Bar Too High For Serbs to Comly 2
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US troops out of Europe!


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of the Belgrade Coup

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Leon Chame - 2008

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avgust 20, 2008

















Sixth, because of how the Administration's decision to bomb has turned Kosovo from a crisis into a disaster, we no longer have a Kosovo policy -- we have a KLA policy. As documented in a paper released by the Policy Committee on March 31, the Clinton Administration has elevated to virtually unchallenged status as the legitimate representative of the Kosovo Albanian people a terrorist group about which there are very serious questions as to its criminal activities particularly with regard to the drug trade and as to radical Islamic influences, including Osama bin Ladin and the Iranians. Advocates of U.S. assistance to the KLA, such as the Heritage Foundation, point out that based on the experience of aiding the mujahedin in Afghanistan, we can use our help as a leverage for "reforming" the KLA's behavior. However, I would ask which radical group of any description, either in Afghanistan (where we could at least claim the vicissitudes of the Cold War justified the risks), or the Izetbegovic regime in Bosnia, or, on the same principle, the Castro regime in Cuba or the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, or the PLO has ever genuinely a bandoned its radical birthright for a mess of American pottage.

Seventh, advocates of aid to the KLA suggest that it be contingent on guarantees that that organization not attack civilians and not pursue a greater Albania beyond Kosovo. Given the pre-1989 history of Kosovo and the KLA's behavior to date, the first suggestion is laughable. As for the second, I submit for your consideration a map from the webpage of the Albanian American Civic League (, a pro-KLA group in the United States. It visually represents the areas claimed by the KLA, including not only Kosovo but other areas of southern Serbia, parts of Montenegro and Macedonia (including their capitals), and parts of Greece. When I first saw this map which the webmaster has made considerably harder to print since I first referenced it in my paper it struck a recollection of some thing I had seen before. It occurred to me that it is quite similar to one I have (printed by the State Department in 1947) of interim territorial arrangements during World War II. I can understand that there is an element of hyperbole in critics' calling NATO's air campaign "Nazi," but I fail to see what interest the United States has in helping to restore the Nazi-imposed borders of 1943 or how this helps preserve European stability.

Eighth, the Clinton claim that we are hitting Milosevic and not the Serbian people is just cruel mockery. Politically, this bombing has solidified his position as he never could have done on his own. The Clinton Administration repeatedly rebuffed initiatives by the Serbian opposition for support against Milosevic, most recently by a direct meeting with Madeleine Albright by the Serbian Orthodox bishop of Kosovo, His Grace ARTEMIJE, in which he appealed for an initiative that would have strengthened moderate forces on both sides, begun genuine negotiations (in place of the Rambouillet farce), and weakened Milosevic. (I have copies of this proposal here today.) Predictably, that appeal fell on deaf ears. But this Administration cannot say it was not warned.

Ninth, the Administration's "humanitarian" justification for this war the contention that this is about returning Albanian refugees to their homes is rank hypocrisy. Many commentators have noted that the Administration had turned a blind eye to the cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Serbs from the Krajina in 1995. This is not quite accurate. They did not turn a blind eye, they actively abetted the Croatian Army's "Operation Storm" with mercenary retired U.S. military consultants to provide training and operational planning under the guise of "democracy training." Indeed, there is evidence that U.S. assistance to the eradication of the Krajina Serbs may have included air strikes and psy-ops, but to my knowledge no member of our intrepid Fourth Estate has yet seen fit to look into it.

Tenth, the notion that Milosevic is nationalist bent on creating a "Greater Serbia" is nonsense. Milosevic -- unlike the equally thuggish Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic -- is an opportunist, who likely would have been more than willing to sell out Kosovo as he did the Serbs of Krajina and parts of Bosnia, if the Clinton/Albright policy had not been so completely incompetent as to paint him into corner where he had to stand and fight. As for Greater Serbia -- as opposed to Greater Croatia or Greater Albania -- it's all in the definitions.

The only consistent rule in the break-up of Titoist Yugoslavia is that the Serbs, the only constituent nationality that gave up their own national state to create Yugoslavia, have alone been regarded as having no legitimate interest in how it broke up. One the one hand, Serb minorities in other republics were expected to accept as authoritative Tito's borders or be regarded as "aggressors" for wishing to remain in the state in which they had up until them been living. On the other hand, Kosovo, a region that was part of Serbia even before Yugoslavia was created, is up for grabs. The double standard is breathtaking.

So what are we left with? The Clinton Administration's blunder has done nothing but harm American interests and those of everybody else concerned. It has harmed the Albanian refugees, making an already bad situation much worse; harmed an unknown number of innocent civilians, both Serbian and Albanian, killed or injured by our bombing; harmed any prospects of political reform in Serbia that would remove Milosevic from power; harmed the U.S. security posture, as our forces around the world have been stripped down to devote resources to Kosovo; harmed the already fragile stability of neighboring states and the region as a whole; and harmed our relationship with Russia, which should be among our first priorities -- having vindicated every lie the Soviet Union ever told about NATO's aggressive intentions. And the harm grows worse every day.

The question before us is finding an honorable exit. Some suggest turning the current disaster into complete catastrophe by sending in NATO ground troops under premises as faulty as those that led to the air war. Arming and training the KLA would be similarly ill-advised. That leaves pointlessly extending the air war -- or looking for a way out, a diplomatic solution. I will let Rep. Weldon describe his proposal as outlined in House Concurrent Resolution 99 which seems to me the best idea on the table. I would add only one thing: we need to stop the bombing as soon as possible. If what you are doing is making things worse, stop what you're doing. If you have mistakenly put gasoline on a fire instead of water don't pour on more.

Some will suggest that quitting while we're behind would harm American and NATO's credibility and would be a victory for Milosevic. But to a large extent, that damage has already been done. As for NATO, what has been harmed so far is less NATO's commitment to its collective defense mission under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty which has never been at stake in Kosovo than what President Clinton has called the "new NATO" and Prime Minister Blair a "new internationalism," which is nowhere provided for in the Treaty.

What would, and should, collapse is the misguided effort to transform NATO from a defensive alliance into a regional peacekeeping organization, a mini-U.N. with "out-of-area" responsibilities, a certain road to more Bosnias and more Kosovos down the line. That mission would lose its credibility, fatally so, and so it should. The Clinton Administration's incompetent policy in Kosovo has had one small benefit: it has exposed fact that last year, when the Senate gave its advice and consent to expansion of NATO's membership, it also approved expansion of NATO's mission. If the Clinton Administration and NATO are successful in Kosovo, not only will the principle of state sovereignty in the face of an out-of-control international bureaucracy be fatally compromised, we can expect (and indeed some observers already have started to set out the case for) new and even more dangerous adventures of this sort elsewhere, notably in the Caucasus.

Finally, I have no confidence that the Clinton Administration is ready to take the rational way out offered by Rep. Weldon and his colleagues. Indeed, rational people would not have committed the blunders to date nor would they have continued to compound them. All signs indicate that President Clinton, Secretary Albright, and their "Third Wave" European cronies of the Tony Blair stripe are treating this not as a policy problem but as a political problem.

Their attitude, as it was during the impeachment crisis, is "we'll just have to win then, won't we" -- "winning" meaning not a successful policy or even winning the war, but winning the propaganda war: an exercise in media spin, polls, and focus groups.

As Madeleine Albright suggested last year, the leader of some countries she mentioned, Serbia among them . . . try to grab the truth and leash it like a dog, ration it like bread, or mold it like clay. Their goal is to create their own myths, conceal their own blunders, direct resentments elsewhere and instill in their people a dread of change.

However true that description is of Slobodan Milosevic, Madame Secretary should look in the mirror.

No, this war is not about American interests but about vindicating the intelligence of Madeleine Albright and the good word of Bill Clinton. The door to an honorable exit is clearly marked. The question is how to induce this Administration to take it.