Diana Johnstone

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Diana Johnstone (born 1934) is an American political writer based in Paris, France. She focuses primarily on European politics and Western foreign policy.

Early life

Johnstone gained a BA in Russian Area Studies and a Ph.D. in French Literature from the University of Minnesota.[1] She was active in the movement against the Vietnam War, organizing the first international contacts between American citizens and Vietnamese representatives. Most of Johnstone's adult life has been spent in France, Germany, and Italy.

Johnstone was European editor of the U.S. weekly In These Times from 1979 to 1990. She was press officer of the Green group in the European Parliament from 1990 to 1996. Johnstone also regularly contributes to the online magazine CounterPunch.

Fool's Crusade

After the 2003 publication of her Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions, Johnstone became the centre of controversy over her claim in the book that there is "no evidence whatsoever" that the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims was genocidal,[2] and that only 199 Bosnian Muslims had been killed.[3][4] Editor of Left Foot Forward, James Bloodworth, asserted that "the work has been thoroughly discredited by many".[5] The historian Marko Attila Hoare called it "an extremely poor book, one that is little more than a polemic in defence of the Serb-nationalist record during the wars of the 1990s—and an ill-informed one at that".[6]

The book was rejected by publishers in Sweden,[6] prompting an open letter in 2003 defending Johnstone's book—and her right to publish—that was signed by, among others, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Tariq Ali and John Pilger. The signatories stated, "We regard Diana Johnstone's Fools' Crusade as an outstanding work, dissenting from the mainstream view but doing so by an appeal to fact and reason, in a great tradition."[7][8] The staff and board had reacted against the platform the editor had given Johnstone, "a cranky writer" according to Nick Cohen of The Observer.[4] Ed Vulliamy, who reported for The Guardian during the Bosnian War, called Johnstone's book "poison" in response to the letter from Chomsky and the others.[9] In her own defence, Johnstone has said her critics "reduce [her] book, as they reduce the Balkan conflict itself, to a certain number of notorious atrocities, and stigmatise whatever deviates from their own dualistic interpretation".[10]

Richard Caplan of Reading and Oxford University reviewed the work in International Affairs, where he described the work as "a revisionist and highly contentious account of western policy and the dissolution of Yugoslavia. [… It] is insightful but overzealous […] well worth reading—but for the discriminating eye."[11]

Later writing

In April 2012, she wrote about the first round of the French Presidential elections a few days earlier and identified Front National leader Marine Le Pen as "notably" "basically on the left" while also labelling Le Pen as "demagogic".[12] She also rejected claims Le Pen is antisemitic: "There is absolutely nothing attesting to anti-Semitism on the part of Marine Le Pen. She has actually tried to woo the powerful Jewish organisations, and her anti-Islam stance is also a way to woo such groups".[13]

Books by Diana Johnstone

  • The Politics of Euromissiles: Europe's Role in America's World (New York, NY: Schocken Books, 1985)
  • Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions (London: Pluto Press; New York: Monthly Review Press, 2003)
  • Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton (CounterPunch, 2015)


  1. "Ethics and US Foreign Policy", Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, 19 May 2011 (Conference itinerary)
  2. Fool's Crusade, p. 117.
  3. Fool's Crusade, p.115.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Nick Cohen "Decline and fall of the puppetmasters", The Observer, 17 July 2011
  5. James Bloodworth "Denial of the Srebrenica Massacre", The Huffington Post, 17 May 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 Marko Attila Hoare "Chomsky's Genocidal Denial", FrontPage magazine, 23 November 2005
  7. "To whom it may concern", hagglundsforlag (Sweden)
  8. "Attack of the Zarembites", Ordfront (Sweden), April 2004
  9. Ed Vuillamy "Comment: We Must Fight for Memory of Bosnia's Camps", BCR [Balkan Crisis Report], Issue 513, 21 February 2005, Institute For War & Peace Reporting website
  10. Diana Johnstone "The Bosnian war was brutal, but it wasn't a Holocaust", The Guardian, 23 November 2005
  11. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  12. Diana Johnstone "Disillusion With the Euro and Europe", Counterpunch, 24 April 2012; "French Elections: Cracks in the Neoliberal Consensus", Znet (reprint), 28 April 2012
  13. Johnstone quoted by Alexander Cockburn "Who are the real fascists: Marine Le Pen - or the United States?" The Week, 3 May 2012

External links