Etnisk rensing forutsett

Karsten Vedel Johansen (
Mon, 5 Apr 1999 22:53:38 +0200 (MET DST)

Fra The Times:

JOHN BRUTON, the former Irish Prime Minister, last
night accused Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, of not
telling the truth about the refugee crisis prompted by
attacks on Yugoslavia.

Mr Bruton, the leader of Ireland's Fine Gael main
opposition party, said Mr Cook was "simply not making a
truthful statement when he said no one could have foreseen
a refugee crisis on the scale of the one now happening in
the Balkans following the Nato decision to bomb
Yugoslavia while refusing to commit ground troops under
any circumstances".

The former Dublin premier added: "He is wrong. The
present refugee crisis was not only foreseeable, it was
foreseen. It is profoundly dishonest to pretend otherwise."

Mr Bruton said he had predicted the crisis before the
bombing, and pointed to a prediction made in Berlin by the
Swedish opposition leader and former Bosnia mediator Carl
Bildt, who predicted one million refugees within two weeks
of the start of bombing.

I samme avis skriver kommentatoren Wiliam Rees-Mogg bl.a.:

So far everything has gone to plan, to Milosevic's plan.
Nato did start the bombing and it has provided diplomatic
cover for Serbian national support for the ethnic cleansing
campaign. Serbia has by now achieved the expulsion of a
large part of the Albanian population of Kosovo. The
bombing, not surprisingly, has raised Milosevic's status as
the leader of his own Serbian people. Russia has given
diplomatic support, and Russian public opinion is strongly
pro-Serbian. Nato has not invaded, nor taken a decision to
invade; Nato is not at present able to stop, let alone reverse,
the ethnic cleansing. The bombing has so far done relatively
minor long-term damage to the economic infrastructure of
Serbia, and presumably Nato does not intend to inflict total

The choice that will be offered to Nato is, in effect, an
offer it cannot refuse. Nato can have a Russian-brokered
peace settlement on terms quite close to Tony Blair's, if it is
prepared to accept the partition of Kosovo along the lines
of the partition of Bosnia. The refugees would then be able
to return to an Albanian sector of Kosovo, however that
might be determined, where they would enjoy autonomy
under UN protection. This will not be a defeat either for
Nato or Yugoslavia. Both sides will have made
concessions, but will have achieved much of what they
wanted. At the price of the partition of Kosovo, Milosevic
will have consolidated the boundaries of an ethnically united
Serbia, and Nato will have limited the Kosovo conflict and
restored the refugees, if not completely. From the
humanitarian point of view, a great evil has already been
committed; this settlement would improve the condition of
the refugees, but ground war would make it even more

Nato does, of course, have the other option, of war. Not
just war in the air, but war on the ground, an invasion of
Kosovo, a war against Yugoslavia. That is still not
inconceivable, if Milosevic does not now follow his own exit
strategy. In some months' time, if there were no sign of
serious peace talks, Nato would almost certainly have to
build up the threat of ground war, just as it built up the
threat of bombing. If that threat did not produce a peace
settlement, an invasion might even have to be carried out.
There will, therefore, be staff plans, and deliberate leaks of
staff plans, for full-scale ground war. But that will be a last
resort; it will only actually happen if Milosevic forces it on

Milosevic is a ruthless war criminal, but so far he has
followed a consistent but limited objective, the consolidation
of a strong Serbian national state out of the ethnic break-up
of Yugoslavia. That could only now be secured by a
successful peace negotiation. It is in his interest to achieve
that negotiation.

Nato has equally strong reasons to want a settlement. No
one knows what to do for the dispossessed Kosovans; they
are too great a burden for the poor neighbouring states. No
Nato power wants to welcome them in large numbers as
permanent refugees. War would not get them home, but
would cause immense further suffering, and risk a wider
Balkan conflict. It would also require a massive military
effort and involve heavy casualties.

The war decision would be taken in the United States,
which would have to provide a substantial proportion of the
troops, and an even higher proportion of the technology.
Even if Nato could be held together on such a policy,
United States opinion is against a ground war and is likely
to remain so. Americans remember the Vietnam disaster,
let alone Somalia.

The United States is prepared, in the last resort, to go to
war to protect a major American interest, to resist
aggression, or to bring to an end an intolerable crime
against humanity. That is the reason for the Nato bombing.
If President Milosevic, with Russian support, offers peace
terms, the United States will not risk heavy losses, or the
creation of a second Vietnam in the Balkans, in order to
take revenge on the undoubted wickedness of Serbia's
ethnic-cleansing policy. In the Second World War, the
policy of the United States was "unconditional surrender".
This is not the Second World War. Kosovo - however
tragic - is one of the limited wars which have followed the
ethnic break-up of Yugoslavia, and both Nato and Serbia,
as well as the Russians, are already planning on the
assumption of a negotiated peace.


Vh. Karsten Johansen