Stephen K. Bannon, the sorcerer who made Donald J. Trump his apprentice in neofascist, has turned his gaze to the tormented Balkans.
The "armed Bohemian" (Trotsky's description of the Nazi elite), with his weird outfits and mannerisms, has crafted an alliance with Serbian extremists in furtherance of the fascist agenda for Europe.
Grotesque war criminal Vojislav Sešelj led pro-Trump marches in Serbia, and now Bannon, with Trump spouters Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Corey Lewandowski and Kellyanne Conway, hangs out with Željka Cvijanović, "prime minister" of the so-called "Republika Srpska," a mafia entity comprising the half of Bosnia-Hercegovina seized by Serbia in events echoed a decade later in Ukraine.
The Serbian nationalist Alliance of Independent Social Democrats has agreed to pay $10,000 a month for three months to an enterprise established by former Trump campaign workers Jason Osborne and Mike Rubino.
Is this merely another flirtation by the Trumpist fanatics with "white nationalism"?
I think not. In my not-so-humble opinion, Balkan Bannon represents the intersection of historical synchrony and diachrony.
I base my analysis on personal expertise regarding Russian imperialism, reflected in studies financed by the U.S. government since 1984, and on direct reporting on the collapse of ex-Yugoslavia.
Again, without false humility, I believe I was the first American to observe and warn of the impending outburst of Serbian fascism, as early as 1987. My first stint in Washington, as a full-time analyst, featured a major conflict over this matter with a major "intel" figure who shall remain unnamed (New York Times rule; and there is no reporting on this topic without anonymity). I then withdrew from DC life, returning to my home in San Francisco and spending the succeeding decade researching and writing on the end of Yugoslavia.
I have argued in my writing on radical Islam that Russia created the global "clash of civilizations" by a twisted "great game." Russia needs enemies, both internal and external. Moscow was burned by its harassment of its traditional targets, the Jews and Catholics. America stood up for the Soviet Jews (thank you, "Scoop" Jackson) and Polish Solidarity did more to harm Russia than even Trotsky (bugaboo of Putinite Jew-baiters) could have imagined.
Muslims were the obvious backup victims. Beginning with the suicidal invasion of Afghanistan, and the classically-Stalinist atrocities committed by the Kremlin there, Moscow carried its strategy of political violence, ethnic paranoia, political violence, and disinformation through Bulgaria, the Caucasus, and Azerbaijan in preparation for its genocidal strike at Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo.
Later came the annexation of Crimea, an alienated bit of Muslim land with a unique Islamic history, and Syria. All are of a piece, described as early as the end of World War II by Egyptian polymath Georges Henein. His analysis was adopted by my political teacher, Manuel Fernandez Grandizo, who delivered the eulogy at Trotsky's funeral.
As shown in the record, I was one of few experts wary of Russian "democratization." But even I did not anticipate that the new world, which was imagined as belonging to Vaclav Havel, the gentle and funny Prague playwright, would be the playground of Slobodan Milošević.
Today, German neo-Nazi terrorism in the town of Chemnitz (once known as "Karl Marx City") illustrates the "buffet" character of the Moscow menu: set in a place ruled formerly by Putin's KGB, recruiting fascist brawlers, and inciting against migrants.
Since the emergence of Trumpism I have been derided for comparing the Balkanization of American politics with the "redneck" wave that drowned Yugoslavia.
But ex-Yugoslavia is comparable to contemporary America in many ways. It was the most prosperous state-socialist economy, but with great cultural disparities. Multiethnicity proved dangerous when confronted by baser political instinct.
Above all, Trump has pursued the same plan for destruction with which the Russians armed the Serbs: ethnic polarization, incitement, disinformation.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).