Lessons on indecisiveness from 1948

Around this time 75 years ago, a storm was brewing in Josip Broz Tito’s cabinet. Alternatives were tested on how to respond to Big Brother from Moscow if he made an aggressive move. The generals and security officers probably briefed the marshal on a daily basis about the possible risks of a Soviet invasion on the eastern and northern borders of the country. People from the security services KOS and from UDBA observed the behaviour of thousands of fifth columnists, who could hardly wait for the arrival of the Red Army to Yugoslavia and the overthrow of the revisionists.

In a few months, 75 years since the Informbiro resolution and Tito–Stalin split will be marked. We need to remember that time, and that decision of Yugoslavia and its leader with pride, and as lessons learned.

The resistance at that time determined the path of post-war Yugoslavia. Tito’s decision meant that Yugoslavia had decided that it did not want to be another Soviet republic, similar to many in Eastern Europe.

He chose values, not sides. He chose a stable future, not a short-term alliance. His decision was not based on fear, but on the belief that every nation has the strength and courage to make a decision that affects it on its own.

As risky as it is to draw a historical analogy with 1948, we must sometimes dare to learn from difficult moments in our history.

Today, Serbia is under pressure to make a choice, which is no secret. Needless to say, there are many of those asking that Serbia does not make a choice, and to remain “somewhere in between”. Behind each such request, there is a more or less open encouragement to embrace Russia as the main, or even the only, big ally, and to turn our backs on the West.

Such “indecisiveness” is only an insidious mask for subservience to Moscow, which is similar to the IB fifth-columnists from 1948. It is determined by the belief that the West (the EU, the US, NATO, etc.) wants some kind of destruction of Serbia, but in fact it represents indulging the most destructive forces in our society, which want the conservation of nationalism, a corrupt centralised economy, idleness and so on, as opposed to reforms, open competition, calls for hard work and similar progress.

Serbia today, similar to Yugoslavia seven and a half decades ago, does not choose between Russia and the West. It chooses between two value systems on a global scale. It chooses between an open society and a competitive economy on the one hand, and a censored Internet and a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” tycoons’ complicity on the other. It chooses between aggression against a neighbouring nation with the intention of occupying it and turning it into Russia and the Russians, and, on the other hand, defending freedom and the right of people to determine their own path. Both value systems are under the protection of huge military, economic and political powers. But that was also the case in 1948, and the decision was reached. And it was good. At the time the USSR was significantly stronger than today’s wreckage of the Russian Federation.

It was a difficult decision for those who made it, but it was good for the people and the country. Sometimes history can be the best adviser.

Today, the fundamental question is whether indecisiveness is a sustainable decision in the long run. The answer is simple, indecisiveness is just a weakness that does not contain any substance, and nowadays it is more of an empty platitude than a political ideology.

Stronger countries than ours are not indecisive; not even those that are among the strongest. Because indecisiveness is not a political virtue, it is a forced phrase, full of hypocrisy and cowardice, which only seems like an easy position to the inexperienced.

Today, indecisiveness does not refer to military alliances (although there is only one such), but to value systems similar to those identified in the beginning of this text. It refers to the quality of life, education, salaries, pensions, economy, and the future. Taking account of all that, a responsible politician cannot and must not be indecisive.

And finally, let’s look each other in the eye. Do we want to be like Russia? To have an economy like Russia’s, such a political system, quality of life; do we want to support its invasion of independent Ukraine, support the destruction of cities, killing civilians and displacement of millions of families?

It is legitimate and easy to reject all the values of Western civilisation and to embrace Putin’s Russia. Okay, so that’s a decision. Why should we remain undecided if “Mother Russia” is our only friend and all we need? Then we are not being fair to ourselves or to Russia.

If everything is as our Russophiles claim, and if the pro-Putin hysteria in Serbia (which is stronger and louder than in Russia) is the majority position of Serbia, then this false dilemma does not exist.

Then Serbia should not and must not be indecisive. It should stand clearly and firmly with Russia, taking into account the interests of Putin and Russia. There is no need, therefore, to flirt with the West and evil America and Britain, whose top agenda (every morning as soon as they start working) is how to destroy Serbia and Serbian people.

It is incomprehensible why we would want to enter a family of values like the EU with member countries that are our “enemies”. So, it is an easy decision for our leadership. Reject the hypocritical West and finally and formally become a small Russia in the Balkans. Anything is better than indecisiveness. Dante Alighieri said:, ”The darkest places of hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” And this parallel between 1948 and 2023 is not accidental.