Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Time Running out for Bosnian Peace

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Time Running out for Bosnian Peace

Article excerpt

After the president's address to the nation about his need to make good on his stream of threats to the Haitian junta; after partisans in Congress do their mutual somersaults on the War Powers Act; after we hail a victory over a pipsqueak principality in a war of nerves or forces - then a real foreign-policy crisis will have to be faced.

The Bosnian clock now stands at one month to midnight. Being put to the test is the credibility of NATO and the strength of the new relationship between the United States and Russia.

Much good diplomatic work has been done. The United States brokered the renewal of the alliance between Bosnia's Muslims and Croats to strike a balance of power and a division of territory with the Bosnian Serbs. After a shaky start, the marriage is solidifying, which shores up the victims of Serbian aggression.

Meanwhile, the economic squeeze put on Belgrade has had the desired effect of splitting the Serbs. Belgrade is now willing to accept monitors to watch Serbia cut off aid to its rogue compatriots in Bosnia, in return for a U.N. lifting of sanctions against Serbia. That isolates the local aggressors.

The only trouble: It's not working. The Bos-Serbs refuse to accept the peace deal that the U.N. persuaded their victims to swallow. They snipe at civilians, murder U.N. soldiers and threaten to shoot down the pope's plane if he visits besieged Sarajevo. Their goal is never to compromise but to conquer and "cleanse."

Thus has the world learned that the way to make peace with the Bos-Serbs is to put guns to their heads. But the United Nations has embargoed the sale of guns to Bosnians. That leaves the well-armed aggressors with the firepower advantage.

President Bill Clinton has been unable to persuade the British and French, who have peacekeeping troops in Bosnia, to lift the embargo and even up the power balance. They prefer to dither than to hunker down or get out; in effect, they are "protecting" the Muslims out of their country.

Clinton's impotence with our allies led the Senate to propose - and the president to embrace in an Aug. 10 letter to Sen. Sam Nunn - an ultimatum with a deadline. …

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