According to Bismarck’s best-known maxim on Europe’s most troublesome region, the Balkans are not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Americans could be forgiven for harboring similar sentiments after the murder of two U.S. airmen in Germany by a Kosovar Muslim.
Remember Kosovo? Me neither. But it was big at the time, launched by Bill Clinton in the wake of his Monica difficulties: Make war, not love, as the boomers advise. So Clinton did — and without any pesky U.N. resolutions, or even the pretense of seeking them. Instead, he and Tony Blair and even Jacques Chirac just cried “Bombs away!” and got on with it. And the Left didn’t mind at all — because, for a modern Western nation, war is only legitimate if you have no conceivable national interest in whatever war you’re waging. Unlike Iraq and all its supposed “blood for oil,” in Kosovo no one remembers why we went in, what the hell the point of it was, or which side were the good guys. (Answer: Neither.) The principal rationale advanced by Clinton and Blair was that there was no rationale. This was what they called “liberal interventionism,” which boils down to: The fact that we have no reason to get into it justifies our getting into it.
A decade on, Kosovo is a sorta sovereign state, and in Frankfurt a young airport employee is so grateful for what America did for his people that he guns down U.S. servicemen while yelling “Allahu akbar!” The strange shrunken spectator who serves as president of the United States, offering what he called “a few words about the tragic event that took place,” announced that he was “saddened,” and expressed his “gratitude for the service of those who were lost” and would “spare no effort” to “work with the German authorities” but it was a “stark reminder” of the “extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making . . . ”
The passivity of these remarks is very telling. Men and women “in uniform” (which it’s not clear these airmen were even wearing) understand they may be called upon to make “extraordinary sacrifices” in battle. They do not expect to be “lost” on the shuttle bus at the hands of a civilian employee at a passenger air terminal in an allied nation. But then I don’t suppose their comrades expected to be “lost” at the hands of an army major at Fort Hood, to cite the last “tragic event” that “took place” — which seems to be the president’s preferred euphemism for a guy opening fire while screaming “Allahu akbar!” But relax, this fellow in Frankfurt was most likely a “lone wolf” (as Sen. Chuck Schumer described the Times Square bomber) or an “isolated extremist” (as the president described the Christmas Day Pantybomber). There are so many of these “lone wolves” and “isolated extremists” you may occasionally wonder whether they’ve all gotten together and joined Local 473 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves and Isolated Extremists, but don’t worry about it: As any Homeland Security official can tell you, “Allahu akbar” is Arabic for “Nothing to see here.”
Bismarck’s second best known maxim on the region is that the Balkans start in the slums of Vienna. The Habsburg imperial capital was a protean “multicultural society” wherein festered the ancient grievances of many diverse peoples. Today, the Muslim world starts in the suburbs of Frankfurt. Those U.S. airmen were killed by Arid Uka, whose Muslim Albanian parents emigrated from Kosovo decades ago. Young Arid was born and bred in Germany. He is a German citizen who holds a German passport. He is, according to multicultural theory, as German as Fritz and Helmut and Hans. Except he’s not. Not when it counts.
Why isn’t he a fully functioning citizen of the nation he’s spent his entire life in? Well, that’s a tricky one.