Russophobia Lessons from John McCain in Serbia


April 18, 2017 – Fort Russ News

Strategic Culture Foundation – By Petar ISKENDEROV

Translated from Serbian by Svetlana MAKSOVIC

The Republican Electoral Commission of Serbia has not yet managed to publish the final results of the presidential elections, but the Western patrons of the Balkans have already rushed to visit the winner, Aleksandar Vucic. The first in this series was “the unsinkable” US Senator John McCain, who is today the Chair of the US Senate Armed Services Committee. The statement he gave in Belgrade, provides an obvious idea of what actual policy, according to the West’s beliefs, the new Serbian leader should apply – especially concerning the Russian line.

First of all, the US expects Belgrade’s support for its aggressive policy in relation to Syria. In addition, Senator McCain, during his meeting with Aleksandar Vucic, almost directly accused not only the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but also Russia for the use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun. Syria acted “in agreement with Russia”, – categorically said John McCain, and his Serbian host reacted with silence. And at the press conference, while answering the question whether he really believed that the Russian side knew about the existence of chemical weapons of Damascus, the senator said that he was “convinced about it” and as arguments, he again listed all the Western media allegations about the alleged deliberate “accurate” bombings of the Aleppo hospitals by the Russian aviation. []

Of course, all of the above said by the US Senator, known for his “aggressive” relationship with Russia, could be attributed to his personal russophobia and geopolitical complexes if there wasn’t one key circumstance. According to the existing information, Washington originally persisted that the new President of Serbia should get the American point of view specifically from John McCain. And it is not only about the fact that McCain regularly comes to the Balkans – which was also highlighted by Aleksandar Vucic. The most important thing is that in the American political establishment, it is precisely this Senator who embodies the continuity of Washington’s fundamental foreign affairs policies, and in this sense, its anti-Russian stance. So, his visit to Serbia is a clear signal for Vucic that regardless of the chaos in the American corridors of power, Washington’s anti-Russian course – and specially that of US Congress – should not be questioned.

This is not only directly connected to Syria and its President Bashar al-Assad. Another clear signal for the new Serbian president was John McCain’s statement that Russia was allegedly involved in the events in Montenegro, Serbia’s neighbor – which the Senator believed to be “the most recent attempt of a government’s overthrow.”

In this key geopolitical region, McCain made a statement about the need to strengthen the military-technical cooperation between the US and Serbia – in the areas of modernization of the Serbian army and its transition to the NATO alliance standards. Here we can clearly see the incentive of the American distinguished guest: Serbia should refuse the military-technical cooperation with Russia, because Russia is protecting Assad, is trying to overthrow governments in the Balkan countries and is bombing hospitals in Syria, as well as other civilian objects (just like NATO did in Yugoslavia in 1999!).

At the end, the apotheosis of McCain’s war rhetoric is his idea to establish a “no-fly zone” over Syria for the Russian aviation forces – with Serbia’s active assistance, of course. How this might look in practice, the senator decided to remain silent about – obviously in order to entirely avoid, for the Serbian audience a very clear parallel with Serbia’s recent history. However, the signal was sent: Serbia must be ready to support any anti-Russian adventure of the West, if it wants to remain “on the same page” with the European Union and the NATO Pact – whose benefits for the Serbs McCain did not forget to remind to Aleksandar Vucic.

It is notable that in much of American media there is an awareness about the danger of these requirements and recipes that McCain announced in Belgrade. “The Hawks from the Congress – like the republican senator from Arizona John McCain, and the republican senator from Florida Marco Rubio – urged Trump to deliver more weapons to the Syrian opposition forces, to establish a no-fly zone and to continue the missile attacks that should force Russia and Assad to agree to a political settlement – this is how the American paper The Washington Post, describes the point of view of the republican senator and his like-minded colleague. The Post warned about the real danger coming from the “war with Russia as the result of US actions in Syria.” 

Another American publication – The National Interest – assumed that the Balkans “could be the next battleground of the USA and Russia”. []

In such a situation, the solution of the problem about keeping the country out of any anti-Russian foreign policy adventure, directly lays on the shoulders of the new elected President of Serbia, who in the last presidential elections got strong electoral support. Listening to the recommendations and evaluations of Washington politicians in this regard is hardly appropriate. Even when they come from such a “long-living” politician, like Senator McCain. 

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