Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Serbia was intended to send a message
that the US stood by its policies, essentially promoting Hillary Clinton’s
campaign. All it managed to do, however, was dredge up the bitter memories
of the 1999 NATO invasion.
Before jetting off to Belgrade on August 16, Biden gave a fiery speech in
support of Hillary Clinton in his home town in Pennsylvania.
Within minutes of landing, Biden committed his first faux pas by failing
to bow to the Serbian flag – a gesture neither China’s Xi Jinping
nor Russia’s Vladimir Putin found onerous during their visits. It was
all downhill from there.
Biden’s praise of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic for having a “positive
vision for the future of Croatia” – referring to Serbia’s implacably
hostile neighbor to the West, a recent addition to the EU and NATO, and
a US protégé in the Balkans Wars of the 1990s – was nervously
laughed off as a slip-up. It might not have been; since he came to power in
2012, Vucic has de facto governed Serbia in the best interests of Croatia, or
its overseas sponsor, to be exact.
Then, Vucic declared
Biden “a friend of Serbia and my personal friend.” That
comment beggars belief, given Biden’s public record as a vocal advocate
of US military intervention against the Serbs in the 1990s, or his not-infrequent
comparisons of Serbs to Nazis. The supine Serbian press didn’t question
it, however. According to them, Biden merely came to say hello and didn’t
make any demands or ultimatums. That would be a first, for a Western official.
Yet after the VP departed, President Tomislav Nikolic said, apropos of nothing,
that Serbia had no intention of imposing sanctions against Russia –
suggesting the possibility that the subject may have come up during the visit.
The White House merely issued a fact
sheet about “progress through partnership” that was
just flush with wonderful things the US has done for Serbia since 2001 or
so – after Washington installed a compliant regime, that is. Their vision
of “partnership” is Serbia doing what it’s told, obviously.
Even if the $900 million or so in US aid or investments had actually helped
Serbia, is still less than the damages wrought by the 1999
Americans may not remember that war very well, or at all, but the Serbs do.
The unprovoked aggression, the vicious lies told to justify it before the
world, the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure and the subsequent
occupation of Kosovo by NATO “peacekeepers” who basically
delivered the Serbian heartland to the Albanian separatists – culminating
in the 2008 declaration of independence – have all added up to make
the general populace in Serbia disdain the US government, if not the American