Behind NATO’s war on Yugoslavia

March 31, 2022 Sam Marcy

“No to NATO!” in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2019 on the 20th anniversary of the NATO invasion of Yugoslavia.

On March 24, 1999 – 23 years ago – the U.S./NATO armed forces started a 78-day long aerial bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The brutal bombing campaign targeted civilians, city centers, public transportation, schools, hospitals, hotels and even the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. 

More than a thousand aircraft were used to drop more than 3,000 cruise missiles and about 80,000 tons of bombs. More than 3,000 people were killed, and up to 20,000 seriously injured. 

NATO flattened 25,000 residential buildings, 300 miles of roads, almost 375 miles of railroads, nearly 40 bridges, 100 schools and childcare facilities, 30 hospitals and 14 airfields. 

The bombardment ended June 10 with the declaration of a “NATO victory,” as Wikipedia puts it. The real background to NATO’s war on Yugoslavia can’t be found on Wikipedia, however. 

Reprinted below is an article by Marxist leader Sam Marcy, originally published in 1992. It also appeared as a chapter in the book “NATO in the Balkans,” published in 1998, only months before the bombing began.

NATO is a U.S.-commanded military alliance established in 1949 as a military force aimed against the Soviet Union and the Eastern European socialist states. NATO now acts to enforce Washington’s dominance in Europe and to intervene in other parts of the world. NATO’s war on Yugoslavia asserted suzerainty over the Balkans.

After the overturn of the Soviet Union, NATO was expanded to every country of Eastern Europe to lock in place capitalist restoration of the formerly socialist countries. The threatened expansion of NATO’s military force to Ukraine, on the border of Russia, along with NATO naval operations in the Black Sea, are direct provocations of Russia. As Leon Panetta — White House Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton, CIA Director and Secretary of Defense under Barack Obama — explained, the conflict in Ukraine is a NATO “proxy war” against Russia.

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