When the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima after Japan had all but surrendered, the front page of the Daily Express said: "This is a warning to the world." As American missiles and bombs attack a sovereign European state, it is another warning to the world. The most powerful and rapacious imperial power in history is rampant.
With the restraining "balance" of the Soviet Union long gone, the Americans will stop at nothing to dominate human affairs by the most violent means allowed by their technology. This includes nuclear weapons. For the junior Lord Haw-Haws of the British media, notably those who promote a "just war" or the war of "our generation", having never seen a shot fired, this truth is unspeakable.
It is a truth illuminated vividly by the assault on Serbia. The bombing has nothing to do with humanitarian concern for the suffering people of Kosovo. On the contrary, "the west" has consistently used humanitarian rhetoric to justify intervening in the Balkans, mostly on the side of regional power, often the Milosevic regime. As Bruce Kent has pointed out, during the long years the Albanians of Kosovo peacefully resisted their oppressors, the guardians of humanity in Washington, London and Brussels gave not a damn.
Only when a Kosovar liberation army was formed, and there was a threat to Serbia, did Nato take an interest. Last October, the United States drafted a pro-Serbian plan for the Kosovars, giving them a fake autonomy with far less freedom than they had under the old Yugoslav constitution. Similarly, it was an American plan, devised by the former secretary of state Cyrus Vance in 1992, that handed Milosevic and the fascist Bosnian Serbs the entire arsenal of former Yugoslavia. Thereafter, the people of Bosnia hardly stood a chance. Nato navies in the Adriatic Sea and British troops at Bosnian airports enforced an arms embargo against the Sarajevo government. The American-arranged Dayton "peace accords" legitimised the ethnic cleansing; the wishes of the people of Bosnia were ignored and American power was asserted.
Today, Nato is bombing Serbia because Milosevic - like Saddam Hussein in 1990 - gave the Americans the excuse they wanted. The man was not following orders. He was not subduing the Kosovars as they dictated. He had become all too flagrant, allowing his troops to slaughter people and leave their bodies to be filmed by western television. The real reason for the bombing is to ensure, as the US special envoy to the Balkans Richard Holbrooke admitted, "the credibility of Nato". In other words, the Americans want to demonstrate an imperial design that will dispense with the United Nations; what George Robertson, their factotum in Whitehall, calls "outreach".