Appeasement never works
Why can’t people learn this lesson?
History is rife with the lesson that appeasement never works. One does not have to go too far back to know this to be true. And yet it continues to happen. Why can’t people learn this lesson? Especially people considered to be intellectuals? Because they do not take into account human nature and because they believe in Utopia.
Appeasement is weakness and always invites the aggressor, in this case, Bulgaria, to ask for more, always more. Its appetite is never satiated.
Bulgaria’s impossible demands on Macedonia will now be enshrined in the EU accession process itself, taking bilateral issues into an area where they should not exist and demanding that Macedonia, as a price for admission to the EU, appease Bulgaria and accede to Bulgaria’s demands. Where have we seen this before?
Why is it that people, both in Macedonia and in the Western foreign policy community, believed that by giving in to Greek demands, by attempting to appease the Greeks, that all would be well? There have been many voices, including mine, through the years stating that if Macedonia gave into these demands, the Bulgarians would simply follow the same game plan. The Bulgarians played nice, said all the right things during Greece’s veto of Macedonia and then, when the time was right, presented their own demands. With the exception that their demands are now a part of the EU accession process for Macedonia.
Such demands include adding Bulgarians to the Macedonian constitution (which needs a two-thirds vote in approval) before opening EU talks. And while we have not seen the actual, formal French proposal in full, we do know that Bulgarian demands have included some type of “acknowledgement” that Macedonian history begins in 1945 and that the Macedonian language is a dialect of Bulgarian. Then there are the very real demands that Macedonian school books, curriculum, and history in general be changed to reflect all of this, which is part of the so-called treaty on good neighborliness signed by Zoran Zaev.
All of those involved in changing Macedonia’s good name in the first place and appeasing Greece — Nikola Dimitrov, Zoran Zaev, Ali Ahmeti and their government members in 2017–2019; together with all of their cheerleaders in the Macedonian media, NGOs, think-tanks, all of the leftists and progressives; together with all of the internationals involved to include the US State Department, their ambassadors in Macedonia, Greece, and region, the EU officials and their member states, NATO officials, and the international alphabet soup of organizations to include the UN, OSCE and more; together with the international think-tanks, NGOs, media, and other assorted leftists and progressives — all of these people are responsible for bringing us to this point today.
Remember — all of the above mentioned ignored the Macedonian people, who said no to any changes. The vaunted “consent of the governed” that the above-mentioned people love to talk about, was not just ignored, it was trampled over, repeatedly. There was no consent.
What is so insidious about the current demands that Macedonia appease Bulgaria is that there will be no end to those demands. As Macedonia goes through the EU accession process, Bulgaria will invent new demands, impossible demands and when Macedonia balks at them, Bulgaria will go to the other member states and say “Look, we tried to reasonable but…those awful people who think they are Macedonians….” And the EU will agree with Bulgaria.
Take one small example: so-called “hate speech,” which is subjective and undefinable from a legal standpoint. And yet that aforementioned treaty that Zaev signed commits Macedonia to combatting so-called “hate speech” toward Bulgaria, an impossible task. The Bulgarians need only to say that their feelings are hurt to then use the claim of “hate speech” as a reason to further block Macedonia’s accession process until the Macedonian government ends free speech.
Finally, if you think the Greeks are done with their demands vis-à-vis the so-called Prespa agreement, think again. I guarantee you that if the accession process for Macedonia does start at some point, the Greeks will make known their “displeasure” with the “lack of progress by Macedonia on the so-called Prespa agreement” and will hold up Macedonia’s accession process at every step of the way. They’re merely waiting for the opportune time at this point and don’t need to do it now because the Bulgarians are doing it for them.
There is no end to this. Even as we wait for the language of the French proposal, we see French President Macron stating — I kid you not — “Is it fair vis-à-vis North Macedonia? I’m going to say it very honestly: no.” And then we see Oliver Varhelyi, EU commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement, who tweeted on June 23 that “#EU takes all Bulgarian concerns very seriously and they are now part of the negotiation process. The moment for responsible decisions is now.” To which Carl Bildt, former Swedish prime minister, foreign minister, and cheerleader for Macedonia’s appeasement of Greece, tweeted “This is a highly dangerous development. If different nationalist disputes of debatable validity is included in the (EU flag emoji) enlargement requirements one can just as well close down the entire thing.” (Interesting side note: Srdjan Cvijic of Soros’ Open Society tweets that Varhelyi is now “Orban’s Commissioner” referring to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; this is because Cvijic and Soros, hate Orban. Varhelyi is merely doing what the EU wants him to do.)
I guess the only enjoyable thing here is watching leftists, progressives, and global government types either accuse each other of betraying EU “values” (as in the above example) or of continuing to demand that Macedonia appease Bulgaria and further abase itself by denying its very existence.
The current train wreak that Macedonia is in right now is the responsibility of the current and immediate past Macedonian governments together with their enablers both in and out of Macedonia. They should resign and new elections should be held. And as for EU membership, no matter what Bulgaria — or Greece — demands, there will always be more demands to appease them. And Macedonia will lose if it gives in.