Here’s a grim article by one Phil Butler blaming everyone but the Yugoslavs for the collapse of Yugoslavia:

It is a fact, that after World War II, socialist Yugoslavia became something of a European success story. Between 1960 and 1980 the country had one of the most vigorous growth rates in the world: a decent standard of living, free medical care and education, a guaranteed right to a job, one-month vacation with pay, a literacy rate of over 90 percent, and a life expectancy of 72 years. To my knowledge, not one of the Balkans states that were created can claim half this prosperity. It was this prosperity which caused western interests to want to destroy Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia’s multi-ethnic citizenry also had affordable public transportation, housing, and utilities. The not-for-profit economy was mostly publicly owned, not exactly the poster child for western democratic love obviously. The county could not be allowed to compete with Germany, France, and especially Britain, and the London and Luxembourg bankers could not extract their billions in a socialistic system. Yugoslavia had to die, and the Reagans, Bushs, and Clintons helped make it happen …

But what if Yugoslavia had survived? What if the great ethnic-socialist experiment had worked? It’s safe to say our world would be totally different today. For one thing, the EU with the Non-Aligned Movement of nation states (NAM) operating within its current boarders (sic) would be less potent, far less influential geo-politically. All of Europe might have led to Belgrade, and from there into the six republics now fighting for crumbs from Brussels.

To galvanize how my fantasy Yugoslavian nation might look, I’ll leave you with the relative economic situations of current Balkans states, and the Yugoslavia GDP in 1991, positioned at 24th among world nations. As former President Ronald Reagan used to say; “Are you better off?”

Just awful. Here’s my comment awaiting moderation haha.

Clinton was in fact, continuing the policies of his predecessor, George Bush the senior, to destabilize the Yugoslavian socialist success.”

Success? Really? I was there from 1981-84. To fund its comparative prosperity Yugoslavia had borrowed from the capitalist West to the hilt and then frittered the money away on shopping and vanity communist disaster projects. It collapsed because it had bankrupted itself economically and politically. By 1984 Yugoslavs were crossing into Warsaw Pact Hungary where the shopping was better.

Yugoslav pun: What’s the result of the Narodno Oslobodilačka Borba (NOB – national liberation struggle)? BON – ration coupon.

I was UK Olympic Attache in Sarajevo in 1984. It was striking how the Belgrade communist elite did their best to ignore the Sarajevo games – no-one outside Sarajevo wanted Bosnia to enjoy a success.

For one thing, the EU with the Non-Aligned Movement of nation states (NAM) operating within its current boarders would be less potent, far less influential geo-politically

Boarders? Hoarders? Utter nonsense. The NAM naturally faded away of its own accord when the Cold War ended. Had Yugoslavia joined the EU it would have dumped NAM-ism anyway.

The key failure in this piece is to ignore the stark reality – that Yugoslavia’s ‘socialism’ was stupid and corrupt. But it had one big bad consequence – when it collapsed there was no real national popular impetus towards market democracy as in eg Poland. Hence the dismal performance of all the post-Yugo smaller states for over 20 years now.

If readers here want to have some proper first-hand analysis of Yugoslavia and its fate, there’s plenty here:…

Indeed there is.

+++ Update +++

A bravely anonymous reader opines on my Serbia Story piece:

And you call yourself a diplomat and an expert on diplomatic techniques? Seriously? Cruising the net to sneak your links under other people’s articles, pretending to be about diplomacy but actually sputtering vitriol? What diplomatic techniques can I learn from you? Petty and vitriolic hate ?

All of the above and more!

Interested in the fall of Yugoslavia? Read this fine piece analysing the Yugoslav economic ‘miracle’ (namely the wond’rous fact that we kept lending them money when they had only moderate intention to repay it):

In 1991, Yugoslavia had about $20 billion of external debt. Previous to that, the International Monetary Fund reduced Yugoslavia’s total debt by $1.8 billion because the country simply did not have the means to repay the interest, let alone the principal. What preceded this outcome? This outcome was preceded by several decades of building an economy whose structure was such that its survival depended on a constant increase in foreign debt — an addict economy …

These data suggest that the story we often hear about how the former Yugoslavia “heroically rose from the ashes” after World War II is not complete. First, it is not clear how heroic this rise was, especially if it was due to unsustainable borrowing. Second, it is difficult to give an assessment of this story if we don’t know how the other countries have “risen from the ashes” …

… the Yugoslav economy was in a terrible condition in the late 1970s, but this was masked by the increase in foreign loans of epic proportions, combined with a dramatic increase in economic emigration … What happened in the 1980s and 1990s, was only the revelation of the actual state of the Yugoslav economy. Just like a chronic alcoholic must face the reality of his addiction, so did we, sooner or later, have to face the reality of the powerlessness of the Yugoslav economy to function without external doping.

Spot on. It’s our old friend – the Green Parrot.