Skip to Content

The socialist position on Kosovo vindicated

Very occasionally, the bourgeois media serve socialists tasy snacks which cut to the reality of how capitalism operates. Hidden away on the comment pages of the Guardian, arch greeny liberal George Monbiot provides a compelling case for how Caspian Sea oil was a major factor in the Kosovan war after all. With one eye on an article by fellow liberal Jonathon Freedland (written at the time of the bombing), which mocked the idea that oil had anything to do with the war effort, Monbiot quotes from various prominent sources to demonstrate the opposite.

The Trans-Balkan oil pipeline (which is coming up for approval) will transport Caspian Sea oil from the Black Sea port of Burgas to the Adriatic, passing through Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. According to a paper by the US Trade and Development agency, the pipeline will “provide American companies with a key role in developing the vital east-west corridor” and “facilitate rapid integration” of the “Balkans with western Europe”. Monbiot says that there is “no question” that this featured prominently in Balkan war politics. The then US energy secretary said: “This is about America's energy security . . . We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian, and it's very important to us that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right.” The pipeline does not pass through the former Yugoslavia, but as the Albanian president said: “no solution confined within Serbian borders will bring lasting peace”. Monbiot adds that “the message could scarcely have been blunter: if you want Albanian consent for the Trans-Balkan pipeline, you had better wrest Kosovo out of the hands of the Serbs”. Subsequently, we can now fully understand the strategic need for “stability” in the Balkans.

The May 1999 Socialist Standard said that “wars are fought over markets, investment outlets, raw material sources and trade routes and strategic points to control them”. Liberals mocked us at the time. Now, after their support for the slaughter of our class in Kosovo, they will have to concede that we were right all along. Thanks George!