with Đilas, Đordjević, and Gregory? Kosovo is Serbia, boo to the compromise. I would like to recommend to both Gregory and the president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts a very relevant reading - SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1244, and it is useful to add to that the increased competition of the great powers sitting in the mentioned Security Council (SB), for example, which was not as intense back in 1999 or 2008. However, Gregory's position is much more similar to that of Đordjević, Primakov, Jeremić, and Đilas, and the position of the Military Trade Union of Serbia, than the positions of many in the EU.
And there lies the trick. They are asking the EU to help make Putin's Russia out of Serbia. At the same time, they often refer to the reports of regional NGOs for which Serbia is already worse than Putin's Russia, and yet they are the ones that have been pushing Serbia in that direction with their bias and pressure for a couple of years now, instead of committing to a real search for a sustainable compromise on Kosovo. Assistance is offered or has already been agreed on with Gregory, a homophobe, a nationalist, an elitist. But he "admitted" that there were also Serbian crimes. Seems it is the only thing that matter to become acceptable and PC these days.