New liberal imperialism is making the world safe for terrorists. New Labour foreign-policy guru Robert Cooper pleads for "a new kind of imperialism".

'What is needed is a new kind of imperialism, one compatible with human rights and cosmopolitan values: an imperialism which aims to bring order and organisation,' argues New Labour foreign-policy guru Robert Cooper in his recent pamphlet Re-ordering the World: The Long-term Implications of September 11th.

Cooper distinguishes between two kinds of 'new colonialism' that can 'save the world': the 'voluntary' imperialism of institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, which 'provide help for states wishing to find their way back on to the global economy', and the 'imperialism of neighbours', when states intervene to sort out 'instability' in their neighbourhood. Cooper uses the 'humanitarian' intervention in Kosovo and the subsequent establishment there of a 'protectorate' as a shining example of how his 'new colonialism' can bring 'order and organisation'. As Cooper is so keen to talk of Kosovo, let us examine a little more closely the effect his 'imperialism of neighbours' has had on the province.
Six years ago, Kosovo was at relative peace. Albanian demands for greater independence from Belgrade were channelled through the peaceful Democratic League party of Ibrahim Rugova, while the small groups of Albanian paramilitaries that did exist were disorganised, unco-ordinated and isolated. As late as November 1997, the KLA, having been formed as the 'hardline' wing of a previous Albanian terror group, could, it has been estimated, call on the services of only at the very most 200 men. At this point, Robert Cooper's 'new colonialists' started to get involved.
Having at first declared the KLA to be a terrorist organisation, our new colonialists, with the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to the fore, started to see in this motley array of fanatics, cut-throats and hoodlums a perfect vehicle for their long-desired aim to topple the politically incorrect regime in Belgrade that they and other 'humanitarian' liberals so detested.

Instead of being treated as pariahs, the KLA were now to be given a makeover. Gone were the 'terrorist' epithets; the KLA were now gallant 'freedom fighters', bravely defending their people from the brutal 'fascist' regime in Belgrade. The fact that, during 1998, the KLA actually executed more of their people than they did Serbs was not widely reported in the
media of Cooper's 'post-modern states'. CIA money was diverted, via Geneva, to fund KLA operations, while BND, the German secret service, provided uniforms, weaponry and instructors to knock the rag-bag KLA into shape.
Britain, now under the leadership of enthusiastic new colonialists, was keen to play its part, too, diverting SAS units from their hunt for the Omagh bombers to send them instead to the mountains of northern Albania to do their bit in training the young bucks of the KLA to shoot Yugoslav postmen and, indeed, anyone else wearing the uniform of the Yugoslav state.
In siding with the KLA, it mattered not a jot to our new colonialists that they were joining forces with a group largely funded by trafficking in illegal narcotics. Ironically, on the very day that KLA hardliner Hashim Thaci (having discarded his Balaclava and combat fatigues for a designer suit) was being warmly embraced by Mrs Albright for signing the Rambouillet 'peace' treaty, Europol was submitting a report for all European interior ministers on the connection between Thaci's organisation and the Albanian drug gangs that were supplying Western Europe with more than 75 per cent of its heroin.

Not only were the KLA drug-traffickers, they were also linked incontrovertibly to Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda organisation. When claims that al-Qa'eda cells were active in Kosovo in the late 1990s were made by the then Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, they were, predictably, dismissed out of hand as Serb propaganda. But one doesn't have to take Slobo's word for it when there is also available the testimony of J.T. Caruso, the assistant-director of the FBI's counter-terrorism division.
In his statement to a Congressional committee on 18 December last year, Caruso confirmed that al-Qa'eda had supported 'Islamic fighters' in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Chechnya. 'Al-Qa'eda,' continued Caruso, 'has active
cells in 20 countries, including Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Chechnya and the Philippines.' Furthermore, according to a Deutsche Press report, financial support from Islamic countries to the KLA was channelled through the former Albanian chief of national security, Bashkim Gazidede, a man notorious for having 'strong links' to Islamic terror groups.
So there you have it. Just three years before the Manhattan bombings, Robert Cooper's new colonialist forces were working alongside Afghan and Turkish instructors in KLA camps, training mercenaries from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to wage holy war on the forces of another European state. One only hopes that if these erstwhile colleagues do happen to meet up shortly in an Afghan cave, they remember that they did once work together and at least exchange greetings before firing at each other.

Not surprisingly, given the massive support that they received from all quarters, the KLA were, in 1999, able to step up their campaign to remove Yugoslav forces from Kosovo. When the inevitable security backlash came from
Belgrade, the redoubtable Mrs Albright was ready to hand out the ultimata, and, after the Rambouillet 'stitch-up', the new colonialists got the war against Slobo that they had long desired. After a 78-day, $7-billion bombing campaign, their dream of a 'protectorate' over Kosovo was finally realised.
Three years on, what now of Kosovo?

The province, previously so diverse in its ethnic composition, has seen, under the aegis of the 'international community', no fewer than 200,000 Serbs and Roma driven from their homes, with hundreds more murdered or gone missing. So much for Robert Cooper's call for a new imperialism compatible with human rights and cosmopolitan values. The KLA, now officially disbanded, is once more being trained by the British, this time being transformed into the caring, sharing Kosovo Protection Corps. Once again, the new colonialists have provided the uniforms.
Meanwhile, the drug-running continues. The recent arrest of three ex-KLA 'freedom fighters' in Norway, after the discovery of the country's largest ever heroin haul, shows that old habits die hard. It is estimated that Kosovan/Albanian gangs now control 90 per cent of the Western trade in heroin, 15 per cent up on when the international community took control of the province.

However, it's not all doom and gloom. New jobs have been created in Kosovo; not for the local inhabitants, but instead for worthy citizens of the 'post-modern' world. As Robert Cooper proudly states, 'The international community provides not just soldiers but police, judges, prison officers,bankers and others.' For 'others', Cooper is obviously referring to
semi-retired politicians and diplomats, such as Pascal Fieschi of France, the new head of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Kosovo, and our own Sir Paddy Ashdown, who has been widely touted as the new high commissioner of the province. Sir Paddy, though, is reported to be having second thoughts about taking on the job: perhaps he believes that stemming the multi-billion-dollar drugs trade and coaxing the Serbs and Roma back to the province so that Albanian snipers can take pot-shots at them is beyond even his prodigious talents.

In short, Kosovo is in a mess. But it is a mess that is entirely the making of the new colonialists. If Cooper and his disciples are to have their way, we must prepare for many more Kosovos in the years ahead. This might be good news for the numerous politicos and flunkeys keen to end their careers with a high-commissioner posting in some far-flung corner of the globe, but decidedly bad news for the rest of us. As the example of Kosovo shows, Cooper's new colonialism, far from bringing stability and order, has done exactly the opposite. The only thing that can truly 'save the world', is if all the states, whether 'post-modern', 'pre-modern' or however Cooper wishes to label them, go back to minding their own bloody business.
(c)2001 The

(Dit artikel was oorspronkelijk op GlobalInfo gepubliceerd door Neil Clark (Spectator (UK).)