Politics of War

By Rust, Michael; Maier, Timothy W. | Insight on the News, May 3, 1999 | Go to article overview

Politics of War


Rust, Michael, Maier, Timothy W., Insight on the News


President Clinton's policy in Kosovo has created strange bedfellows in all corners of the political universe. Whether right or left, no one is satisfied with the war.

Easter 1999 -- from the refugee-choked roads of Kosovo to the pundit-filled TV studios of Washington, a terrible confusion is born. President Clinton's military policies in the Balkans have drawn a widely varied response across the political spectrum as the already-confusing smorgasbord of post-Cold War ideological arrangements has been jumbled by U.S. actions against Yugoslavia.

The bombing reportedly was meant to halt Serbian "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo. But as the military offensive escalated, the forced exodus of ethnic Albanians from the tortured province escalated. Across the political landscape, politicians and commentators were forced to confront a world in which old ideological nostrums and policy shibboleths have been turned upside down and shaken very hard.

Democrats, Republicans and the respective fringes of the political spectrum all were treading carefully. But Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona found his faltering presidential bid boosted when he became the leading TV proponent of U.S. intervention among the GOP White House contenders. At the same time, some establishment Republicans privately worried that protracted U.S. involvement or abject U.S. failure could boost the prospects of such longtime anti-interventionists as Patrick Buchanan. And Vice President Al Gore finds himself in a familiar position -- entangled like poor Hubert Humphrey in the for tunes of his chief, for good or for ill.

On the right, the post-Cold War split between pro- and anti-interventionists -- a sundering that also appeared nine years ago during the Persian Gulf War -- continued to manifest itself, albeit with a somewhat different configuration. On the left, antiwar groups lined up against the president, only to find themselves temporarily without Capitol Hill support as Democratic lawmakers opted to back the administration. Both sides of the aisle faced the prospect of a costly military intervention effectively canceling hopes for either a Republican tax cut or a Democratic increase in social spending.

Official Washington buzzed and the Kosovo intervention suddenly had replaced the various Clinton scandals as prime fodder for the policy and punditry animals. Some commentators openly stated that both Democrats and Republicans among the foreign-policy establishment had realized that a true disaster could result from a failure of the bombing campaign, leading them to unite behind support for victory, even if it requires involvement of U.S. ground forces.

Many who do not habitate halls of power object to this. Thomas Fleming, president of the conservative Rockford Institute in Illinois and editor of Chronicles, tells Insight that "Clinton needs to get off the macho high horse he created with his incompetent diplomacy. He created a bad situation with hundreds of civilians killed, thousands injured and hundreds of thousands having lost their homes." Fleming, a longtime critic of interventionists in both parties, says the president's comparison of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic with Adolf Hitler is absurd. "The death rate in Kosovo before the bombing was lower than the murder rate in D.C."

A growing number quietly are sharing the basics of Fleming's critique of the Clinton administration's actions leading up to the air war. With reports that both the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency opposed the bombing coming in the wake of a peculiar televised CBS interview in which the president compared himself with Franklin Roosevelt and King David, and linked the war against Serbia with an effort to combat domestic hate crimes, even Clinton supporters are wary of giving him an unchecked hand. ("FDR and King David won their wars" a fellow at a Washington liberal think tank remarks sardonically.)

So when it comes to long-term political consequences of the air war, it is simply too early to tell.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Politics of War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.