From Croatia with Truth: An Interview with Tomislav Sunic
“In hindsight, inter-European nationalism has done irreparable harm to all peoples of European extraction, starting with civil war in America in 1861 and then during the Great Civil War, WWI and WWII. Petty provincial nationalism at the expense of next door similar looking European neighbors is self- defeating. It serves the purpose of non-Europeans and other alien phenotypes. Even in terms of territorial imperative, petty nationalism is today outdated. The only solution lies in supra-statal pockets of cultural resistance by the Europeans in the USA, Chile, South Africa, Europe, all the way to Russia, i.e., in places where remnants of the European peoples still live. Failure to clearly define the enemy today may lead in the very near future to the definite demise of European heritage. Only in this extraterritorial way one must define oneself today as a European and no longer in a narrow autistic, chauvinistic, nation-state framework.”–Dr.Tomislav Sunic
The following interview was originally published by PRAVDA.Ru in February 2002. This interview was conducted by Justin Cowgill, a former editor of PRAVDA.Ru. Dr. Tomislav Sunic, a former Croatian diplomat, is the author of Against Democracy and Equality, which is scheduled to be republished in the United States.
Greetings from Russia Mr. Sunic! We at PRAVDA.Ru are very pleased that you have agreed to become one of our columnists. As a Croatian diplomat, you are able to share with our readers valuable commentary on todayâ€™s Croatia. We feel that by conducting this interview, our readers will come away with a better understanding of who you are and your basic political stances.
Please tell our readers a little about yourself. What experiences have you had that have shaped your outlook on politics and life in general? When did you first become interested in politics? Also, please tell us something about your diplomatic career.
Politics was part of family life. My father, a Catholic attorney and a former political prisoner, was constantly at loggerheads with the Yugoslav communist authorities. Back in communist Yugoslavia, I expressed my resentments against the mendacity of the system by dropping out and becoming a hippy and even hiking down to India. Being reared on books in several languages helped me to complete my university degrees and put myself into a wider perspective. I like to speculate as to how my interlocutor or enemy perceives me. This requires a great deal of intellectual effort and emotional detachment. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, I was called by Tudjman’s government to do some diplomatic lobbying for Croatia.
What was your position on the Croat-Serb war? At one point, it was reported that Serbia and Croatia had actually reached a compromise that would have stopped the war, but Croatia was pressured by the West to form an alliance with the Bosnian Muslims and to fight against the Serbs. Is there any truth to this? In your opinion, did outside powers benefit from the civil war?
I must have heard a myriad of rumors and conspiracy theories regarding the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991. I do not blame so much the Serbs as I do the decade-long EU and USA upholding of the frail legality of the multiethnic brew called Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was the product of Versailles architects in 1919 with a refill of the allied blessing in 1945 in Potsdam. Slobodan Milosevic strictly knew that, notably while trying to salvage Yugoslavia by force, which actually sped up its forceful demise. Hence, the real reason he is paying a hefty price now in The Hague.
It is known that many Croatian communists became nationalists after Croatiaâ€™s secession from Yugoslavia. Were these conversions genuine, or were these politicians merely opportunists?
The latter is true. However, almost all former Croatian communists are now ultra-liberal free marketers. This is a trademark not just of Croatia but of all post-communist countries, including Russia. What is worrisome, however, is not so much the make-believe volume of civic and democratic parlance of the new political class; rather, it is the shiftiness and phenomenal feel-good lightness by which it betrayed its former Marxist mythology. If some other political myth holds sway tomorrow, the same people will flock to new secular deities with no feelings of guilt.
While Serbia has traditionally had close ties with Russia, Croats seem to identify more with Western European nations, such as Germany. In fact, it has been reported that many volunteers from Western nations came to Croatia to participate in the civil war. It was also reported that many Russians and other Slavs participated on the side of Serbia. Do you have any knowledge of this being the case? If so, to what extent did foreign volunteers participate in the civil war?
Over 2000 foreign volunteers from Chile to Canada, from the USA to Australia, served at some point in early Croatian rag-tag units during the so-called Homeland War. This was partly due to cultural affinities and partly to the strong anticommunist feelings of many. The Serb-dominated Yugoslav army displayed the communist red star insignia until 1995, which invariably boosted the early Croatian separatist cause among European and US conservatives. The unfortunate religious cleavage between the Orthodox East and Catholic West violently erupted to the fore. Many Western volunteers and many Croat expatriates came to fight. I cannot be more specific at this stage.
What is your opinion of Ante Pavelic, the Croatian leader during WW2? It has been claimed that the Ustashe government committed many atrocities against Serbs, Jews, and other non-Croats. How much of this is propaganda and how much is true?
The English historian Edward Carr wrote that before one studies history, one must study a historian. Failure to look at different, i.e., revisionist, historical accounts leads to misperceptions, paranoia, and, eventually, armed conflicts. The former Yugoslav propaganda had committed a mistake by hyper-inflating Croatian fascist crimes of WWII. Tudjman in 1990 dared to demolish this antifascist victimology. His public speeches, given the widespread foreign media prone “historical linkages,” soon earned him a bad reputation among liberal pressure groups, both in the USA and Europe. Moreover, his speeches were a big enough reason to alter the mindset of the local, largely rural, Serbs in Croatia, who were already whipped into a frenzy by Milosevic’s communist propaganda. The spiral of fear and misperception, backed by mythical and histrionic narratives on both sides, resulted in war in 1991.
As for Ante Pavelic, the leader of WWII Croatia, his role must be put into his epoch, i.e., along with the Romanian, Corneliu Codreanu; the Fleming, Staf De Clercq; the Englishman, Oswald Mosley; the Russian-American, Anastase Vonsiatsky; the Spaniard, Franco; as well as other real or would-be fascist leaders.
During my recent visit to Croatia, I came away with the impression that many Croats cheered when NATO launched its military campaign against Serbia. In your opinion, do ordinary Croats still hold such hostile feelings towards Serbia?
Unfortunately, this is largely true. Many Croats, even in academic circles, use this type of “negative legitimization.” Serbs are often used as scapegoats for Croatia’s own failures, be it in the field of diplomacy or economy. However, centralistic-minded Serbs have traditionally nourished a cult of a “chosen people” destined to play a leading role in policing the Balkans; hence, the reason that they alienated other non-Serb peoples. The end result was war.
From the Berlin Congress in 1878 until 1991, Serbs were the darlings of the anti-German Western powers. I think that, eventually, these two similar peoples will be on speaking terms. Croats must realize that Serbs will remain their first neighbors. However, from a wider anthropological perspective, it is worth alerting the political class in the EU and USA that multicultural, let alone multiracial states, never last long. Such ideas as uncontrolled and irresponsible Third-world immigration, the American government, and the EU are paving the way for their own balkanization. The case of multiethnic ex-Yugoslavia speaks volumes.
The current Croatian government has indicated that it would like to join both the EU and NATO. If Croatia is accepted into either of these organizations, what changes do you think might take place in Croatia? In your view, would these changes be positive or negative?
There are no “yes-s,” “no-s,” or “if-s.” Joining the EU and NATO is the only option for Croatia, short of becoming a pariah state. The only problems are the Croatian methods. The Croatian political class does not know the linkages, the possible setbacks, the terms of juridical engagements, etc. Croatia does not have civil society, as it was destroyed after WWII by the Yugoslav leader Tito and his communist followers, who were very largely made up of the semi-rural, bewildered populace. The Croatian public does not fully know the underpinnings of the EU or NATO. It envisions entry into these two supra-national bodies as entry into a self-serving rich men’s country club. What Croatia needs first is total de-communization. Without this, Croatia will constantly be plagued by a traumatic lack of decision-making. At this stage, Croatia, similar to the Russian political class, is engaged in broken English mimicry of all things Western.
You are known as a very outspoken anticommunist. Please explain the reasons for your opposition to communism? In addition, you have said that Croatiaâ€™s current, main threats are the â€œWesternâ€ ideals of capitalism and consumerism. If you consider yourself to be an anticommunist as well as an anticapitalist, what political system would you like to see take shape in Croatia, a sort of third-position?
There are different forms of anticommunism. However, being an anticommunist does not presuppose that one must, therefore, embrace its only present counterpart, i.e., global capitalism. Both systems have inherent principles of egalitarianism, economism, and universalism, i.e., the belief in the abstract ideology of “human rights” and the dogma of perpetual economic growth. Due to its violent transparency, poor economic results, and negative social-biological selection, along with the nameless topography of terror, communism lost its intellectual appeal. By contrast, modern capitalism, which operates today under the term of “globalism,” is more successful in promoting the same totalitarian goals, albeit with different rhetoric. It is utopia achieved.
Many failed communist practices are now fully operational, albeit under different labels in the EU and USA. Former paleo-communist political romanticism, such as multiculturalism, multiracialism, academic self-censorship, intellectual opportunism, which is known as political correctness, and the loss of the sense of the tragic, is in full swing in the West. Moreover, unlike communism, modern liberalism, i.e., global capitalism, does not leave visible traces of blood and cohorts of martyrs in its wake. Its destructive longevity is guaranteed.
You have also spoken out against blind nationalism, which, in your opinion, was used to manipulate the peoples of the former Yugoslavia. However, you have also indicated that you consider yourself to be pro-European. What are your reasons for your opposition to nationalism? Do you consider yourself to hold pan-European ideas?
In hindsight, inter-European nationalism has done irreparable harm to all peoples of European extraction, starting with civil war in America in 1861 and then during the Great Civil War, WWI and WWII. Petty provincial nationalism at the expense of next door similar looking European neighbors is self- defeating. It serves the purpose of non-Europeans and other alien phenotypes. Even in terms of territorial imperative, petty nationalism is today outdated. The only solution lies in supra-statal pockets of cultural resistance by the Europeans in the USA, Chile, South Africa, Europe, all the way to Russia, i.e., in places where remnants of the European peoples still live. Failure to clearly define the enemy today may lead in the very near future to the definite demise of European heritage. Only in this extraterritorial way one must define oneself today as a European and no longer in a narrow autistic, chauvinistic, nation-state framework.
You have spent a portion of your life in the United States. From my personal experience as an American living in Europe, I know that many Europeans have a false sense of reality when it comes to life in the USA. You, as a European who lived many years in the United States, have seen firsthand the difference between what is presented the movies and media that Europeans watch and the reality of the everyday American. Please share for our readers your thoughts on the subject. Also, please tell us something about Croatian-Americans. Are many of these immigrants politically active?
The problem with all Eastern Europeans, including Croats, is an identity crisis and a deep inferiority complex. The lack of self- assertiveness, which is due to perpetual historical tremors in this region, often results in surreal and self-complacent political romanticism. Most Croats have inherited strong residues of the homo sovieticus mendacity combined with the Melrose Place soap opera dream world. Croat expatriates did play a significant role in financing Tudjman’s campaign. However, they also live in their own dream worlds, romanticizing Croatia in folkoristique lime lights. There is also a fundamental psychological gap between Croats in Croatia and Croat expatriates. It is this vicarious misperception of two virtual worlds, respectively, that leads to the breakdown in communication. As far as the new post-Tudjman, left-leaning government in Croatia is concerned, it has shoved aside the Croatian expatriates.
I would like for you to give our readers an assessment of the current Croatian government. Can you make a prediction regarding the next elections? If the presidential election were held today, in your opinion, who would win?
The cumulative votes of opposition right-wing parties today could easily dislodge the current left-leaning government in a would-be election. Due to their constant bickering and clannish approach to body politics, this is hardly going to be the case. Although a small nation of 4 million citizens, Croatia has phenomenal regional differences between north and south and the Mediterranean Croats, who often make their electoral choices on the basis of their regional in-group decisions. Almost the same replica exists among expatriate Croats, unlike the Flemish, Irish, or Palestinian nationalists, who all have a solid supra-regional political platform. This endless infighting does not make Croatia a serious partner in the eyes of Western observers. It was only during Tudjman’s leadership, a man with deep insight into Croatian diversity that Croatia managed to become an independent state. The actual coalition government, which is made up of five left-leaning parties, has brought the country to administrative standstill.
How is the late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman remembered in Croatia? Many in the West consider him to be a war criminal that should have been tried in The Hague. However, during the war, Tudjman received the West-s backing and seemed to know how to â€œplay ballâ€ with the Western powers. Is he remembered as the father of independent Croatia or has his reputation suffered as a result of criticism from the West?
Tudjman’s Croatia did not receive any backing from the West, not until 1995. The emergence of Croatia was primarily the result of nameless volunteers, committed individuals with strong will to power. Prior to 1995, Croatia was subject to an arms embargo, just like the heavily armed rump Yugoslavia, i.e., Serbia. It had to build its administration and army from scratch. It was a moment that briefly united all Croats of different political persuasions. The EU never liked Tudjman. He was a former communist turned a staunch revisionist and anticommunist, a large enough reason for the Western opinion makers to isolate Croatia. The so-called international community is now firmly behind the more docile left-leaning government in Croatia.
Speaking of The Hague, how is the issue of the extradition of Croatian war veterans treated by the Croatian press? How does the common Croat feel about the issue? On one hand, it seems that Croatia and Serbia are in the same boat. Both nations are being asked to send people some feel are war heroes to be judged by a foreign court in a foreign land.
Even heroes do not last long. Again, Croat soldiers, due to the pressure of various international bodies, are often portrayed as a bunch of criminals. The Hague judiciary looks for “legal equidistance” between the Yugoslav aggressor and the Croat victims. Average Croats are bedazzled and bewildered. Whose gods should they trust today?
Yet, I do not blame The Hague or the international community for their half-baked legal practices. Being a disciple of sociologist Vilfredo Pareto and the jurist Carl Schmitt, I blame the lack of leadership in Croatia, the lack of the new elites, and the lack of a meritocracy able to outsmart the often ignorant New World Order architects. Playing meek and hollering “mea culpa” won’t help. Pareto wrote, “Whoever becomes a sheep will find a wolf to eat him.” This is the case with the Croatian administration staffed by former communists with no initiative, many of whom have a murky past.
In your opinion, should the Croatian government do anything to help the Bosnian Croats? It seems that they are in a rather difficult position, as their most popular politicians and political parties have been banned. It is quite clear that they feel as if they are not properly represented in the Bosnian government and that they would like to form an independent Croat state. Is there any chance that, in the future, the Bosnian Croatians could be annexed by Croatia?
Playing dumb in politics is often a virtue, but living under the cover of delusions may be dangerous. Bosnia and Herzegovina form a small and belated replica of the failed multiethnic Yugoslavia. It can be upheld on the map, as it currently is, only by foreign, including US, troops and half-ignorant EU commissars. We must remember how former multiethnic Yugoslavia ended its voyage into the darkness. I have spoken with some foreign leaders and members of the media. They are aware of this make-believe country, but they must rhetorically abide by the new “multicultural role models.”
Croats and Serbs in Bosnia do not have the problem of deciding who to join in the putative future. By contrast, if Bosnian Muslims do not make their own executive decision about their identity, somebody else soon will in their stead.
Mr. Sunic, please tell us about your latest book, Against Democracy and Equality. What are the basic ideas of this book? What was your motivation for writing it?
This book is a survey of some prominent figures of the so-called Conservative Revolution of the first part of the XX century, such as the sociologist Vilfredo Pareto, the political scientist Carl Schmitt, the historian Oswald Spengler, and many others. The book also covers their new intellectual followers in today’s European New Right. I am appalled by the dogmatic spirit and bias in the American and EU higher education, which has for decades been subject to leftist brainwashing and to fraudulent Freudo-Marxian scholasticism. I am also shocked by the false meritocracy in the American establishment and by the ridiculous affirmative action system, which definitely reminds me of the quota system in hiring that was in place in the ex-communist multiethnic Yugoslavia. The best and the brightest are, as a rule, shoved aside. The modern liberal theology of the big buck, the dictatorship of well-being, coupled with the false misnomer of “multiculturalism,” destroys all values and all cultures, including our own. I do not blame non-Europeans, and I reject conspiracy theories. I primarily hold responsible lazy and corrupted academics, the modern media, and politicians who are mortgaging the Euro-American future. However, most likely, we need more chaos in our polity, because only out of chaos new elites and a new value system can emerge.
Dr. Sunic, thank you very much for the interview!
Dr. Tomislav Sunic is a writer and former political science professor in the USA and former Croatian diplomat. Mr. Sunic writes from Europe. His website can be found at http://doctorsunic.netfirms.com