America’s outstanding public philosopher and occasional baseball personality, Yogi Berra (not to be confused with the equally prominent cartoon character Yogi Bear) was in the habit of sharing an amazing thought that only a genius of his calibre could devise: “It’s not over till it’s over.” Readers should ponder it.
The general consensus of exegetes is that the basic thrust of Yogi’s illuminating insight is that the final outcome cannot be assumed or determined until a given situation or event is completely finished.
That fits to a “T” the current crisis in Bosnia, more precisely its constituent entity Republic of Srpska. Completely finished it is not.
On the level of appearances, the commotion that erupted in the Republic of Srpska after the November 2 elections could be pronounced over, having ended with a resounding victory for Republic of Srpska leader Milorad Dodik. The vote recount demanded by the Western-supported and financed opposition backfired completely on those who asked for it. Contrary to their earnest expectations, the recount turned into a complete vindication of the electoral process, confirming Dodik’s victory over his foreign-backed opposition candidate in the race for president of the Republic of Srpska. The Bosnian government electoral commission, to which the opposition had turned to resolve alleged vote fraud issues, ultimately was obliged to recognize that there were no significant irregularities and to admit the legitimacy of Dodik’s election. It should be borne in mind that the recount was conducted with strong encouragement to the Electoral Commission from a wide array of domestic and foreign actors to find irregularities sufficient to nullify the election. The goal was to improvise a rationale to order a new vote under the supervision of the “international community” that would have been finagled to secure victory for the opposition. In the end, however, nothing came of it. Dodik’s win was apparently so massive that even the willing Commission was hard put to credibly manipulate the numbers to make it disappear. That having been said, champagne bottles should not be popped to celebrate, not just yet. Here is why.
On the surface, of course, the outcome of the Republic of Srpska electoral drama should be a good reason to cheer. Caution, however, is the wiser course. In the Republic of Srpska, it should be recalled, there was an orange revolution attempt, and again it fizzled out. Following the failure of the “soft” approach to ensure Dodik’s ouster and eliminate the obstructionist inclinations of the Serb entity in Bosnia, political logic now dictates the application of much sterner measures.
If our analysis is correct not only is it not “over,” but the messiest part may be yet to come. Dodik is now entering the most physically dangerous segment of his political career. It is reasonable to postulate that the democratic West will not give up but will simply double down and proceed to the next option in its standard toolkit, which is to assassinate him.
This is not idle speculation. A trial balloon was launched on 30 October by Bosnian television personality Senad Hadzifejzovic when he openly pondered while on air whether killing Dodik might be the solution. International watchdog organisations and foreign embassies, always quick to comment about trifles, have been silent about this thinly veiled call for the murder of a prominent political figure.
Western interests, of course, have ample reasons to be upset at the performance of the incompetent pawns on their payroll in the Republic of Srpska who failed to pull off the color revolution they were tasked with for the third time in a row.
But the reasons for the collective West’s unforgiving fury at Milorad Dodik go much deeper. By invoking Republic of Srpska’s veto power under the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, Dodik has challenged, directly and brazenly, the collective West’s core agenda on three fundamental issues: imposition of Bosnian sanctions on Russia, NATO membership for Bosnia, and recognition by Bosnia of the bogus “state” of Kosovo. These defiant transgressions, particularly in light of the current confrontation, can neither be overlooked nor forgiven. Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s lethal demise was engineered for far less.
There is also another and more personal score that the collective West must be eager to settle with Dodik. In the late 1990s, when local helpers were being recruited to break up Serb nationalist resistance to the post-war evisceration of the Republic of Srpska, Dodik was anointed as the West’s trusted man to manage that project. In 1998, lavish hopes were invested in him. His Western patrons finessed things that year to make him Republic of Srpska’s prime minister although his party held only two seats out of 83 in the Serb entity’s National Assembly. When later, for reasons still largely obscure, he decided to defect from their camp, their disappointment must have been as hugely extravagant as their initial hopes.
Alert readers will not fail to notice that Dodik’s political trajectory closely matches that of one of his closest current allies, Soros’ ex-golden boy in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
There clearly exist sound geopolitical reasons to deal with Dodik in the customary ruthless manner and, following three consecutive failures to arrange his civilised departure, it should not surprise anyone if democratic gloves should finally be taken off. The more so since the predominantly geopolitical motives for eliminating him are reinforced by the psychological hostility of Dodik’s former promoters, to whom he indisputably owes his initial rise to political prominence but who now must take strong umbrage at his disloyalty.
The application of special measures, if that option is indeed selected, will be greatly facilitated by the presence of NATO’s “peacekeeping” contingent and related structures throughout the territory of Bosnia. The Republic of Srpska has nothing with which to even symbolically defend itself because it was precisely servile elements of the current opposition who, when they were in power, upon the orders of the “international community” disbanded its military forces in 2005.
Dodik’s credentials are not impeccable and in the style of Balkan politicians his public record is full of zig zags and inconsistencies, not only if taken as a whole but even if focus is narrowed to the last dozen or so years, which is said to be the period of his “Serb nationalist, Moscow friendly” incarnation. In politics, however, one seeks in vain to find protagonists with an ideal profile just as in poker one is ill advised to constantly expect a flush set of cards. One must work with the material at hand.
For the multipolar world coalition as well as his Serb constituency, with all his flaws Dodik is preferable and vastly more useful than the utterly vile bought and paid for local competitors seeking to replace him. As much as for the hegemonic bloc he has turned into an unbearable irritant, he should continue to be treated by the emerging forces striving for more equitable global solutions as a valued associate. He deserves as much pragmatic support as can be mustered and brought to bear on his behalf to ensure the unobstructed continuation of his largely beneficial policies, whatever one may think privately of the man himself.