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Collateral Damage to Europe,
International Law, American Prestige, World Peace and lots more--A European Perspective
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A Wake-Up Call For International Legality
Editorial by New Europe Newspaper Ltd., 51 rue du Kiem, BP 51, CAP L8301 Luxembourg;email@example.com
Published in Greek edition 1/30/99
"As Europe approaches the millennial year of 2000. a very distinct feeling of unease has set In as its commentators and opinion makers cite the decline of international law in the conduct of nations - this after a century of wars and upheaval caused by nations and Ideological movements which believed that they were a law unto themselves. When World War II was over, the United Nations came into being with the support of the victorious powers - the U.S., Russia, Great Britain; France, and China - to ensure that history did not repeat itself. Unfortunately, a bipolar struggle began almost immediately, which pitted much of the Western World against a Sino-Soviet bloc, which was totalitarian in its nature.
"Ultimately, the spirit of freedom and democracy, backed by military might prevailed. For nearly 10 years the leader of the West, the U.S., has stood on its pinnacle of power - unchallenged. But now, not even a decade Into what it called the New World Order, we find that what our U.S. ally has in mind is an Increasingly arbitrary situation where Washington calls the tune and others are expected to follow meekly along. The UN is more and more manipulated by a U.S. which has come to deal with Secretary General Kofi Annan as some sort of "Step and Fetch it".
"Even Annan's anger over the U.S.'s use of UNSCOM for espionage and Washington's unabashed input to UNSCOM chairman Richard Butler's Iraq report was given a wash amid a U.S. media blitz, which focused on congratulatory comments by Desert Fox commander General Anthony Zinni and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry Shelton at the success of their Tomahawk missiles and "smart" bombs in hitting military targets. The estimated 2,000 National Guardsmen who died In the raids were described almost as if they were all clones of Saddam Hussein - not men who were doing their duty, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The UNICEF/World Food Programme team's report of how U.S. and British ordnance destroyed an agricultural school; some dozen schools and hospitals; and knocked out the water supply for the Baghdad suburb of Karrada leaving 300,000 people without uncontaminated water - went unnoticed, as did the fact that some 3,000 children die every month from a sanctions regime that has no hope of removing Saddam from power. Similarly, the U.S. missiles that killed civilians and badly damaged homes in Basra have made no Impression on a U.S. administration that is out to "get" Saddam.
"Something is drastically wrong when outdated UN resolutions, which were issued under different circumstances, can be used at will by a Washington bent on bludgeoning others into line in support of failed policies. UNSCOM, which was considered more successful than not, is now shattered as an inspection mechanism; and the UN's leverage over Iraq is now weaker than ever. The only certainty is that more innocent people will be killed. Likewise, in Kosovo province of Yugoslavia, the U.S. is building up to a situation where Belgrade must either accept more than what was agreed to in October - a package called "compliance plus" - or be bombed by NATO. The "plus" of this policy is to hand Kosovo over to its Albanian majority.
"The U.S. appears determined to do this in the full knowledge that the Kosovo liberation Army will take over once the Yugoslav army Is forced out and ethnic civilians pull out with them. Again, Washington's policy Is to get rid of Slobodan Milosevic - a policy in which "collateral" civilian deaths and the chaos to follow have a yet to be determined role. It is time to reinvest the UN with the moral authority that it once had; and to reinvest the Security Council with the powers that were intended at its creation - with even what to some may be an unwelcome veto. To do otherwise is to permit the UN to be hi-lacked by a U.S. administration that does not even pay its dues and a president whose fitness to lead has been called into question by his own colleagues"
copyright, 1999 New Europe Newspaper Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Editorial by New Europe Newspaper Ltd., 51 rue du Kiem, BP 51, CAP L8301 Luxembourg; firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions (301) 8035000
The American press is calling it "Clinton's War" and both it and the U.S. administration have hyped it to the point that it will become the defining moment of his presidency -- a moral crusade without precedent! President Clinton claims that he wants no territory, no advantage --only that the Albanians and Serbs of Kosovo live in peace. He has ratcheted up the stakes whereby NATO bombing is destroying that which would be saved. Serbian ethnic cleansing has been compared to the Holocaust of World War II. Fine words that fly in the face of the facts. It insults one's intelligence.
As in every conflict "collateral damage" is expected. Kosovo is no exception. It has been even wider than anticipated in this new kind of war. NATO is being damaged. After years of talk about promoting democracy and stability; we all see it is about projecting power in a way that is destabilizing the Balkans. New members such as Hungary are appalled that their first duty is to help make war on a neighbouring country where 300,000 kinfolk are living. What must ethnic-Hungarians in Novi Sad think of NATO after days of bombing? In Montenegro the so~lled ~ood Yugoslavs" get the same treatment - a bombing cam-paign which is not achieving its stated military and political objectives. NATO will never be the same! Its European members - except for Britain's Mr. Blair - are for the moment concealing their collective resentment. The EU is being damaged and disrupted as well. It is the EU that will mainly foot the bill for refugee relief and the need to rebuild war ravaged Yugoslavia. Its EU "associate" programmes and EU expansion eastward will necessarily become hostage to pouring money into Kosovo, Albania, and FYR of Macedonia. Once again Washington has insisted on leading - taking Europe down a path whose destination is unknown. The need for ground forces? Russian intervention? A wider war? All are possibilities in the weeks and months ahead. Most obviously, Russia will never again trust the West for years to come. What might occur after Boris Yeltsin is gone makes a sane man shudder.
The UN as an institution and international law - the legal aspects of the conduct of nations is effectively dead. Has anyone heard Secretary General Kofi Annan say anything worth taking note of since this crisis began? Md, along with the end of international law, nuclear non-proliferation also. A dozen or more countries will act to acquire their own nuclear weapons to prevent being shoved around on the world scene. Large countries such as China, India, and Indonesia will be less inclined to co-operate with Western leaders who, in effect, control the IMF, the World Bank, and international financial markets in the name of globalisation. It will not be pleasant this next century.
Meanwhile, the bridges are down across the Danube - one of Europe's lifelines is blocked. Some 60 ships are cut off from their destinations. The fragile economies of Bulgaria and Romania become even shakier. Others are affected as well. And with each passing day the toll in civilian casualties mount. Smart bombs that go astray. Kosovo Albanians forced from their homes. And to think that, only a few months ago, the parties to the conflict only had to resolve the question of how best to implement autonomy in Kosovo - a question that was basically agreed upon. Europe must ask itself who cocked the pistol and who had its finger on the trigger? Mr. Clinton's miscalculation-his cock up-will have untold consequences for all of us and our children to come.
copyright, 1999 New Europe Newspaper Ltd. All Rights Reserved