NATO’s war on Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999 was unleashed in the name of democracy and human rights. This view was challenged by the world’s three largest countries, India, China and Russia, who saw the bombing of Serbia and Kosovo as a naked attempt to assert US dominance in an unstable world.
In the West, media networks were joined by substantial sectors of left/liberal opinion in supporting the war. Nonetheless, a wide variety of figures emerged to challenge the prevailing consensus. Their work, gathered here for the first time, forms a collection of key statements and anti-war writings from some of democracy's most eloquent dissidents—Noam Chomsky, Harold Pinter, Edward Said and many others—who provide carefully researched examinations of the real motives for the US action, dissections and critiques of the ideology of ‘humanitarian warfare’, and chartings of the unnecessary tragedy of a region laid to waste in the pursuance of Great Power politics.
This reader presents some of the most important texts on NATO’s Balkan crusade and forms a major intervention in the debate on global geo-political strategy after the Cold War.
In a recent Guardian interview with Stuart Jeffries, Tariq Ali despairs of Westminster and the ‘extreme centre’ that dominates politics today. His solution? It’s not to trust Ed Miliband – it’s to follow the principles laid out by his father.
‘You can’t just wait for something to happen. You have to do something’ … Tariq Ali. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian.
Tariq Ali is recalling a party for the late Tony Benn on the House of Commons terrace shortly after Labour’s 1997 election victory. “Edward Miliband, as he was known then, came up to me, eyes shining, very excited, asking: ‘Tariq, what would you do if you had just won?’ I said: ‘The first thing I would do is to renationalise the railways. Between 70 and 80% of the people want that, it would be very popular.’ And he rolled his eyes in despair at me.”