What is the OSCE and What is It For?
by Stephen Schwartz
Most Americans have never heard of it, doubtless including Trump.
Unlike 29-member NATO, which Trump loathes, OSCE has 57 members, based on an ambiguous definition of Europe. Also unlike NATO, headquartered in Brussels (with the European Union), OSCE operates from Vienna, Austria.
NATO brings together democracies, for which Trump has contempt.
OSCE comprises tyrannical and corrupt regimes, including Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. These mafia dictatorships are on the roster of OSCE because the entity was established when the Soviet Union loomed over Western Europe. Was the Soviet Union ever "European?" Is Russia "European?"
What next? That is the eternal question in times like these.
With its climate conditions, Russia cannot develop a major economy, and must eternally cannibalize its neighbors and rivals. It is a global parasite – an image Russia assigns falsely to America, Germany, Israel, and the Vatican.
OSCE has maintained an unarmed, civilian Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine since 2014. But much like other political restraints on Russia, it is a weak reed. In this respect, OSCE maintains the pattern it has followed, and which I observed close-up, in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kosovo, and Uzbekistan.
I well remember how Western gadflies portrayed OSCE as a savior of peace in the Balkans and aid to democracy in Central Asia. How anything positive could have been expected from a body in which Russia has so prominent a role may now seem dubious, but the whole world then imagined a future for the Muscovite realm as a democracy, thanks to Mikhail Gorbachov, and THE NEW YORK TIMES portrayed Milosevic at first as a Serbian reformer, much as it later did Muhammad bin Salman.
Sarajevo was long a major cultural center in ex-Yugoslavia, and with the fall of communism and rollback of Russo-Serbian imperialist aggression, journalism flourished. Kosovar Albanian media leaders led the struggle against Serbofascism; many were forced abroad but they returned after the NATO liberation of 1999 and nurtured a media scene any advanced country could envy.
But I watched as OSCE functionaries, over my objections as a journalist and activist in journalists' unions, battered Bosnian and Kosovar Albanian media workers. These campaigns to denigrate the professionalism, ethics, and identity of Balkan reporters had no rational basis.
One participant in the OSCE's policymaking in Bosnia-Hercegovina was an American, Tanya L. Domi, an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and is an affiliate faculty member of the Harriman Institute. Domi's official biography describes her previous policy work in Bosnia and Herzegovina "implementing the Dayton Peace Accords for the OSCE Mission 1996-2000, she served in the position as Counselor to U.S. Ambassador Robert Barry and as Chair of the OSCE Media Experts Commission."
OSCE held to an argument that all sides were equally to blame for destroying Yugoslavia and bringing the world a spectacle of brutalization unparalleled since the Nazi subjugation of the lands Germany invaded. Bosnian journalists known for their empathy and rectitude, their Kosovar Albanian colleagues who trained in the West while exiled by Serbia, were all consigned to the same trash-heap of history as Serbian propagandists.
Serbian "media" agitated for ethnic separation, spewing homophobic accusations, accusing all critics of being recusant fascists and German pawns, and claiming that Belgrade had developed new and significant weapons technology that would devastate Croatia and Bosnia.
OSCE forced a harsh and absurd censorship on Sarajevo. That effort failed in Kosovo. But OSCE, like Satan, never sleeps. It has done nothing positive in Ukraine.
America and the world need NATO. In my opinion, the world can do without OSCE.