Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias (source: VOA)

Negotiating away your existence

Last month Macedonia foreign minister Nikola Dimitrov spoke to Reuters news agency about the so-called name issue and negotiations with Greece stating, among other things, “It’s a very complex issue that involves emotions and identity. For us, to tackle the issue, we need to have a process that will create a national position on the issue. There will definitely be a referendum.”

The very fact the Macedonia has been negotiating its existence these past 20 plus years is not in dispute though, with the benefit of hindsight, the process of negotiating never should have started in the first place. To paraphrase the late Senator Barry Goldwater on an entirely different subject, by agreeing to negotiate Macedonia’s name — and thereby its identity and, by extension, its very existence — we have agreed that Macedonia’s right to call itself Macedonia, and its people, language and culture Macedonian is, in fact, negotiable, something they never were before. Macedonia therefore tacitly acknowledged the inadequacy of its position, and the world or at least the West embodied by the EU and NATO and certain Western governments, now expects Macedonia to adjust its name and identity as proof of Macedonia’s good faith.

While I believe Macedonia should not continue with the negotiations there are consequences to such a withdrawal, the consequences of which should be planned for in advance of any withdrawal (these things are the subject of a future column). But this is the heart of the issue — let’s go back to Dimitrov’s statement that there will be a “process” to arrive at a “national position on the issue.” The Macedonian people themselves must demand of the government that in any negotiations going forward the identity of Macedonia and the Macedonians (and thus their very existence) must be protected. What would that look like? First, any change of the name changes the identity for reasons I discussed in my article last week. To recap, the Greeks would demand that the United Nations’ Secretariat tasked with giving advice on the adjectival use for nations would adopt whatever the Greeks demanded and this would then become an official UN description of how to refer to the country and people — it would then be adopted by the individual nation-states of the UN and then by international organizations. Secondly, passports and other official documents of identification would then have this recommended adjectival use, because again, the Greeks would demand it, the UN would recommend it, and others would adopt it. It would be something akin to “citizen of the Republic of Northern Macedonia” instead of “Macedonian” or some such device. It would be the same with a reference to the Macedonian language which would then become “the language of the Republic of Northern Macedonia” or something similar. And then, any time Macedonians appeared at international events, or even simply bi-lateral events with other nations, the Greeks would demand that all official documentation and references to the Macedonians be stated and referred to as such. And all of this does not even address what the Greeks want with the Macedonian constitution.

All of this can be easily demonstrated by a US Embassy cable from October 2006, written by former US Ambassador Phil Reeker and leaked by Wikileaks that clearly shows that the Greeks will never allow the adjective “Macedonian” to be used or acknowledged. According to the leaked cable “Greek FonMin Bakoyannis viewed Nimetz’s latest proposal as entirely unacceptable to Greece, primarily on the issues of scope of use of a new name and the use of ‘Macedonian’ as the adjective to describe national identity.”

The Wikileaks cable is rife with mentions of “identity” — something that Western leaders, Nimetz, progressives in Macedonia and others deny is even being negotiated — and useful for other insights into the past and the present. For instance it states “[Nikola] Dimitrov told us he believes Gruevski and Crvenkovski have a fundamentally different view of the negotiations and, more importantly, Macedonia’s future. Dimitrov portrays the President as believing the country has a bleak future if it is not a NATO and EU member, thus he believes the GoM must quickly make deal on the name in order to integrate as quickly as possible.” This belief in a “bleak future” outside of NATO and the EU has been proven patently false: here we are 2017, 11 years after that memo, and Macedonia not only exists outside of the EU and NATO, but is thriving and moving forward on many levels.

The cable also points to the fact that back in 2006 Nikola Dimitrov knew that he was negotiating Macedonia’s identity. Reeker writes, “Dimitrov sees Gruevski as more motivated by the fear of going down in history as the leader who lost Macedonia’s name and identity; these are more crucial than Euro-Atlantic integration.” This next cannot be stressed enough: You can’t lose something unless you are negotiating it and have the possibility of negotiating it away.

(Ambassador Reeker also states “We have continued to press the point publicly and privately that Macedonia’s future lies inside these organizations; any other path will bring significant risks.” Three points. First, in this Reeker demonstrates the totalitarianism of the globalists who state there is only one way, their way, that to be outside of that one way is to be on the “wrong side of history,” and that they will brook no deviation from their one way. Second, compare this with Crvenkovski’s belief, above, in a “bleak future” for Macedonia outside of NATO and the EU — it hasn’t happened and won’t happen. Third, why is it wrong to allow the Macedonians — who know their own people and place in the world better than some American diplomat — to take those supposed risks and do what they think is best for themselves?)

Coming back to my point about the negotiations, the “process” that Dimitrov has pledged Macedonia to, internally, and the future: if these negotiations are to continue, Macedonians must demand from the government that language is inserted into any final agreements that the adjective “Macedonian” is used to identify and refer to the Macedonians, the Macedonian language, the Macedonian culture, the Macedonian currency — whatever is Macedonian (that I am even having to write these words is, frankly, absurd) and that this is accepted by the United Nations’ Secretariat which determines such things and recommends them to all member states (which then includes the EU, NATO, etc.). Again, while Nimetz states he is not technically negotiating the identity, any final agreement will be subject to some authority — in this case the United Nations’ Secretariat — advising the rest of the UN (and therefore the EU, NATO, the world) on what adjective to then use.

Make no mistake: these negotiations are not only for Macedonia’s name, but for Macedonia’s identity as well. And that identity is part of the very existence of Macedonia — think about that carefully as you go through Dimitrov’s “process that will create a national position on the issue.”

Proud American & Arizonan w/Hungarian ethnicity & passion for Macedonia, Hungary & Estonia. Traveler, PR man, history buff & wine, craft beer & cigar enthusiast