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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 24-Jul-2008
Accused Bosnian war criminal Radovan Karadzic captured

Web Log - July, 2008

Accused Bosnian war criminal Radovan Karadzic captured

Hiding in plain sight, he grew a beard and posed as a new age guru with a mistress.

Top left: "Dr. Dragan Dabic". Top right: Radovan Karadzic, mid-1990s. Bottom: Karadzic with his girlfriend Mila. <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: FT/Daily Mail)</font>
Top left: "Dr. Dragan Dabic". Top right: Radovan Karadzic, mid-1990s. Bottom: Karadzic with his girlfriend Mila. (Source: FT/Daily Mail)

Radovan Karadzic, the military commander responsible thousands of deaths and numerous atrocities in the 1990s war in Bosnia, was captured on Monday near Belgrade, in Serbia.

Karadzic, an Orthodox Christian Serb, is considered a war hero by most Serbs for his military accomplishments in the war against Bosnian Muslims in 1992-95. But for most of the Western world, he's considered a war criminal, and has been indicted by a UN war crimes tribunal on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

After the war ended, Karadzic went into hiding, where he was given protection by those in the Serb population who knew who he was. During the 13-year manhunt for Karadzic, he was thought to hiding out in a farm somewhere where in Serbia where few would recognize him.

As it turns out, the bloodthirsty murderer had changed professions and become a new age health guru, taking the assumed name Dr. Dragan Dabic, and disguising himself with a long, grey beard and glasses. He lived for years in a Belgrade suburb with his mistress Mila, and frequently hung out with her in Madhouse bar, sitting unrecognized underneath a large wall picture of himself from his war days.

Bosnian War

The Bosnian War was a 1990s re-fighting of World War I, along the same Orthodox/Muslim religious fault line.

Historically, there is no greater hatred between two civilizations than between Islam and Orthodox (Eastern) Christianity. There have been major wars between Western Christianity and Orthodox Christianity, and between Sunni and Shia Muslims, but not as deeply penetrating as the wars between Orthodox Christianity and Islam.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, East Europe and West Europe are on different generational timelines.

World War II was a generational Crisis war for Western Europe, with England, France and Germany being the main protagonists.

For Eastern Europe, World War I was the Crisis war, and the Balkans (the former Yugoslavia), Russia, Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) and the Mideast were the main protagonists. England, France and Germany were involved in WW I, but not as a crisis war.

(For information about generational Crisis wars, and the differences between World Wars I and II, see "Basics of Generational Dynamics.")

For the most part, the East European crisis wars have been between two great civilizations: The Orthodox Christian civilization and the Muslim civilization. These wars have been fought not only in the Balkans, but also farther east in the Crimea and in the Caucasus.

World War I was triggered when a Serb high school student assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo. The spreading war led to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and the destruction of the Ottoman Empire.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the next Balkans war began pretty much right on time -- in 1992, just 78 years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

Slobodan Milosevic
Slobodan Milosevic

The Siege of Sarajevo was directed by Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, and was executed by his two generals, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.

The Orthodox Christian Serbs completely blockaded the city of Sarajevo, allowing no one to get out, or any supplies to get in. They then shelled the Muslim civilians in the city, and Serb soldiers went from one neighborhood to another committing horrendous atrocities.

In her book, World on Fire, here's how author Amy Chua describes the Bosnian war: "In the Serbian concentration camps of the early 1990s, the women prisoners were raped over and over, many times a day, often with broken bottles, often together with their daughters. The men, if they were lucky, were beaten to death as their Serbian guards sang national anthems; if they were not so fortunate, they were castrated or, at gunpoint, forced to castrate their fellow prisoners, sometimes with their own teeth. In all, thousands were tortured and executed."

The Bosnian War climaxed when tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims had taken refuge in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, supposedly a "United Nations Safe Area." The Serbs massacred thousands of Muslim men in what has become known as the Srebrenica massacre. (See "Srebrenica massacre: Survivors commemorate."

Radovan Karadzic, center, with his wife Ljiljana and Ratko Mladic <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: Times Online)</font>
Radovan Karadzic, center, with his wife Ljiljana and Ratko Mladic (Source: Times Online)

Since the end of the war in 1995, Milosevic, Mladic and Karadzic have all been charged with ethnic cleansing, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Former Serb President Slobodan Milosovec was the first to be brought to trial. The trial was never completed, as he was found dead in his cell in March, 2006.

The capture of Radovan Karadzic brings another manhunt to a close, but the search is still on for the remaining general, Ratko Mladic.

The crisis war imperative

There are all kinds of ironies going on in this situation.

The Bosnian War genocide occurred in the same general time frame as the Rwanda genocide of 1994. United Nations officials have repeatedly held commemorations and ceremonies, declaring "Never again will we allow this to happen." But they always do.

In fact, the Bosnian War was only the most recent of a regular series of East European / Mideast crisis wars between the Orthodox and Muslim civilizations. Karadzic himself has said that he was avenging 1389, referring to the Battle of Kosovo that ended in 1389. Since then, new wars along the same fault lines have recurred with relentless regularity: the Fall of Constantinople (1453), Ottoman conquest of Syria and Egypt (1520), War with Habsburgs (1606), War with Holy League (1699), War with Russia (1774), Crimean War (1856), World War I (1922).

The following map from The Independent shows the various ethnic and religious fault lines in the Balkans:

Balkans fault lines <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: Independent)</font>
Balkans fault lines (Source: Independent)

Most people think that wars are somehow rational, driven by greedy or obsessed politicians, inflicted on unwilling masses. If that were true, then Karadzic wouldn't be considered a war hero by masses of Serbs. Non-crisis wars are rational, but crisis wars are visceral, and are as much part of the human DNA as sex is. The human race could not have survived without sex, nor could it have survived without massive, genocidal, bloody crisis wars.

After each war, there's a vow of "Never again" among the generations of survivors. And as soon as those survivors are gone, replaced by younger generations born after the war, a new, horrible war begins again.

Here's what Telegraph reporter Martin Bell wrote yesterday, remembering the Bosnian war:

"And so began the most destructive war in Europe since 1945. It was a war that would cost 97,000 lives; drive more than two million people from their homes; and bring shame on the United Nations and the Western democracies. ...

My ... thought was: this is bad, and it is bound to get worse - a modern European city under siege by weapons mainly of First World War vintage, hundreds of thousands of people at risk and the world outside hardly cares. We should have needed no history lessons concerning the repercussions of a first shot fired in anger in Sarajevo.

Something else I found, as the front lines were established over that summer, was that a war like this could be a thing of spectacular beauty. It kept all hours. The Jewish cemetery, between Muslim and Serb-held parts of the city, was fought over day and night.

Parachute flares illuminated the ruins and added allure to devastation. Tracer fire rose and fell in a perfect parabola like a rain of molten hyphens. We caught it all on camera, and still no one cared.

Civilians, it seemed to me, were not just caught in the crossfire but were being deliberately targeted. There was a shortage of bread, so the snipers targeted the bread queues. There was a shortage of water, so they targeted the standpipes. ...

With the possible exception of Rwanda, it was the UN's darkest hour in modern times."

It's interesting that Bell's commentary at least mentions a connection between the Bosnian War and WW I, although he evidently considers it to be nothing more than a coincidence.

But why would it be the "UN's darkest hour in modern times?" The "killing fields of Cambodia" in the 1970s was a crisis war with some 8 million civilians killed. Why isn't that the UN's darkest hour? And of course, there's the current Darfur crisis civil war. Isn't that the UN's darkest hour in modern times?

In fact, the UN is completely irrelevant to these crisis wars. The UN could no more stop a crisis war than it could stop a tsunami.

Refighting World Wars I and II

Many of the great battles of World War I were refought in the 1980s and 1990s -- as the Iran/Iraq war, the Syria-Lebanon war, the Lebanese civil war, the Bosnian War, the Afghan war. But many other great WW I battles -- the Russian civil war, the Armenian massacre, the Mexican revolution -- have not yet been refought, and are still awaiting the right trigger.

In the meanwhile, it's getting to the time where some of the great WW II battles are due to be refought, especially Japan's invasion of Manchuria and China, and China's own Communist Revolution (civil war). Other battles of WW II might wait a few years to be refought, but with the right trigger they could begin again today.

When a war is "refought," it isn't a duplicate war. Quite the opposite, the new war appears sufficiently different that it catches the world by surprise. But when you look beneath the surface, the same old fault lines and hatreds are back. As Mark Twain said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

As we approach the "Clash of Civilizations" world war, history is about to rhyme again. Just as the Bosnian War wasn't a duplicate of WW I, the new world war won't be a duplicate of WW II. The UN and its politicians are completely irrelevant to this. The coming world war is a ten-mile-high tsunami that was launched decades and even centuries ago, and no politicians even have a clue that it's coming, let alone know how to stop it. (24-Jul-2008) Permanent Link
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