The new dead end reached due to the Police reform is a clear example of that. It seems the system of joint state institutions is today going through one of the biggest crises since the end of the war. Many stares are directed "outward" - towards the Office of the High Representative and representatives of the "international community". Forceful interventions in the system that has almost stopped functioning are expected, and we have already had a chance to hear public calculations of chief political factors, both in power and in opposition, [regarding what type of action the OHR and the international community will take].
Perhaps those who claim that it could not be expected from politicians "with the national prefix" to cooperate effectively were right. Thus, recently we could again hear statements of opposition politicians and "civic public" that Ashdown's belief (with which he started his tenure) that he would be able to successfully cooperate with "nationalists" was finally proven wrong. They are convinced that from the start Ashdown should have initiated some sort of an open showdown with them. Thus, impression is being created that precisely his vacillation decisively contributed to the current "hot" situation produced by the policy of deal-making between "national elites". Of course, now is a suitable time to criticize the High Representative since his decisiveness, as well as the decisiveness of the whole "external factor" is being tested.
However, what should be done with politicians in power who refuse to cooperate? If we listen to radical voices from the "civic opposition", we'll be told that "nationalists" cannot cooperate, because they are - "nationalists"! But we rarely, if ever, hear proposals regarding what should actually be done with them. Cautious and vague suggestions roughly indicate that they should either be dismissed or subjected to intense pressure in their political activities. Both proposals boil down to one and the same: make sure that nationalists are not what they are, either by removing them from politics or by making sure they cannot act like nationalists. The High Representative has decisively used both measures, although perhaps not sufficiently. At this moment of obvious crisis, as never before, we face the question of the proper extent of application of such measures. How far and how should we proceed in the showdown with the alleged nationalists?
First, we must ask why that has become an issue that has to be dealt with the High Representative and international community institutions? As far as most of "civic opposition" is concerned, that has become the chief role of "our foreigners". Isn't that a telling sign of the hopelessness facing the politics of civic unity? The only productive and legitimate showdown with "backward political forces", everyone understands, can take place through discussion in political forums and by shaping the will and affecting the choice of the voters. It is the unavoidable truth that in the long period since the end of the war the democratic political struggle hasn't produced results that are increasingly expected from the interventionist measures of the international community.
However, one cannot but wonder what sort of political goal is "to stop nationalists"? For those proposing drastic measures that has become a precondition for normal functioning of the democratic political life. Consequently, as far as they are concerned, such a goal can only be achieved by an intervention from the "outside", since due to allegedly destructive actions of nationalists the political system cannot get up on its feet. And true, the High Representative is supposed to assist with the reconstruction of the political system. But at this point we face a whole slew of paradoxes. If the system truly does not function, if we truly face "the state of emergency" then the high representative, as the more recent political theory tries to convince us, becomes an absolute sovereign who makes all the most important political decisions. Thereby he "cancels" the system he is supposed to kick start. The outcome is that nationalists remain within the system, and the high sovereign outside or that he and the nationalists are removed, while our exemplary democrats remain in political institutions that stop functioning since - they cannot make any important decisions. But, some will object, that is only a temporary state that will last until the political decision-making mechanism starts working, until preconditions for the overall organization are set. Still, is that really a reconstruction of the democratic organization? Just consider the resulting situation: an outside force keeps nationalists away from politics, so that democrats can do their work. Consequently, the overall democratic legitimacy of the system is lost, since the politicians expelled from the system are not aliens, or terrorists but legally elected political representatives of the popular will. Thereby we reconstruct the previous [Communist] system in which the political life could only function if nationalists were removed from it. Can we demand from Ashdown to be Tito? Could modern democrats advocate a system without democratic legitimacy? Let us recall that such a system, the Communist system, ultimately produced the victory of national parties and their almost unquestionable rule over many years.
This source of legitimacy - nationalists keep drawing legitimacy from the political will of the nation they represent - confronts the deeply ingrained belief in the lack of legitimacy of national parties, based on two arguments: they caused the war and unbridgeable post-war differences. However, it should be said that there are no "higher reasons" that justify abnegation of the democratic choice. Unfortunately, it could even be said that the democratic choice was to a large extent responsible for the war. Therefore, we are left with measures of expulsion of individuals and "softening" of political party leadership. (True, there is also the increasingly intoxicating belief that the new constitution will finally stop the production of some sort of fake legitimacy of those without civic orientation.) In that expulsion should be used for softening, rather than the other way round, since we saw that expelled leaders return like ghosts, in an even more "extreme" shape. Recently, we could have witnessed first hand that exclusion breads extremism. That is the very lesson that we can learn from the developed democracies regarding the destructive force of nationalism: there, it has become tame, soft, and transformed into liberal nationalism.