US Colonel Fischer: Serbia is becoming more and more isolated, Vucic is extremely connected to Putin
Serbia is becoming more and more isolated, says US Colonel (Ret) Jeffrey Fischer, Award Winning Author and National Security Expert in an interview for The Geopost, adding that Aleksandar Vucic still itches his horses to Putin and is extremely tied to him.
According to Fischer, Serbia is an island in a NATO ocean.
“What always worries me is that Serbia over the last 7 years has become more and more isolated and even though they are isolated, President Aleksandar Vucic still itches his horses to Putin and he is extremely tied, they are Slavic brotherhood to Moscow and to Putin”, emphasizes Fischer.
He adds that the West is giving Vucic many opportunities, but that he is gravitating towards Putin.
“The West is giving President Vucic many opportunities, they are a partner for peace nation, they’ve started their opening charters into European Union, but, he just does not seem to really gravitate towards the west and that relation he has with Vladimir Putin it seems to be unbending, up until few months ago” he adds.
The American colonel claims that Putin’s main strategy is to break apart NATO.
“Vladimir Putin’s number one strategy for a very long time was to break apart NATO, he did not like the alliance looking towards Russia from the east, he hated it. When he looked at west and saw this unified front of democratic nations, all aligned together, he did not like it, so he would take tons of actions to tear apart NATO, he did not want it to grow, he did not want it to encroach on his land.” the American colonel asserts.
In this interview, Fischer also spoke about the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as the situation in Europe and the Balkans.
Full interview below
The Geopost: One year after Russian invasion in Ukraine, how do you see security situation in Europe and Balkans?
I’m intimately familiar with what’s going on in Ukraine and Russia and of course, I was stationed as a senior military attaché assigned to Pristina and Kosovo for two years, so, also quite familiar with the Balkans.
But to your question, I think that if we reflect about the last year, the first thing that is very tragic is, there’s been a massive amount of loss of life, we are talking hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides, we take this toll on both sides, and that is catastrophic, because this didn’t have to happen.
There is one person on this world that made the decision to make this happen and that is Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. So, it is important today to have a discussion about propaganda and disinformation because he is the king of it if you will. I think that Vladimir Putin today is little bit disappointed, I think that he really believed that this would be a three to six-month excursion into Kyiv, he would decapitate the country, he would cut-off the capital from the rest, he would find Zelensky, put him in prison and eventually Ukraine would be consumed into Russia. And clearly that did not happen and he had to have a retreat out of the north, back up in the Belarus and now the fighting is heavy in the eastern front in Ukraine.
He’s lost a lot of lives he’s lost a lot of tanks, he’s lost a lot of resources and assets, so I think he is quite upset. If you are from the Ukrainian side and the west, I think that you are surprised and optimistic, there are very few people back a year ago that truly thought that Ukraine had a chance in this fight and they see them stand up to what was perceived to be the second largest or the second most powerful military in the world is quite impressive. It speaks volumes to the amount of information operations and disinformation and propaganda that did Russia spread about their military capabilities. Truly many of these were inflated or exaggerated or if not outright lies. So, we are talking about different disinformation merely on the aspect of what his military capabilities were thought to be and what they truly turned on to be.
The Geopost: How do you comment close ties between Serbia and Russia?
To me it’s very interesting, I just wrote my second fiction thriller called Balkan Reprisal, which is 100% about this issue, the friction and the tensions between Serbia and Kosovo and the oligarchs, the wealthy, the powerful Vladimir Putin, they are all in the book. And the funny thing is, my former ambassador to Kosovo, ambassador Delawie, he argues this is as close to reality that fiction truly gets.
So, I think I have a little bit of ability to speak on this issue and what always puzzles me is, over the last 7 years Serbia has become more and more and more and more isolated, and even though they are isolated, president Vucic still itches his horses to Putin and he is extremely tied, they are Slavic brotherhood to Moscow and to Putin. At this point, Serbia is an island in a NATO ocean, they are completely surrounded by NATO countries, if I was them, I would be looking far more west than I would be looking east, I think that the west is giving president Vucic many opportunities, they are a partner for peace nation, they’ve started their opening charters into European Union, but, he just does not seem to really gravitate towards the west and that relation he has with Vladimir Putin it seems to be unbending, up until few months ago.
They are starting to see signs that Vucic’s and Putin’s relationship is breaking, Vucic is in really tough situation from its strategic perspective and I’ll explain on that. He does not support and has said numerous times, he does not support Russia violating the borders of Ukraine and of course he has to say that, because if he says that he supports the invasion and that integrity of nation’s borders aren’t sound and resolute, then there is an argument that Kosovo should have its independence, so he can’t have both. He can either support that he wants a whole of Serbia back and does not want Kosovo to exist or he can support Vladimir Putin and say that Vladimir Putin should have Serbia, but you can’t have both. So he is starting to have challenges with Moscow and with the Kremlin and maybe that is a good thing.
The Geopost: How do you see situation in the North of Kosovo and what are the security challenges of Kosovo in the future?
North Kosovo is tragic, when I was there from 2016 to 2018, this was that time frame when Oliver Ivanovic was assassinated, he was gunned down at broad daylight, assassinated at point blank range with hand guns outside of his office and at that time nobody saw it, all the security cameras and CCTVs were off or they weren’t working and this is just tragic, because what Mr. Ivanovic really wanted to do, he wanted to work with Kosovo and find a way forward and that did not sit well in Belgrade or whoever killed him, wherever that was.
I like some of the dialogue that is going on and the efforts at building some kind of relationship between the Serbs in Kosovo, the ethnic Serbs of Kosovo and the Albanians of Kosovo to become truly a nations of Kosovars. I think that passions towards ethnicities are extremely strong in the region, and understandable, I don’t dismiss that, I look at the situation from a different perspective, I’m an American,
I’m a German American but I have German, British, French blood in me, I have a lot of different ethnicities inside of me but I’m an American and that is the flag I stand under. You don’t have the same kind of felling in Kosovo and I think for Kosovo to truly exist as a multiethnic nation, that is a good thing. I will say that when I was there, my lead effort in strategy to help Kosovo was actually to get Kosovo to move KSF towards a true military towards a true army. And I will tell you that while you still have KSF you have a ministry of defense and was efforts that I took along with your senior leaders in a strategic level to get Kosovo to have an army and what I mean by that, our strategy was to overinflate the KSF with Kosovo Serbs, another words to have actually a percentage of Kosovo Serbs in the KSF even greater that the percentage that existed in the population because it was very hard for Belgrade to argue that the KSF was nothing more than KLA in a different uniform if there were bunch of Serbs in the KSF.
So, here you have a perfect example where multi-ethnicity in the KSF was recognized by European nations like Germany and England and also the United States and then they say, OK, this really isn’t KLA, the KSF truly is the multi-ethnic entity and we believe that right now perhaps is not the right time but we are not going to stop we are not going to get in the way, so Kosovo transitioned from Ministry of the KSF to Ministry of Defense and that was a great day and I am very proud of Kosovo for that, but that took efforts in a multi-ethnic relationship to advance.
The Geopost: Russia is always trying to interference in the Balkan states who are also NATO member states, we have the example with North Macedonia and Montenegro, which are preparing for elections in the next week, respectively next month, what is your comment and message?
My comments to my friends in the Balkan is stay resolute and stay true to your nation, believe in the rule of law and believe in democracy, believe in freedom of democracy.
The beautiful thing about Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Albania is, all of these people have tasted democracy, they’ve tasted freedom and it tastes good, I love it.
It infuriates Vladimir Putin that these nations can be free, that they can have democratic elections and he hates, to his core, hates the concepts of free and fair elections and democracy, so I tell them to stay true, you are 100% correct, they tried to interfere in Montenegro, with potential uprising in North Macedonia.
Vladimir Putin’s number one strategy for a very long time was to break apart NATO, he did not like the alliance looking towards Russia from the east, he hated it. When he looked at west and saw this unified front of democratic nations, all aligned together, he did not like it, so he would take tons of actions to tear apart NATO, he did not want it to grow, he did not want it to encroach on his land.
I think it’s important to point out, yes, NATO has advanced, but these nations voluntarily stepped forward and say they want to join, NATO is not going to them and burdening and overpowering them and twisting their arm and saying you must become part of our alliance.
The alliance is such a good thing that nations out there voluntarily say “I’d like to join your club” and that is a good thing, but where Vladimir Putin made one of his most strategic mistakes was the attack into Ukraine, because if his true strategic intent was to break up NATO, that action alone solidified NATO to be stronger than it has been in the last three decades, NATO is unified on a common front, all leaders of the NATO are marching to the same beat, they are stepping with the same foot and they are moving in the same direction, so his effort to destroy NATO has catastrophically failed on last two years. /The Geopost/