After the president announced a “civil war”, the prime minister rushed to Moscow to get the “weapons” and the “tools”. And not just any weapons, but defensive ones, so that Serbia could protect its territory. And so, the president and the prime minister continued rattling the weapons (and tools) in duet, without a clear reason as to why. To be fair, the prime minister is rattling much lighter than the president, I guess because he wishes to appear as a realistic person. As he told the journalists at the Moscow international forum on October 28th, 2015: “It’s not realistic for us to buy too many, but we will certainly buy some weapons”. The reason why the prime minister would want to buy too many weapons and then have to apologize to the journalists for not being able to (on an “international forum”, no less), is difficult to comprehend. Perhaps he really thinks that you can never have too many weapons. Or he doesn’t think at all, but speaks the first thing that comes to mind. From the prime minister’s statement we could conclude that he would spend all his money on weapons (and tools), even if those weapons were unnecessary. But since we have no money, we will still buy some weapons, although he feels that it won’t be enough.
The prime minister’s statements sound as if he, instead of doing his job, which is, as he himself said, to protect Serbia’s territory and citizens – “in general, the job of the prime minister and the government is to ensure the country’s safety” – is doing the complete opposite. By practically admitting that Serbia doesn’t have enough money to buy the weapons it needs to defend from any attacks, the prime minister actually compromised the country’s safety. The fact that he really expects Serbia to be attacked is evident not only from his statement that “we don’t want to buy any so-called offensive weapons, but we must protect our territory”, but also from the accusations he made against neighboring states, playing dumb and saying that he doesn’t “understand why some countries in the region need dangerous offensive weapons”. Piecing together the various inarticulate, ignorant and seemingly contradictory statements of the prime minister, we can conclude the following: other states in the region are buying offensive weapons; they do that because they want to conquer parts of Serbian territory; Serbia doesn’t have enough money to buy weapons to protect itself; however, the prime minister will do everything in his power to acquire at least some defensive weapons (and tools) and, thus, secure the country’s safety.
By the words of the prime minister himself from October 29th, 2015: “We are, supposedly or apparently, the only country which didn’t buy any tactical, let alone strategic weapons and tools lately. We don’t have enough money and can’t afford a lot, but I think that we can find a way to secure enough resources to protect our territory… I don’t understand why some countries in the region need dangerous offensive tools… As prime minister, it is my duty to not play dumb and stay silent and away from the public. Some people will probably blame me for trying to protect our country, our territory and independence, but I’m proud of it. If somebody minds that I’m trying to protect our citizens at any time, then the fault is mine and you should organize a coup as soon as possible”.
“Supposedly or apparently” – no reasonable person could say this. Who is threatening our country? Who is planning to launch, as the prime minister said, “ballistic missiles” on the citizens of Serbia, while he refuses to “play dumb” and keep quiet about it? Who else, besides him – when he’s “making business deals”, like the Belgrade Waterfront – is jeopardizing the territory and independence of Serbia? What is this war which is threatening the “Serbs” and Serbia, so that the prime minister must use the little money he has left to protect it? On the other hand, wasn’t the prime minister assuring us that the reputation of Serbia is improving and that it has never had as many friends? What changed so suddenly? How did those “friends” become “enemies”? And how long will we have to wait for the next “friendly” transformation?
In all likelihood, I’m asking these questions in vain. The prime minister, reckless and irresponsible as he is, easily slipped out of the catastrophic “defensive” discourse dominated by “ballistic missiles” aimed at the citizens of Serbia and into a calming discourse on economy. He said the following: ”I want us to produce as many weapons and tools as possible, because it increases our GDP while, at the same time, protecting our nation, our citizens and our country”. The difference between the “nation” and the “citizens” is easily understood coming from this prime minister: it is still the inability of the radicals to leave the ethno-national contradiction behind. An ethnic group and a nation can never fully match and that is why this radical mind – in a dishonest attempt to sound polite – must mention both the nation and the citizens, the “nation” having an ethnic dimension, and “citizens” a national dimension. We could still easily handle that contradiction, if that ethno-national conceptual confusion didn’t include “the territory”. To a radical mind, defense of the territory is not the same as defense of the country, because territories outside the borders should also be defended, if they contain “the nation”. There’s no use explaining to the radical mind that weapons (and tools) – “tactical” or “strategic” – used to protect those “national” territories can never be considered “defensive”, but only “offensive”. That is a futile attempt: to a radical mind, offense is always the best defense.
The only element which is new in these radical „war“ speculations, the only aspect in which the radical mind – taught to divide the world into friends and enemies (both internal and external) – wishes to show that it has changed and adjusted to new circumstances, is the part about money, i.e. GDP. Once we look at the picture through a radical transition lens, here’s what we see: other states in the region are buying offensive weapons; they do that because they want to conquer parts of Serbian territory; Serbia doesn’t have enough money to buy weapons to protect its “nation” and its “citizens”; however, the prime minister will do everything in his power to acquire at least some defensive weapons (and tools) and, thus, secure the country’s safety. In addition, he will start manufacturing weapons (and tools), because it increases the GDP while also being good for protection. Radical transition economy in action: it’s a good thing that we’re surrounded by enemies, it increases the GDP.
Translated by Marijana Simic