To say that Slovenian government was caught off-guard by the Ukraine crisis is an understatement. It has, in fact, provided ample proof that for a while now Slovenian top-level diplomacy is running on empty, moving only on inertia of past successes, relatively able (but limited in scope and reach) middle magament and occasional strokes of luck.
Janez Janša addressing the EPP Dublin Summit (source)
While Karl Erjavec and his simpleton-diplomacy were taken apart on this blog already, the man is by no means alone in this enterprise.
Roman Jakič and the Sochi controversy
The embattled defence minister Roman Jakič found himself in a middle of a controversy at the beginning of all of this when he travelled to Sochi as head of the Slovenian Paralympic team. Namely, Jakič’s son Gal Jakič is the only Slovenian contestant in Winter Paralympics and Roman Jakič spends inhumane amounts of time and energy to be there for his kid who became disabled some years ago through no fault of his own and help him partake in various sporting events. For that, Roman Jakič deserves all the praise in this world.
The problem of course arises when the super-dad happens to be a defence minister of a country whose official position is that Ukraine’s territorial integrity was violated by the very country which is hosting the Paralympic games. A visiting defence minister in whatever capacity he may be, just might send the wrong signal. To his credit, Jakič (who is under criminal investigation for his role in the Stožice project and is getting a lot of political flak over it) tried very hard to show that the office he holds has nothing to do with his being in Sochi. He even took annual leave and (apparently) paid the cost of the trip out of his own pocket. But senior public officials do not hold office from nine to five. A defence minister is a defence minister 24/7 and neither rain not sleet nor snow can change that. So, technically, Slovenia, a NATO member, has a senior government official present in Russia. Go figure.
Erjavec strikes again
But the woes of Roman Jakič pale in comparison with Erjavec digging an ever deeper hole for himself. Thursday last, while sparring with Dimitrij Rupel on national television (and trumping him in the process), he tried to spin his “Slovenia should mediate between EU and Russia” fuck-up. Admittedly, he did a half-decent job although no-one really believed him. But hey, he tried (for the record, he used the old they-only-published-a-part-of-my-statement gambit). OK, so he overdid it when he told the audience that US Secretary of State John Kerry told him his initiative was “subtle”. Really? Was Karl’s sarcasm detector off-line or what?
Be that as it may, all that was water under the bridge when Erjavec, foreign minister of a NATO and EU member, managed to say that Slovenia supports territorial integrity of Ukraine and conceded in the same sentence that Crimea will in all likelihood become part of Russia. Get it?
I mean, even though Erjavec most likely told what everyone else was thinking, a EU foreign minister simply does not say things like that. Such statements show Russians they’ve achieved what they wanted, namely to create a “new reality on the ground” and that the West is intimately apparently pondering telling Ukrainians to simply go along with it. This translates into EU a) not giving a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys about borders in general, opening up a plethora of highly unwelcome scenarios all across the continent, most likely in the Balkans and b) apparently forgot the 1938 Munich lessons.
Janša criticises Merkel
The above, however, is nothing, and I mean nothing compared to the address by Janez Janša at the EPP Summit in Dublin the other day. Namely the nominal leader of the Slovenian opposition single-handedly discovered there are “post-communist and pro-Moscow forces at the head of EU and NATO member state” and added that all of this could be avoided if only Georgia and Ukraine were admitted to NATO in 2008.
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is warmongering and paranoia of the first order. Admittedly, it takes a lot of guts to go up there and tell Auntie Angela she fucked up. Because it was her who blocked NATO enlargement to include Ukraine and Georgia. And today she’s (apparently) the only foreign leader Vladimit Putin will talk to with some sort of frankness. Which makes her a pro-Moscow element. Not to mention the fact that outgoing president of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso was a Maoist in his student years. Talk about post-communists running the EU. The question therefore is, did Janša really mean what he said or is he getting just more and more desperate and is running short on enemies to throw into the fire, supplementing them with friends?
The reality (that be the thing Janša is working very hard to ignore) of course is that NATO could very well have found itself in the middle of a shooting war with Russia in August 2008 had Georgia been invited to the alliance some months before and NATO membership of Ukraine would probably only have sped up the events that are unfolding today. But what you see on the video above is vintage Janša. The only difference between that and the version we get at home are levels of cynicism (apparently beyond him in English) and occasional graphs depicting the communist conspiracy.
And post-communists, as we all know, are everywhere. Even in the EPP, apparently. One of them, a proud platoon leader of a 1977 Yugoslav military march commemorating Marshal Tito, addressed the Dublin Summit. But, admittedly, he’s not running a EU/NATO member state. Not anymore, that is.