Engrossed in Our Own Backyard

By Schorr, Daniel | The Christian Science Monitor, September 29, 2000 | Go to article overview

Engrossed in Our Own Backyard


Schorr, Daniel, The Christian Science Monitor


The only real question about last Sunday's election in Yugoslavia was whether President Milosevic would steal it or defy it. And, by demanding a runoff on the basis of dubious figures from the Federal Election Commission, he seemed to be trying to do some of both.

Mr. Milosevic remained intransigent as the week wore on. The indicted war criminal had staged a mock trial of Western leaders. He proclaimed that Serbia would never be an American colony. The United States had invested $37 million in supporting the opposition, and the West had promised economic aid and the lifting of sanctions if Milosevic was ousted. A dramatic situation, one might say, but the whole thing made barely a ripple in the consciousness of America in the midst of its election campaign.

Iraq's Saddam Hussein sent fighters to defy the no-fly zone and even penetrate Saudi Arabian airspace on Labor Day, when the US Air Force was off for the holiday. He has rejected United Nations weapons inspectors, and even UN experts who were to assess his humanitarian needs. In recent days, a French and a Russian plane have flown into Baghdad in defiance of UN sanctions. That hasn't caused much of a flurry in the US either. There would undoubtedly be more interest if the Iraqi dictator were to restrict oil exports.

I can hardly remember a presidential year when foreign policy has played so minor a role in the campaign. …

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