April 1st, 2017 - Fort Russ News -
- Op-ed by Joaquin Flores -
Tomorrow is the big Presidential election here in Serbia. Americans will note that the election is on a Sunday and not a Tuesday or other work day, so as to promote voter turnout.
Vucic will win, because he has managed to balance relationships and power in Serbia, and between east and west in Serbia, a particular way. Where his policies are reasonable, he has organic support. Where his policies are atrocious, he can manufacture consent by distorting these policies' effects through manipulation of the media.
Serbs are both rational and irrational to be upset with Vucic, but it is irrationality as the dominant motor force of the psyche, triggered at the level of the amygdala, which will cause Serbs to self-immolate if they are not cautious. This will be in part a consequence of the outrage which pro-western policies, as put forward not only by Vucic but by every single Serbian leader who came in the wake of the downfall of Milosevic. This will trigger within Serbs. But the self-immolation -- the color-spring method - is precisely what the West wants.
The tendency towards self immolation is one which a species or individual has at the primordial level of its nature. It is to avoid infinite and unbearable hardships. It is the cyanide pill taken to avoid indefinite torture and detention. It is the immune system turning against the body to save it from a painful and eventual demise.
But it is also possible to use the manufacturing of consent another way. And this is the role of the so-called 'opposition' media in Serbia.
Just as Vucic uses this consent industry which yes also has big western backers to gloss over his failures, lies, and blunders - the anti-Vucic media supported also by the west - does the inverse, in tandem.
The opposition media's role is to manufacture hysteria and histrionics. A bad situation is hyperventilated into an unbearable situation. All of Vucic's blunders are said to be the true expression of his aims - while all of his success stories or popular measures are dismissed as cynical calculations made to preserve support and remain in power, to pull the wool over the public's eyes as it were, and anesthetize the public to their downfall.
The solution proposed, though, once people are in this in this histrionic ether - is to take down the government, by any means necessary.
Evidence that Vucic is a "very bad man" is that he has not only control of much of the government, but is crossing this power over to the theoretically or ostensibly a-political 'state' and its civil administration. This we should note is the very same accusation made against Gruevski and Ivanov in Macedonia. And we should also note that there is no doubt, no credible accounting of reality, which cuts against the fact that their government had officially pro-EU and pro-Western positions.
Yet it is the destruction of Macedonia, in connection with a whole west-Balkans destabilization plan by the West and NATO, as the west-Balkans including Serbian Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia where Russia is re-building better ties, ties not had since the time of the USSR, we can say. And a recent issue of Foreign Policy carries precisely this story of Russian resurgence in the West Balkans. And this is also why the region must be destabilized.
Without getting into complex philosophical and scientific questions about the deterministic nature of reality versus free will, or the problems in creating counter-factual histories -- what we can say at the risk of engaging in mere tautology, is that Vucic is all that has been possible at this time. That doesn't mean people shouldn't push for more or better - because we won't know when that time has ended until it is ended. Bodies remain either motionless or in motion until force is applied to them. However, the efficacy or reality of collective agency shouldn't be overstated just like it shouldn't be understated.
But Serbia is in big trouble, and in part it lies in the Serbian mentality. It is a unique mentality, replete with many strengths and yet its own weaknesses. It is a mentality forged both through triumph and adversity, and through pride as well as through a sense of insecurity.
Over this last past five years, I am seeing and understanding the Serbian mentality more and more.
I don't know if the present political mentality is more a new thing. or something embedded deep in the culture, but if its deep in the culture, then it explains a lot explains a lot of Archibald Reiss sorts of things.
Still Serbs are behaving politically as if there is no actual campaign to destabilise the region, which yes does include unseating Vucic - not further empowering him - not because Vucic isn't like Mubarak and doing almost everything the west wants, but because to the west, Serbia must die. Not obey. Not join. But die.
And the West had high hopes in Vucic to be just the right anesthesiologist to carry out this euthanizing procedure.
But yet, instead, or rather at the same time - in a contradictory way, and dialectically so - Vucic represents this idea that Serbia can exist if it obeys the west. And it is only because the West's demands become more and more, more and more, and they never end, that Vucic in contrast then seems to come into collision with EU or NATO policy on Serbia.
But the west does not want Serbia to obey. For the west, the Serbs are simply too Russian - Russians that wound up simply too close to the Adriatic and Europe. This has been the geopolitical view of England and the West on Serbia since at least the Great Game in the century before last, and carried on by both the Germans under Hitler and the EU and US today. It is that Serbia must stop existing. A major victory was the separation of Montenegro from Serbia ten years ago - Montenegro was the Serbian world's warm water port on the Adriatic, and by extension, Russia's.
That said, Vucic policies on the balance are reflections of a Serbia that is both weak, and in flux. Will it grow stronger, or weaker? Vucic will win, and there's no danger in this election yet that he will lose. The Soros backed Beli hoax is to guarantee that the election goes to a run-off. The votes that Jeremic or anyone else alone gets won't likely be enough to force a run-off, without the smart phone western financed hoax sensation of Beli.
It is good to vote against Vucic and rather for candidates that represent the things that Vucic should change positions on, so he can see how much support for certain policies he's failing on, needs to be recaptured. A protest vote against Vucic to teach him a lesson, because often pollsters and experts about issues and voter attitudes are flawed or skewed, or tailored to the needs of the candidate (emperor has no clothes problem), and what he wants or needs to hear, either personally or at the level of his, yes. largely Western backers.
So herein lies the rub, and that is the both the problem and the solution as we eagerly approach tomorrow's big election.
The majority of Serbs support Vucic, but the majority of Serbs you will encounter in English language corners of social networking platforms do not. They are not exactly atypical, but also not anything like the majority. If Vucic were to be ousted, what would come next would be worse. It would not be someone more anti-NATO than Vucic, not someone who will take a firmer stance on Kosovo than Vucic, not someone who would interact with the IMF better than Vucic. Which isn't to say that one can't imagine much better than Vucic. But imaginations and reality are not the same thing.
That said, the majority of Serbs will vote Vucic, but the vast majority not for the 'deep state' (etc) reasons that Vucic represents a critical place in Serbian history. And it's an incrementally positive development, but the first one perhaps in the recent history of Serbia. As is normally the case, the most politically astute and thoughtful within Serbia, will fail to see this point. This is because being thoughtful and astute lead to idealizations and polarizations of matters which are either slow moving by nature, banal, or out of anyone's control on a local, i.e., sovereign basis.
'Beli' is the western 'joke' candidate based in the concept of theatre of the absurd. He's backed by the same Western assholes who brought you Otpor. But he's for the new smart phone generation. It's not amazing that so many can't see through this, but I'm not disappointed in the Serbs. They just as gullible as the rest of us, but not more.
Vuk Jeremic is a semi-official pro-Western candidate. He's a worthless sinecurist, never had a real job in his life. Comes from a moneyed family. Already some white hairs, probably highlighted at the salon to give him credibility. He needs it, having accomplished nothing in life that wasn't handed to him. He's trying to use an expensive campaign to simulate years of experience and respect which simply aren't there. Looking into his eyes reveals tremendous emptiness and privilege. He may use words that voters will understand - work, taxes, corruption. But he's never experienced this personally as problems. When he uses these words, it registers the same meaning as anyone else who might throw in random gibberish into their speech.
Serbs, like all people, are susceptible to the 'greener pastures' fallacy, and the 'sacrificing good on the altar of perfect' problem. They are constantly lied to, and often believe, the lies about the better qualities of life and so forth, experienced in EU countries of Western Europe. Numbers of hours worked and your own children spitting in your face after a botched sex change operation don't register on the Serbian radar screen as things which mitigate the big bucks in the west. Nor do they understand proportional costs and proportional economies --- making 5k a month isn't great when you spend all that on living expenses.
Vucic: Predictability, stability, and standard levels of corruption and acceptable levels of stomping on the fictitious democracy. Ties with Russia and China will continue to grow. The Serbian military under Vucic will continue to go against NATO recommendations, and grow and be armed by Russia. Outrage against the worst of his policies is real and legitimate. But there are no other forces in Serbia today capable of organizing it better. Serbia has less than 8 million people, and is surrounded on all sides by its enemies.