A sign of late empire
“Threatening the peace” — what the Biden Executive Order means
First, consider the following:
US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi: “If the UK violates its international agreements and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a UK-US free trade agreement passing the Congress.”
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “the road to Irish unity” is “now more within reach today than at any time…I wish you the best in your critical efforts to build support for a truly united Ireland.”
Apparently, the Biden White House, the leadership of the Democrat Party in the US House and Senate, and of course his State Department are happy to threaten the closest ally of the United States of America: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
It stands to reason that if Joe Biden feels comfortable enough publicly threatening the UK through his State Department officials in the UK (read this article for more context) and his senior leadership in the US Congress, then of course he will be more than happy to attack less established democracies such as Macedonia.
In early June, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order (EO) (see here), with the somewhat Maoist title “on Blocking Property And Suspending Entry Into The United States Of Certain Persons Contributing To The Destabilizing Situation In The Western Balkans.” This particular EO built on pervious versions of itself but added the so-called “Prespa agreement,” and a few other items. It left in the Ohrid Framework Agreement which had been added years ago.
Predictably, the Zaev regime seized on it and said it was proof that the US Government supports Zaev and his Government, conveniently leaving out all of the discussion in the EO of corruption in the Western Balkans, of which Zoran Zaev, his family, his junior partner, DUI, and his Government are champions in terms of who can produce more corruption.
Let’s break down this EO:
First, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, can impose certain, limited, sanctions on certain people who the secretaries deem:
1) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or territorial integrity of any area or state in the Western Balkans;
2) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the Western Balkans;
3) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, a violation of, or an act that has obstructed or threatened the implementation of, any regional security, peace, cooperation, or mutual recognition agreement or framework or accountability mechanism related to the Western Balkans…”
The sanctions themselves concern the property in the United States of people so named by the Secretaries which can be confiscated. People so named also cannot travel to the US. So, if you happened to be named by the Secretaries and have no property in the US and have no intention of traveling to the US, you’re fine.
But the sanctions could also leave a black mark on individuals so named, and become a public relations bonanza for those opposing anyone named.
So when, for example, VMRO-DPMNE returns to power, refuses to use the “N” word, and starts implanting a strategy to undo the agreement with Greece, then the Secretaries could (not will, but could) under this EO claim that certain individuals are “threatening the peace, security, stability” etc. of Macedonia.
Now, given the way politics works, we can be assured that, one day, VMRO-DPMNE will return to power. And given that, the new government will definitely not use the “N” word and will, as is their sovereign right, respecting the consent of the governed, begin looking at way to overturn or undo the agreement using all legal means, again, as is the right of a sovereign nation.
At the same time we can be equally sure that Zoran Zaev and his minions will run to the US Embassy in Skopje, waving the EO, claiming that the Secretaries so designate these now Macedonian Government officials as “threatening the peace,” blah, blah, blah.
I think a future VMRO-DPMNE government would be wise to start recruiting allies among the Europeans, sympathetic US members of Congress, certain media outlets, international lawyers, etc. to make the case that what they are doing is certainly lawful for a sovereign state. They are certainly going to need that support in the first place to overturn or undo the agreement.
The question then becomes, will the US Government — the Secretaries — even interpret a move to undo and reverse Prespa as “threatening the peace?” I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. It is not a foregone conclusion. But SDSM and their allies in the Albanian parties will try to paint it that way.
Will any of this happen? I don’t know.
What I do know are the following facts:
These actions and behaviors of the US Government are all a sign of late empire and, as an American citizen who loves the United States of America, it pains me to say that. Nevertheless it is true. The United States of America is an empire in decline and no, this did not start with Donald Trump. I trace it back to the ’60s, when neo-Marxists, as young people, began taking over our institutions yelling, shouting, demanding that “freedom” meant the license to do anything they wanted to do. And so they got what they wanted and continue to do so to this day.
But license always leads back to decline and then tyranny; this is the story of history.
The question for Macedonia and the Macedonians is this: you actually are a free, sovereign, independent nation-state with a proud history, identity, language, culture, and more, all your own. It is up to you to preserve it, no matter what anyone else — including a fading, flailing, and failing, US says.