Magazine article Insight on the News

Europeans See U.S. Withdrawal from Kosovo

Magazine article Insight on the News

Europeans See U.S. Withdrawal from Kosovo

Article excerpt

One foreign-policy priority likely to be high on Bush's list once he gets into the Oval Office is what to do about the 8,000 U.S. troops currently deployed in Kosovo.

During the campaign he horrified Europeans by suggesting he would withdraw the GIs as soon as practical. His national-security advisers had to calm ruffled foreign feathers and reassure NATO allies that nothing would be done precipitously.

But with the backdrop of renewed attacks on Serb civilians, security forces and peacekeeping troops by ethnic Albanian fighters, the pressure is going to be on the incoming administration to be clear about what it wants to do.

Even without U.S. prodding, NATO's peacekeeping mission in the strife-tom province of Kosovo is at a crossroads. With Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic effectively out of the picture and his allies in disarray, NATO shortly will have to choose either to rein in Albanian insurgents or give up on its halfway house of a multiethnic Kosovo within Serbia.

If NATO fails to discipline the insurgents, then it is likely it will have to face the disturbing consequences of an independent Kosovo. That could have Balkans-wide ramifications and trigger ethnic problems in neighboring states -- exactly what drew NATO into the region in the first place. …

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