Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Press Ahead on Bosnia

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Press Ahead on Bosnia

Article excerpt

BY sending US Secretary of State Warren Christopher abroad with a military action plan on Bosnia, President Clinton is showing resolve. The White House move seems serious, and it deals with the stickiest problem in Europe in a way the Bush administration never did. Pushing ahead with a strong plan to help stop a genocide and the spread of barbarism is as brave and noble as anything the president has done in his young term - coming, as it does, in the middle of a strid,5zk++Yb leader Radovan Karadzic on a peace plan on Sunday in Athens, Serb forces continue to fight and kill. Serbs are active in eastern and northern Bosnia. Photos from Srebrenica of women and children with war wounds show the means the Serb units are prepared to use. The stark fact is, Bosnians - the Muslims, Serbs, and Croats who advocate a peaceful, multiethnic state - may not have more than a month or two to survive. They need immediate help. The air strikes Mr. Clinton reportedly proposes on Serb positions are necessary to buy time for the Bosnians to organize and defend their towns, homes, and families from the well-equipped Serbs.

A limited but sustained policy to halt a genocide in Bosnia that is destablizing Europe is not going too far. Action also would tell the Croats their own recent butchery of Bosnians won't be tolerated.

With the West at the brink of action, Serb President Slobodan Milosevic will try to stall Clinton. His actions show him to be a master manipulator. For two years his strategy has been to divide the allies and stall for time. Serbia took 40 percent of Croatia and 70 percent of Bosnia while all parties negotiated. Calculating that Europe was too materially comfortable to intervene, Mr. Milosevic oversaw the deaths of 40,000 Croatians and 130,000 Bosnians. His peace front in Athens may be intended to get the British and French to ask Clinton for more time. Though both are accused of war crimes, Milosevic and Karadzic regularly play in the West's media game. We may see them limit the photos from Bosnia and reduce the killing.

Clearly, the threat of action has brought Milosevic to the table. But Mr. Christopher says, "We've heard this before. …

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