AT THE NATO defense ministers' meeting in Toronto, Canada, a few months after the war, a special discussion was held on lessons learned during Operation Allied Force. One defense minister began his remarks by suggesting that perhaps the most fundamental lesson was that "we never want to do this again." If the remark was meant to be humorous, no one laughed. It had been a difficult and painful experience, and perhaps many in the audience sympathized with the sentiment expressed.
The conflict was complex, controversial, and, to the public, often confusing. Some people said it should never have been fought. Others said it could never be won. Even in the end, many were questioning what had been accomplished.
Though NATO had succeeded in its first armed conflict, it didn't feel like a victory. There were no parades except by the joyful Albanians returning to Kosovo. The military and the diplomats within NATO were simply relieved that the operation was concluded, and they were absorbed in the next mission, working on the ground inside Kosovo.
Yet coercive diplomacy had worked. NATO's five conditions were met: a cease-fire, Serb military and police out, international security