Exiting the Balkan Morass
• urge America's West European allies to take over military responsibility for Bosnia and Kosovo, • discontinue funding the ill-conceived nation-building experiments in Bosnia and Kosovo and insist on the withdrawal of U.S. ground troops by 2002, • oppose taking on another Balkan dependent by firmly objecting to possible U.S. military intervention in Montenegro, and • resist the temptation to reimpose sanctions on Yugoslavia if its newly elected democratic government does not always see eye to eye with Washington.
Since 1992 the Balkans have held a top spot on the U.S. foreign policy agenda, but Washington's attention to the region has been disproportionate considering the peripheral nature of U.S. interests there and the proximity of rich and powerful American allies. Washington's Balkans policy, therefore, should be overhauled.
Because Europe is the area most directly affected by events in the Balkans, the five-year-old peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and the yearand-a-half-old peacekeeping mission in Kosovo should both be redefined as European operations that do not require a U.S. troop presence. In carrying out the rest of the Bosnia and Kosovo missions itself, Europe would take a long overdue step in building its own security and defense identity, one that does not depend psychologically and militarily on the transatlantic participation of the United States. That would not only make those closest to Bosnia and Kosovo responsible for maintaining regional stability, but it would also strengthen the credibility of European security