Magazine article Insight on the News

Realpolitik and Slim Odds Belie Clinton's War against Milosevic. (Fair Comment)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Realpolitik and Slim Odds Belie Clinton's War against Milosevic. (Fair Comment)

Article excerpt

President Clinton says NATO's stratospheric bombing war against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is to save Kosovar Albanians from ethnic cleansing and genocide and to deter any would-be imitators anywhere in the world.

But don't you believe it any more than Woodrow Wilson's preachy proclamation that World War I was the war to end wars. Don't hold your breath for any war crimes or genocide prosecution of Milosevic before an international tribunal despite the mountain of incriminating evidence. When real-politik grapples with international humanitarian law, the latter invariably capitulates.

Students of ethnic conflict in the eastern Mediterranean will tell you: We have been here before. Consider the parallels between Kosovo and the crisis in Cyprus during the Johnson administration. Overwhelming evidence of Greek and Greek-Cypriot genocide of Turkish Cypriots during 1963-64 left the United States and the U.N. Security Council thoroughly unmoved. Proof of guilt would have been easy.

Greek Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios launched a campaign to exterminate the 120,000 Turkish Cypriots on the island on the pretense that they balked at 13 amendments to the 1960 Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus that would have reduced them to serfdom. Tens of thousands were slaughtered, plundered and driven from their homes into tiny defensive enclaves. More than 100 villages and mosques were destroyed. And listen to the arresting words from the memoirs of U.S. undersecretary of state George Ball, who had been dispatched to Cyprus on a peacekeeping mission: "As Makarios and I walked out of the meeting together on the second day, I said to him sharply that such beastly actions had to stop .... `Your Beatitude' I said, `I've been trying for the last two days to make the simple point that this is not the Middle Ages but the latter part of the 20th century. The world's not going to stand idly by and let you turn this beautiful island into your private abattoir. …

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