Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

On Bosnia - Don't Blame the United Nations

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

On Bosnia - Don't Blame the United Nations

Article excerpt

SECURITY Council Resolution 770, passed with great bravado last August, authorizes the use of all necessary means to deliver humanitarian supplies in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Incredibly, the West opted not to implement this resolution, deciding instead to add Bosnia to the mandate of the peacekeeping mission in neighboring Croatia. This has compelled United Nations commanders in Bosnia to abide by strict procedures which, by requiring endless negotiations with Serb warlords, have placed the success of the humanitarian mission at the mercy of Serb wishes. This approach gradually diminishes the authority of the UN, making its tasks far more difficult.

The UN, despite the shortcomings of its mission in Bosnia, has undeservedly become the latest target of the West's blame-and-do-nothing game in the Balkans. Diplomats and journalists have expressed dismay at the failure of UN troops to successfully deliver humanitarian relief to Bosnia's abused, freezing, and starving population.

In fact the UN is no more than a collective representation of the will of the international community, and in the case of Bosnia, a reflection of the Western contingent in the Security Council.

The larger question, of course, is whether the decision to choose the policy of humanitarian relief over military options in a genocidal war is appropriate. Delivery of relief supplies, and eventually the need for any relief assistance, would end if Bosnian government forces could gradually regain control of their country.

Privately, UN officials express the view that the West is using the UN as a salve for a guilty conscience. They repeatedly voice their frustration at being expected to perform miracles in the midst of a blatantly genocidal campaign, without adequate political or military backing from the countries who have dispatched them.

One can only conclude that the bold resolutions and pronouncements, which the West is unwilling to support with the proper muscle, are designed to temper domestic pressures for action. …

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