Rise of Geert wilders’ PVV party in the Netherlands reminds us of the rise of extremism in Bosnia
In the current election cycle in the Netherlands the response is fairly lukewarm to the expected election victory of Geert Wilders’ rightwing-populist Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) – recent polls indicate 30 to 35 seats in the Second Chamber of the Dutch parliament after the elections on March 15th, 2017. This is despite the fact that Wilders’ program does not offer any policies on and solutions for socio-economic problems, and groups in society are being incited against each other. That reminds us of the extreme-nationalist leaders in the former Yugoslavia on the eve of the war in Bosnia in 1992: they too had no solutions for the economy, and simply put the blame on other ethnic groups. The Netherlands is not Bosnia, and Wilders is no Karadzic, but any implementation of Wilders’ programme will gravely disrupt Dutch society.
Extreme nationalism devastated Bosnia
Comparisons always relative, but one can also learn from history. We see similarities between the rise of the PVV in the Netherlands and the rise of extreme nationalist parties in Bosnia during the early 1990s. As in the Netherlands different communities lived in Bosnia pretty well together for years (indeed decades), but nationalist leaders incited them against each other.
Ukraine: the strategy of Putin
This article was published under the title “Armament Ukraine increases the chance of peace Bewapening van Oekraïne vergroot de kans op vrede)” in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant on March 23, 2015; see www.volkskrant.nl/opinie/bewapening-van-oekraine-vergroot-de-kans-op-vrede~a3921099/.
Many politicians and scholars in the West are still too naive about the situation in Ukraine. An example is Ivan Krastev, director of the renowned Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria. See the article by him and Prof. Stephen Holmes on February 25 as posted on www.project-syndicate.org, and in various newspapers, including on February 26 in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant (People’s Paper). Their view is that Putin has, after the annexation of the Crimea, no longer a strategic interest in control over eastern Ukraine. Yet at the same time Krastev and Holmes argue that it is Putin’s goal to keep the area of the former Soviet Union (excluding the Baltic states) in the Russian sphere of influence. But that actually is a strategic objective.
Digest first presentation of Kadir Habibović’s book in the Netherlands
Life Against Death: Srebrenica
First passage from the book (page 4):
“In order to protect yourself against prejudice, I recommend to everyone who reads this shocking story: imagine your town instead of my Srebrenica, your people instead of my people and your name instead of my name.
Then make your judgment and try to answer a question without fear and loudly so that everyone hears: “What have THEY done to the innocent people of Srebrenica?” And never do to anyone what you would not want to be done to you …“