The “approved” narrative on Macedonia

To set the stage, first it was silence: here’s what former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted after the disaster in Spain on Sunday, the vote by Catalonia, for independence: “I had wished today to be a better day for Spain and Catalonia.” That’s it — 13 short words. His next tweet featured the nose of the airplane he was taking to New Delhi for his next trip. One would think that Carl Bildt, king of the elite globalists, politician and diplomat in numerous roles since 1979, member of numerous international boards, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and current Trustee of the International Crisis Group, would have something more to say about this situation. I mean, it is a crisis, not just for Spain and Catalonia, but for the entire European Union. And Bildt is well-known for making his opinions known about such things. But in this situation his silence was deafening. For that matter, the EU leadership was also silent.

Then it was denial: the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, issued a statement on October 4 stating, in part, “No one took lightly the events that took place on Sunday. However, unilateral decisions, including declarations of independence from a sovereign state, are contrary to the European legal order and bound to provoke dangerous divisions.” Now, many have said that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from a sovereign state (and against UN Resolution 1244) was illegal, but for the EU, there are multiple standards and multiple narratives.

So, what is the “approved” narrative on Macedonia and its “new” government? “New” in quotation marks because that is what the Western diplomatic corps, the Western media, academia, think-tanks, NGOs and others will continue to call the government of Macedonia. That government has been there for going on five months and yet they are….“new.” Why? Because that’s the narrative these elites want — to distinguish it from the previous government. How long will they continue to call it “new?” A long time is my guess.

Last week foreign minister Nikola Dimitrov tweeted his pithy comments on a Balkan Insight article on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban campaigning for VMRO-DPMNE; Orban said that “while Gruevski was in power, Macedonia was such a success story.” Dimitrov took umbrage to that and called VMRO-DPMNE’s time in power “state capture.” One can certainly argue about the faults of Gruevski or VMRO-DPMNE; but the economic numbers point to the fact that Macedonia has been a success story, something Dimitrov, in his political campaigning, wants to avoid. So instead he peddles the “approved” narrative.

Simone Filippini, a former Dutch ambassador to Macedonia, got into a Twitter argument (always a bad idea for such platforms are not the place for constructive debate) with another Twitter user claiming “New Gov there 4 months, issue been stuck for >25 yrs now. Give them a break.” First, the use of “new” again. I jumped in stating that it is the name and identity that Greece has a problem with and that SDSM was in power before and didn’t solve the issue to which she tweeted back “Yes there are the issues that need to be solved. I’m confident that serious approach new Gov takes, promotes speedy solution.” Accept that the current government of Macedonia — the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) — was in power from 2002 to 2006 and from 1992 to 1998 and didn’t manage to promote a “speedy solution.” Oh, and I would remiss in pointing out that SDSM really isn’t “new” in any sense of the word — they are the successor to the Communist Party of Macedonia, which is certainly not “new” and certainly doesn’t offer any solutions to what ails Macedonia. Again, all part of the “approved” narrative on Macedonia from certain actors in the West.

Then there is Hoyt Brian Yee, the deputy assistant secretary from the US State Department who is pushing the “approved” narrative as well. Speaking to Macedonian media earlier this week he practically demanded that the Special Prosecutor Office in Macedonia convict someone, anyone. This despite the fact that the SPO’s own Lence Ristoska confirmed last year that all are innocent until proven guilty which is a cornerstone of the “rule of law” that Yee so often lectures on. Yee told media “We call on all actors, political parties, political and government leaders, members of Parliament, to do all they can to ensure that justice is done, the rule of law is observed,” seemingly forgetting that it is up to the judiciary on these matters, not Parliament. This is all the more ironic because on October 2 the US Embassy in Macedonia tweeted about a new project in Macedonia, the Judicial Exchange Project, in which they tweeted a graphic which stated, among other things, “You should clearly demonstrate to the other branches of government and the public that the independence of the judiciary is not up for negotiation. It’s not for sale.” And yet Yee is calling on the Parliament to get involved. He also called on Macedonia’s opposition, VMRO-DPMNE, not to be an opposition party but to support the government. It’s all part of the “approved” narrative.

But then one more, Yee’s attempted coup de grâce: Not satisfied with just telling Macedonia’s SPO to come up with convictions, he moved the NATO goalposts stating that this was necessary in order to get an invitation to NATO, saying “It is important not only for the citizens of Macedonia, but for the country’s future for integration into NATO and the EU.” One more necessary hoop for Macedonia to jump through for NATO membership, one not required of any other candidate country, then or now.

But then, it’s all part of the “approved” narrative on Macedonia, and will be for some time.

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

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Jason Miko

Jason Miko

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

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