THEORY OF AMERICAN STUPIDITY: 2-4
2. The ''international community' tried for 14 months to broker a peaceful solution, but the Clinton Administration did not.
The UN (in its resolution 1199), the West European powers and the Russians sought, during 1998, to bring about a cease fire and a negotiated solution in Kosovo, granting autonomy to the Albanians within Serbia. The Serbian government, from March 1998 declared its support for this, and there was support for this approach, as an interim solution, from the Rugova shadow government in Pristina. Only two major actors opposed this: Madeleine Albright and the KLA. Albright and the whole Clinton administration gave massive political support to the KLA, undermining the line of the other members of the Contact Group and the line of UN resolution 1199.
Support for the KLA did not involve support for its aims: the Clinton administration has always opposed the aims of both the KLA and the Rugova leadership, both of whom demand independence for Kosovo. The Clinton administration did, however, support the KLA's means -- guerrilla warfare against the Serbian state -- by repeatedly and vigorously making demands upon the Serbian government which strengthened and encouraged the KLA war. This US support for the KLA became unequivocal by June 1998, by which time NATO military planning for an attack on Yugoslavia was completed. In that month, White House spokesperson Mike McCurry asserted that Serbia 'must immediately withdraw security units involved in civilian repression, without linkage to...the 'stopping of terrorist activity.'
In parallel, Pentagon spokesperson Kenneth Bacon said: 'We don't think that there should be any linkage between an immediate withdrawal of forces by the Yugoslavs on the one hand, and stopping terrorist activities, on the other. There ought to be complete withdrawal of military forces so that negotiations can begin.' In other words, Washington was insisting that before any cease-fire or negotiations on a Kosovo peace settlement, the Serbian authorities must withdraw all their forces for Kosovo, handing over the territory to the KLA's military forces despite the fact that the urban Albanian population of Kosovo was far more pro-Rugova than the KLA.
As Gary Dempsey explains, the US was demanding that the Serbian government 'effectively hand over one of its territories to an insurgency movement.....This...led many ethnic Albanians to further conclude that the Clinton administration-- despite its official statements to the contrary -- backed their goal of independence....Although US policy was officially opposed to independence for Kosovo, Washington would not allow Belgrade to forcibly resist it.'
Air War supporters thus have a choice of interpretations on these matters: either the US was right to back the KLA and sharpen the internal conflict in preparation for a NATO attack, in which case the Europeans are the Russians were presumably covert supporters of the dictatorial, genocidal Milosevic regime. Alternatively, they can argue that the European-Russians-UN were right to seek an internal cease-fire and negotiated solution and the US was wrong to try to sabotage this. But Air War supporters cannot embrace both variants.
3. Sabotaging the October 13th Cease-Fire:
On 13th October, Albright's rival in the Clinton administration, Richard Holbrooke, negotiated a cease-fire agreement with Yugoslav President Milosevic. The cease-fire would be monitored in Kosovo by OSCE observers. Milosevic agreed on the basis that the US administration would ensure that the KLA did observe the cease-Fire.
But the Clinton administration sabotaged the whole operation. The OSCE monitors did not enter Kosovo for a whole month after the agreement. During that time, the KLA did not respect the cease-fire, continued its operations and extended its reach in Kosovo. During the delay, the Clinton administration took control of the OSCE, placed William Walker, a key organiser of the Contra operation in Nicaragua and the blood-bath in El Salvador, in charge of the OSCE monitoring force. Some 2,000 trained monitors waiting in Bosnia to be sent into Kosovo were blocked by the US, who put US ex-military personnel in as the monitoring force and from mid-November they surveyed every bridge, cross-roads, official building, security force billet and barracks -- every item that could be relevant to a future NATO-KLA joint offensive.
At the same time the European-Russian-UN line continued to be to seek an internal solution and blamed the KLA for the failure to achieve it. Thus, for example, at their General Affairs Council on 8th December, 1998, Cook and the other foreign ministers of the EU assessed the situation in Kosovo. The report of the meeting in the Agence Europe Bulletin of the following day stated: 'At the close of its debate on the situation in the Western Balkans, the General Affairs Council mainly expressed concern for the recent 'intensification of military action' in Kosovo, noting that 'increased activity by the KLA has prompted an increased presence of Serbian security forces in the region.' ' Thus, the EU saw the KLA as the driving force undermining the possibility of a cease fire and a compromise solution. They were simply on a different line from Albright. And they continued to be right through January.