It’s bad enough to have to hear a US presidential candidate claim to know everything there is to know about…everything, and how to make it all great again. But it’s unbearable to listen to the claims of such a vast array of knowledge, and the touting of such experience and success that if one dares support the other candidate, they must be a complete idiot. Just thinking about this person running the most powerful country in the world, and US foreign policy in particular, is unnerving to say the least. The sheer arrogance of these claims is what makes America despised again. Yes, the candidate I’m referring to is, of course, Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton can learn a thing or two about being humble from Donald Trump. Scary, but true. Whatever one may feel about his rants, Trump has the common sense to say that the US doesn’t have the right to lecture other countries. Trump realizes that it is America’s foreign policy that is despised. Trump doesn’t want to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, but his detractors are too shallow to look past the delivery of his message to understand his actual words. Trump’s message to “Make America Great Again”, while (American) cheesy, is saying that there is something wrong with the United States right now. And there is. Fix it.
A select few other American politicians have run on similar platforms, but they’re not in the race anymore. But this isn’t about Donald Trump. It isn’t really about Hillary Clinton either. It’s about (almost) every American politician, regardless of which party, continuing the decades-old American foreign policy of intervention, destruction, and evacuation. The mess that the US leaves behind is evident for generations to come. America, you have no right to impose your will on any other country and claim that you have the moral authority to do so. Focus on yourselves, take care of your own citizens and, if you feel that you must provide “guidance” to the rest of the world, do so by example, not by force.
Look at the mess that is the Macedonia name dispute. Since American elections include much talk about religion, look at what the Bible states, “…Paul had a vision of a man in Macedonia standing and pleading with him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’” He did not say “Come over to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and help us.” Let’s keep this short and sweet, much like America’s involvement in Macedonia should be. Greece admitted that it created this artificial dispute as a way to wipe Macedonia off the map. These words are echoed by the first UN negotiator for the name dispute, Robin O’Neil. The United States has recognized Macedonia, yet tries to appease Greece by demanding a “compromise” (name change). So herein lies the continued use of the “temporary” UN term “FYROM” or “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. Would any other country, negotiate, or be forced to negotiate its own name? Macedonia has existed since before Biblical times, while Greece is a modern creation. Greece annexed part of Macedonia’s territory in 1913, tried to eradicate its very existence, then changed its policy of never using the “M” word to claiming that Macedonia’s land always belonged to Greece, yet, the Macedonian people still don’t exist. It’s really a “doth protest too much” moment. If anything, Greece should be forced to change its name and its history of cultural appropriation.
As former US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, once famously said “The name dispute is unnecessary and unfounded, since Macedonia was called the same in the time of former Yugoslavia and this did not cause any problems then…Greece claims that Macedon or Macedonia, as well as Alexander of Macedonia are its own. This is a false claim and it is time someone confirms this. The Ancient Greeks considered Macedonia a half-civilized region, representing a source of raw materials and nothing more. Macedonia’s rise in the time of Phillip and his son Alexander was greeted with opposition, resulting in a defeat of several cities. Phillip and Alexander were considered tyrants who destroy Greeks’ freedom. The claims of modern Greeks that the ancient kingdom of Macedon was their own ignores a historic fact. Ancient Greeks had never been eager in claiming Macedonia was theirs and they never accepted either Phillip or Alexander as their own legitimate rulers. The Greek claim about Macedonia is based on historically incorrect information and is therefore not fact-based.” Mr. Eagleburger went on to say that it is “not wise for a foreigner to interfere with the internal affairs of another state.” To quote a favourite American pastime, “Bingo!”
So there is hope. America, usher in a new era of responsible foreign policy by denouncing the name negotiations as an attack on common sense and Macedonia’s self-determination and human rights. Donald Trump, denounce the name dispute and prove that you “Love the Macedonians”. Secure the Macedonian-American vote in the process. Hillary Clinton, you have called for Macedonia to change its name to appease Greece, yet your supporters claim that you’re a champion of human rights. Please admit that your experience does not equal expertise. Look to the words of one of your predecessors, Mr. Eagleburger, for guidance. And let’s all watch Macedonia, one day, walk in with dignity behind the letter “M” for Macedonia instead of “F” for “Former Yugoslav…” in the Olympic games. One can only pray that common sense prevails.
*Bill Nicholov, President, Macedonian Human Rights Movement International