As someone whose heritage is firmly Eastern European who grew up in North America, I can say with zero hesitation or doubt that Western Europe and North America are completely ignorant morons when it comes to having the empathy or ability to understand Eastern Europe, but Westerners have some patronizing misconception that what they believe is universally applicable, regardless of situation, history, geography, as well as a slew of other factors.
It is why the war in the former Yugoslavia made a horrific mess of absolutely the entire region. The meddling created more than just destruction and death: it placed various barriers on different regions that in 2018, they still cannot overcome.
Let's take Croatia, for instance, the instigators of that war. My maternal grandfather was Croatian -- from Dalmatia, to be precise -- and he never let you forget it.
Croats honestly believed they were being oppressed by being stuck in Yugoslavia. Their fascist past during the Second World War has never been confronted by that same Western world that rightfully put the screws to the Germans for their Nazism. The Croatian equivalent of Nazis was the Ustashe, and the self-documentation of their own atrocities against Serbs, Jews, and Roma was both prolific and vile. Smiling while holding beheaded victims was the least offensive atrocity. Burning Serbs in churches by Utashe nuns and priests was an actual thing as was a special concentration camp for children.
When the war ended, those Ustashe took all of their stolen loot (the real reason for the war) and ran to the Vatican who gave them all protection. They were small potatoes compared to the Nazis, and they got a free pass.
And then the West grabbed the Serbs and grabbed the Croats and threw them in a single country called Yugoslavia.
Surprisingly, this country did fairly well for itself for decades. There were a million intermarriages.
But Yugoslavia was short-sighted in its single economic strategy: take advantage of the Cold War by playing the US against the USSR to get the funds to support this lab-grown utopia.
Sooner or later, you pay the piper, and when the Cold War was over; so was Yugoslavia's source of free money, and they borrowed heavily until the piper came.
No one had the funds or the inclination to pay it, and then the leaders of the various regions remembered the good old days when the Santa Claus America gave away free money, and they thought if they broke away with some nationalistic twaddle as a cover, they would have the US continue to fund them.
And that's what almost happened. The regions broke away, killed as they looted, but when it came for all those magical Benjamins to solve all of their problems, it never came.
And because the world never put their foot down to that old fascist mindset, it is roaring back with a vengeance.
That is the inexcusable legacy of Western meddling by ignorance. It created a nation of never-ending poverty where youth must flee for mere survival, and those who are left behind are falling back to the destructive ways that brought out the worst of humanity.
Had the West had a clue, they would have heavily punished the Ustashe, made a people confront and acknowledge the blood on their hands, and had this been done in 1945, there would have been no civil war.
Yugoslavia is a nation that was artificial and forced. It should have never been created in the first place. If the regions healed their rifts, and wanted an economic union, that would have been one thing, but what happened was a forced marriage between a group of perpetrators and their victims of irrational hatred.
Now that Croatia cannot blame the Serbs for their prolonged slump, they are free to see that their notion that the United States was going to be their sugar-daddy was also a mistaken theory.
But they can also think about how Western journalism did them no favours, either. They blindly went along with their narratives, obscuring the reality of the situation. They were played by an industry who knew nothing about the region, its mindsets, and then made decrees, enabling all of the delusions that brought a nation and its people into poverty and despair.
Ironically, Serbia -- who were portrayed as the Super Evil Bad Villains in the civil war, had their illusions shattered, and then they had to forge their own way, and ended up as a stronger and more tolerant people with a stronger economy. So strong that NATO is starting to meddle again because Serbs ended up far more progressive and stronger than what was expected of them, and proportionally, at least, in a far healthier position than most of the nations involved in their demonization and bombing. They moved on because they had no options left.
Kosovo's woes exploded near the tail-end of the civil war, although it was always simmering for decades. Albanians in the region thought it was a very good idea to break away and declare themselves a nation, even though unemployment in that region was always devastatingly bad, they had no tax base to speak of, and crime was always rampant as it was a prime region for organized crime, with human trafficking still out of control (mind you, Canada also has a serious problem with human trafficking; the difference is Canadians are happily oblivious to it, and people in Kosovo are perfectly aware of it).
So why did the Albanian population in Kosovo want to break away?
The same reason the other regions broke away: they were honestly convinced that the US was just going throw piles of free money to them.
Of course, that didn't happen. It is a fantasy. There is no advantage to do it.
When Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a local television station interviewed me about the ramifications of that decree. I was still running Chaser News, and I agreed to the interview.
Most of the interview did not make it to air (though I recounted all of my points on my site), but the gist was that Kosovo was stony broke, in anarchy, a criminal playground -- so how the region was going to get its act together was going to be very interesting. I also said that Western journalists would be wise to keep a track of FARA and see which PR firms were going to get hired to spin this pie in the sky mess and then let news consumers know all about it.
An interesting article from Al Jazeera from a reporter who had been there in 2008 was interesting in showing just how misled people in the region were by the Western media. Albanians and Serbs alike were the Western media's victims. Those in the region had been disillusioned thinking they were perfectly justified in wanting to break away, and that they honestly believed that the West were going to make their lives better by giving them cash, thereby completely vindicating and validating their illusions of being without flaw. Their leaders got wealthy at their people's expense, and even some Western players, such as Madeline Albright had tried to make a buck from that misery they helped exacerbate.
But it was journalists who were the biggest warlords and mongers of them all. They stoked the fires of hate with their ignorance of basic history and reality. They wanted the power to dictate how a war was going to play out, never mind that reality in no way aligned with their narratives.
Serbs got the worst press coverage, but it was the other regions who paid a bigger price in the long run. They will never recover because they were given false assurances from people who had no clue what they were talking about.
It's like asking your cab driver whether the mole you have is cancer and making plans based on his clueless diagnosis.
And the press drove those regions straight into a hell they never imagined in their worst nightmares.
I have genuine sympathy for all those regions. They were played, made fools, and bought the hype.
Once upon a time, journalists were so powerful, they could malign and misreport and be believed.
Now, they have all focussed and attack their president, and despite their relentless and lockstep cannibalization, they still don't get that they have no teeth.
It is a sad state of affairs, and it never had to happen if journalists were responsible, diligent, honest, and humble. They should have checked their Western filters at the border and be moral enough to admit they knew nothing about anything in Eastern Europe, and then do their research, and report facts, not narrative.
Because war is no time for some deceptive bedtime story people hold on to for comfort, never realizing it is slowly poisoning them for generations to come...