Fall 2015 -- History 224 -- Professor Patch

Home Up Syllabus Slideshows


A CASE STUDY IN THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE END OF THE COLD WAR:

THE CIVIL WAR IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA, 1991-1999

#1. Commentary by Henry Kissinger on President George H.W. Bush's vision of a "New World Order," from Diplomacy (New York, 1994), pp. 805, 809.

President Bush addresses the U.N. General Assembly on October 1, 1990:

“We have a vision of a new partnership of nations that transcends the Cold War. A partnership based on consultation, cooperation, and collective action, especially through international and regional organizations. A partnership united by principle and the rule of law and supported by an equitable sharing of both cost and commitment. A partnership whose goals are to increase democracy, increase prosperity, increase the peace, and reduce arms.”

[Kissinger comments:] “For the third time in this century [as with Woodrow Wilson in 1918 and FDR in 1945], America thus proclaimed its intention to build a new world order by applying its domestic values to the world at large.  And, for the third time, America seemed to tower over the international state....  In the post-Cold War world, the United States is the only remaining superpower with the capacity to intervene in every part of the globe.  Yet power has become more diffuse and the issues to which military force is relevant have diminished.  Victory in the Cold War has propelled America into a world which bears many similarities to the European state system of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and to practices [of Realpolitik] which American statesmen and thinkers have consistently questioned. The absence of both an overriding ideological or strategic threat frees nations to pursue foreign policies based increasingly on their immediate national interest. In an international system characterized by perhaps five or six major powers and a multiplicity of smaller states, order will have to emerge much as it did in past centuries from a reconciliation and balancing of competing national interests.

“... Victory in the Cold War has made it far more difficult to implement the Wilsonian dream of universal collective security. In the absence of a potentially dominating power, the principal nations do not view threats to the peace in the same way, nor are they willing to run the same risks in overcoming those threats they do recognize. The world community is willing enough to cooperate in ‘peacekeeping’—that is, in policing an existing agreement not challenged by any of the parties—but it has been skittish about peacemaking—the suppression of actual challenges to world order. This is not surprising, since not even the United States has yet developed a clear concept of what it will resist unilaterally in the post-Cold War world.”

[Kissinger concludes with a plea for Americans to study and follow the two most enduring principles of European statesmen: 1) Cardinal Richelieu’s concept of raison d’état, according to which force should never be used in foreign policy unless the vital interests of the state are threatened, and 2) the “balance of power,” i.e., the policy pursued by England since the seventeenth century of always helping the weaker powers on the Continent to join together and resist aggression by the strongest power.  Kissinger argues that the U.S. should seek in a similar way to maintain the “balance of power” in each region of the world today.]
     
 

#2. ETHNIC COMPOSITION OF THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA 

Flashpoints of conflict included the Serb province of Kosovo (with an Albanian majority)

and the ethnically Serb region in Croatia and northwest Bosnia (the Krajina)

  

 

#3. CHRONOLOGY OF THE CIVIL WAR IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA:
 
1981: Riots in Kosovo kill 1,000 Serbs; many others flee to Belgrade.

1987: Serbian Communist Party boss Slobodan Milosevic reinvents himself as a radical nationalist during a trip to Kosovo

June 1989: While Communist regimes teeter all over Europe, Milosevic holds a mega-rally to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo.  Serb propaganda denounces Croatia for discriminating against its Serbian minority, Bosnia for lapsing into Islamic fundamentalism, and Germany for scheming to create a "Fourth Reich" and dominate Europe again.

June 1991: Slovenia and Croatia declare independence from Yugoslavia.

August 1991: Milosevic is left internationally isolated after he applauds the coup by Soviet hard-liners against Gorbachev, but the coup fails, and Boris Yeltsin comes to power in Russia.

September 1991: Heavy fighting breaks out in the ethnically Serb regions of Croatia, where Serb militias receive support from the Yugoslav federal army.  Serbs carve out a large “autonomous region” in Croatia, the “Serb Republic of Krajina.” Both Serbs and Croats are guilty of massive “ethnic cleansing.” Germany calls for diplomatic recognition of Croatia and Slovenia by the European Union, but France and Great Britain reject the idea.

November 1991: U.N. Security Council resolves to send a peacekeeping mission to Croatia and Bosnia, and the first, lightly armed troops of UNPROFOR arrive in January 1992.

December 1991: Germany extends unilateral diplomatic recognition to Slovenia and Croatia.

April 1992: The Muslim-led Bosnian government under Izetbegovic declares independence, and Bosnian Serbs launch a fierce offensive.

July 1992: United Nations imposes sanctions on Serbia.

1993/94: Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic order the siege of Sarajevo and destruction of other cities.

July 1995: The “U.N. Safe Haven” of Srebenica, defended by Dutch troops, is overrun by Bosnian Serb forces, and at least 8,000 unarmed prisoners are massacred.

August 1995: With training and some arms supplied by the U.S., Croatia launches “Operation Storm” and conquers the “Serb Republic of Krajina.”  About 200,000 Serb refugees flee to Serbia.

November 21, 1995: The governments of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia sign the Dayton Agreement, which leads to the deployment of a heavily armed NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia.

April 1996: The Kosovo Liberation Army launches violent attacks on ethnic Serbs in Kosovo.

March 1998: Serbia launches massive offensive in Kosovo, and the fighting spreads to Macedonia (where Albanians make up 25% of the population).

March 1999: NATO launches bombing campaign of Serbia to pressure Milosevic to withdraw from Kosovo, as hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians flee to neighboring countries.

June 1999: The UN creates a provisional administration for Kosovo as an autonomous region within Serbia, and NATO troops occupy the country. About 200,000 Serbs flee as Serb troops withdraw.

October 2000: Milosevic resigns as President of Serbia after losing elections.

March 2006: Milosevic dies of a heart attack while defending himself against the charge of genocide before the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

At present, Radovan Karadzic is on trial in The Hague, but the whereabouts of General Ratko Mladic are unknown.
 

#4. “A CONVERSATION WITH JAMES A. BAKER III”


Television interview from 2001, conducted by John McWethy for the “Great Decisions” series, produced by Georgetown University and the Foreign Policy Association (http://www.fpa.org/topics_info2414/topics_info_show.htm?doc_id=77204)

JM: WE'RE BACK WITH FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE JAMES BAKER. MR. SECRETARY, EASTERN EUROPE. OF ALL OF THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF EASTERN EUROPE THAT EXPLODED BEFORE YOUR EYES, THE ONE PART THAT CAUSED THE MOST DIFFICULTY FOR YOUR ADMINISTRATION WAS THE BALKANS/YUGOSLAVIA AS IT CAME APART, AND THERE ARE MANY CRITICS OF THAT PERIOD WHO LOOK AT THAT PERIOD AND SAY "WHY DIDN'T THE UNITED STATES INTERVENE?" BOSNIA WAS BEING SMASHED BY THE CROATIANS AND THE SERBS. WALK US THROUGH THE THINKING OF THAT PERIOD. I KNOW YOU WERE DEEPLY AND EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED IN THAT.

JB: SURE. ALL RIGHT. I THINK YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT IT IN THE CONTEXT OF WHAT HAD JUST TAKEN PLACE OVER THE PRECEDING YEAR OR TWO. THE UNITED STATES HAD FOUGHT TWO WARS, ONE MAJOR WAR, IN PANAMA AND ONE IN THE PERSIAN GULF. THE PERSIAN GULF WAR WAS A MAJOR WAR WHERE WE HAD 550,000 OF OUR TROOPS ENGAGED. WE HAD UNIFIED GERMANY. WE HAD PRESIDED OVER THE COLLAPSE AND THE IMPLOSION OF THE SOVIET UNION, BEFORE THE BALKANS SITUATION DEVELOPED. WE HAD CONVENED THE MADRID PEACE CONFERENCE, WHERE ARABS AND ISRAELIS SAT DOWN TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME FACE-TO-FACE, AND OUR EUROPEAN FRIENDS WERE REALLY ANXIOUS TO HAVE THE LEADERSHIP OF THE YUGOSLAV PROBLEM. IN FACT, I REMEMBER IN JUNE-- I THINK IT WAS JUNE OF '91-- I WENT TO AN O.S.C.E. MEETING IN BERLIN WHERE 32 NATIONS INSTRUCTED ME TO GO TO BELGRADE AND TELL THE YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES THAT THE POSITION OF ALL 32 NATIONS, UNITED STATES INCLUDED, WAS TO MAINTAIN AND SUPPORT THE TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF YUGOSLAVIA. AND REMEMBER THAT ALL OF THESE COUNTRIES, AND INDEED THE YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS THEMSELVES, WERE SIGNATORIES TO THE HELSINKI TREATY THAT SAID BORDERS, IF THEY'RE GOING TO BE CHANGED, SHOULD ONLY BE CHANGED PEACEFULLY. SO I WENT AND CONVEYED THAT MESSAGE, AND THE MESSAGE BASICALLY WAS "DON'T UNILATERALLY DECLARE INDEPENDENCE AND FORECLOSE A POSSIBILITY OF NEGOTIATION-- SEE IF YOU CAN NEGOTIATE IT PEACEFULLY AS YOU'VE AGREED TO DO BY TREATY." WELL, THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED. THE YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS DECLARED THEIR INDEPENDENCE. THEY SEIZED SOME BORDER POSTS. WAR BROKE OUT, AS WE SAID IT WAS GOING TO BREAK OUT. ALL OF THIS HAPPENED IN VIOLATION OF HELSINKI. THE EUROPEANS WANTED THE LEAD DIPLOMATICALLY BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES HAD BEEN SORT OF DOMINANT FOR THE PRECEDING 3 YEARS OR SO ON THE WORLD SCENE. AND THE UNITED STATES WAS MORE THAN HAPPY TO GIVE IT TO THEM, BECAUSE OF EVERYTHING WE'D BEEN DOING.

JM: AS I RECALL, YOU WERE ALMOST GLEEFUL IN GIVING THEM--

JB: WELL, THEY WANTED IT, AND WE GAVE IT TO THEM. NOW, I'M NOT AT ALL SURE EVEN SO, JOHN, HAD WE ADOPTED-- PRESIDENT BUSH WAS VERY CLEAR, TOO, THAT THIS--WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET INVOLVED IN A GROUND WAR IN THE BALKANS. WE'RE JUST NOT GOING TO DO IT, HAVING DONE EVERYTHING WE'VE DONE. I'M NOT AT ALL SURE THAT HAD WE DONE SO BACK THERE IN '91, SUMMER OF '91, FALL OF '91, THAT WE WOULD HAVE SEEN THE KIND OF BENEFICIAL RESULT WE SAW IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE DAYTON AGREEMENT. REMEMBER, IT TOOK THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION THAT SUCCEEDED US IN EARLY '93 TWO YEARS OR SO BEFORE THEY DECIDED TO GET INVOLVED. AND--AND THE REASON, THE REASON I SAY THAT I'M NOT AT ALL SURE QUICK INTERVENTION BACK IN '91 WOULD HAVE DONE THE JOB IS BECAUSE AT THAT TIME THE PARTIES WERE NOT--THEY HADN'T FOUGHT THEMSELVES TO A STANDSTILL. ONE REASON I THINK THE DAYTON AGREEMENT WAS POSSIBLE WAS BECAUSE THE CROATIANS HAD BEATEN THE BOSNIAN SERBS AND PRETTY WELL WORN THEM DOWN, AND ALL THE PARTIES WERE BY THAT TIME PRETTY TIRED OF FIGHTING.

JM: BUT YOU DEBATED GOING IN. THEY WERE SOME OF THE TOUGHEST CABINET SESSIONS THAT YOU EVER ATTENDED DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. WHAT WERE THE THOUGHT PROCESSES, AND HOW DID THE DISCUSSION--?

JB: WELL, THE DYNAMICS WERE, THE PRESIDENT REALLY WAS NOT INCLINED TO DO IT, GIVEN ALL WE HAD DONE OVER THE PRECEDING TWO OR 3 YEARS INTERNATIONALLY, AND PARTICULARLY GIVEN THE FACT THAT WE FOUGHT THAT MAJOR WAR IN THE GULF. THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT WAS NOT INTERESTED IN SEEING--AND THEY WEREN'T INTERESTED EITHER, BY THE WAY, IN THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION. IT TOOK A LOT OF--

JM: BUT THE STATE DEPARTMENT WAS.

JB: THE STATE DEPARTMENT--WELL, THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S ROLE IS TO...TO TRY AND SOLVE...IS TO ENGAGE IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION, SO SURE WE WERE, AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF DIPLOMACY IS THE ABILITY TO ENFORCE IT THROUGH THE USE OF, IF NECESSARY, MILITARY MEANS. WE DID, WE DID END UP, IF YOU READ THE SECTION OF MY BOOK, WE DID END UP GETTING PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY FOR A NAVAL TASK FORCE AND SOME OTHER THINGS--

JM: LIMITED STRIKES.

JB: YEAH, AND LIMITED STRIKES. THEY WERE NEVER CARRIED OUT. WE WENT RIGHT--SHORTLY AFTER THAT, OR MAYBE A MONTH OR SO AFTER THAT, WE WENT INTO A CAMPAIGN MODE IN THE '92 ELECTION.

JM: AND THAT WAS IT.

JB: THAT WAS IT.

JM: NOW, AS YOU WENT INTO THE CAMPAIGN MODE, AND PRESIDENT BUSH LOST THE ELECTION, YOU WERE IN A LAME-DUCK PERIOD WHERE, AS SOMEONE WHO WAS OBSERVING WHAT WAS GOING ON, IT LOOKED AS THOUGH YOU LOOKED AT BOSNIA ON THE ONE HAND--SHOULD WE INTERVENE, EVEN IN THIS LATE STAGE? AND YOU LOOKED AT SOMALIA, WHICH WAS HAVING TERRIBLE FAMINE AND DROUGHT, AND YOU MADE A DECISION: 20,000 TROOPS TO SOMALIA, NO TROOPS TO BOSNIA. AND AGAIN, SOME OF THE OBSERVERS WHO LOOK AT THIS SAY, HEY, HE'S TRYING TO SET UP A LEGACY FOR HIS ADMINISTRATION, ONE THAT'S GOING TO BE POSITIVE, AND NOT ENGAGE THE U.S. IN ONE THAT IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE A LOSE-LOSE IN BOSNIA.

JB: THEY WERE TWO DIFFERENT SITUATIONS. THE INTERVENTION IN SOMALIA WAS SPECIFICALLY RESTRICTED TO HUMANITARIAN PURPOSES: FEEDING LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE STARVING, AND THAT IS CREATING A SECURITY ENVIRONMENT TO FEED THEM, NOT NATION-BUILDING. BALKANS WAS NATION-BUILDING. THE BALKANS WAS A MUCH MORE DIFFICULT PROBLEM, WOULD HAVE RESULTED, HAD WE GONE IN MILITARILY ON THE GROUND AT THAT TIME, IN MY VIEW AND THE VIEW OF THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT, IN MANY, MANY MORE CASUALTIES. IT WAS ONLY AFTER WE LOST THE ELECTION, AND THE ADMINISTRATION CHANGED IN '93, THAT THE MISSION IN SOMALIA WAS CHANGED TO ONE OF NATION-BUILDING AND WARLORD-CATCHING, AND THAT'S WHEN WE LOST OUR 18 SOLDIERS AND PULLED OUT. PULLED OUT AFTER THE LOSS OF JUST 18. AND SO, THE TWO SITUATIONS WERE REALLY, WERE REALLY DIFFERENT IN THAT RESPECT, AND WE HAD SOME RATHER MAJOR ARGUMENTS WITH THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, TO THE EFFECT THAT IN SOMALIA, WE WERE GOING TO GO IN THERE TO SAVE LIVES, BUT WE WEREN'T GOING TO NATION-BUILD.

JM: THE PERSIAN GULF WAR. YOU PUT TOGETHER A REMARKABLE COALITION THAT, AS SOMEONE WHO WAS WATCHING YOU ON THE AIRPLANE, NEARLY KILLED YOU...

JB: YEAH, IT WAS TOUGH.

JM: JUST FROM THE SHEER PHYSICAL EXERTION. THE WAR WAS FOUGHT, AND THEN THE QUESTION THAT'S BEEN ASKED A THOUSAND TIMES TO YOU AND TO THE PRESIDENT IS "SHOULDN'T WE HAVE "GONE TO BAGHDAD?" MY QUESTION IS, WERE THERE OTHER WAYS THAT THE UNITED STATES COULD HAVE CRIPPLED SADDAM HUSSEIN, OR DIMINISHED HIS ABILITY TO SURVIVE AND BOUNCE BACK, BEYOND JUST GOING TO BAGHDAD?

JB: THERE WERE ONLY--IN MY VIEW, THE ONLY WAY...THE 20-20 HINDSIGHT OR ARMCHAIR GENERAL WOULD SAY "WHY DIDN'T YOU TAKE OUT SADDAM?" WELL, THE ONLY WAY TO TAKE OUT SADDAM WOULD HAVE BEEN TO OCCUPY IRAQ, GO TO BAGHDAD, VIOLATE OUR PROMISES TO THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT WE MADE IN BUILDING THE COALITION. OUR MILITARY WANTED NO PART OF THAT. I THINK PRESIDENT BUSH DID ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT THING TO STOP THE WAR WHEN HE DID. TWO OTHER WAYS YOU MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN--OF COURSE, IT'S AGAINST OUR LAW TO ASSASSINATE FOREIGN LEADERS, SO THAT WAS OUT. YOU MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN SADDAM AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE IRAQI ARMED FORCES, PERFECTLY LEGAL. HE WAS THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF. I CAN'T SAY THAT WE DIDN'T TRY. WE WEREN'T SUCCESSFUL. AND THE ONLY OTHER WAY, PERHAPS, WOULD HAVE BEEN TO GIVE MORE SUPPORT TO THE INDIGENOUS GROUPS THAT WERE UPRISING, THAT WERE REVOLTING RIGHT AFTER THE END OF THE WAR AGAINST HIS RULE: THE SHI'ITES IN THE SOUTH, AND THE KURDS IN THE NORTH, AND WE MIGHT HAVE DONE A BETTER JOB THERE, IN MY VIEW, OF GIVING THEM MORE SUPPORT.

JM: BUT AT THAT POINT, EVERYONE WAS SO RELIEVED THE WAR WAS OVER. YOU REALLY WANTED TO WASH YOUR HANDS OF IT AND SAY "WHEW."

JB: WELL, BUT WE LOOKED AT THE POSSIBILITY OF GIVING SUPPORT, AND IT WAS RAISED WITH US. OUR ARAB ALLIES RAISED THAT. AND WE HAD IT EXAMINED, AND WE HAD IT LOOKED AT, BUT WE DIDN'T HAVE MANY ASSETS IN THE REGION THAT WOULD PERMIT US TO DO THAT.

JM: BUT YOU COULD HAVE GIVEN THEM MONEY, YOU COULD HAVE GIVEN THEM ARMS.

JB: WE COULD HAVE DONE SOME THINGS THAT WE DIDN'T DO. THAT'S WHAT I SAID, I THINK WE COULD HAVE.

JM: AND YOU FEEL THAT THAT MIGHT HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE? IS IT TOO LATE TO HELP THEM?

JB: YOU CAN'T TELL. YOU CAN'T TELL WHETHER IT WOULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE OR NOT, ALTHOUGH AT THAT TIME, THE DEFEAT WAS A PRETTY BIG DEFEAT BY IRAQ. SADDAM WAS--I'M SURE THAT GOVERNMENT WAS PROBABLY FEARFUL OF ITS ABILITY TO CONTINUE, AND YOU DID HAVE MAJOR UPRISINGS GOING ON. SO HAD WE JUMPED IN, FULL FORCE, WITH MAYBE AID AND ASSISTANCE AND THAT SORT OF THING, MAYBE WE COULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE. YOU CAN'T SAY WE WOULD HAVE. BUT WE REALLY DIDN'T HAVE ANY ASSETS IN THE REGION THAT WOULD PERMIT US TO DO THAT AS EFFECTIVELY AS WE WANTED.

 

#5. PRESIDENT CLINTON EXPLAINS HIS INTERVENTION IN KOSOVO TO THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS, 13 May 1999 (www.usia.gov/kosovo/):

"With just seven months left in the 20th century, Kosovo is a crucial test: Can we strengthen a global community grounded in cooperation and tolerance, rooted in common humanity? Or will repression and brutality, rooted in ethnic, racial and religious hatreds dominate the agenda for the new century and the new millennium?

"The World War II veterans here fought in Europe and in the Pacific to prevent the world from begin dominated by tyrants who use racial and religious hatred to strengthen their grip and to justify mass killing. President Roosevelt said in his final Inaugural Address:

‘We have learned that we cannot live alone. We cannot live alone at peace. We have learned that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away. We have learned to be citizens of the world. members of the human community.’

"...The promise of a Europe undivided, democratic and at peace, is at long last within reach.... Unfortunately, for more than ten years now, President Milosevic has pursued a different course for Serbia, and for much of the rest of the former Yugoslavia. Since the late 1980s, he has acquired, retained, and sought to expand his power, by inciting religious and ethnic hatred in the cause of greater Serbia.... Though his ethnic cleansing is not the same as the ethnic extermination of the Holocaust, the two are related—both vicious, premeditated, systematic oppression fueled by religious and ethnic hatred. This campaign to drive the Kosovars from their land and to, indeed, erase their very identity is an affront to humanity and an attack not only on a people, but on the dignity of all people.... I think the only thing we have seen that really rivals that, rooted in ethnic or religious destruction, in this decade is what happened in Rwanda. and I regret very much that the world community was not organized and able to act quickly there as well.

"Bringing the Kosovars home is a moral issue, but it is a very practical, strategic issue as well.... Though we are working hard with the international community to sustain them, a million or more permanent Kosovar refugees could destabilize Albania, Macedonia, the wider region, become a fertile ground for radicalism and vengeance that would consume Southeastern Europe. And if Europe were overwhelmed with that, you know we would have to then come in and help them. Far better for us all to work together, to be fir, to be resolute, to be determined to resolve this now.

"...As long as people have existed there have been problems among people who are different from one another, and there probably always will be. But you do not have systematic slaughter and an effort to eradicate the religion, the culture, the heritage, the very record of presence of the people in any area unless some politician thinks it is in his interest to foment that sort of hatred. That’s how these things happen—people with organized political and military power decide it is in their interest, that they get something out of convincing the people they control or they influence to go kill other people and uproot them and dehumanize them.... Political leaders do this kind of thing. You think the Germans would have perpetrated the Holocaust on their own without Hitler? Was there something in the history of the German race that made them do this? No.

"We’ve got to get straight about this. This is something political leaders do. And if people make decisions to do these kinds of things, other people can make decisions to stop them. And if the resources are properly arrayed it can be done.

"And that is exactly what we intend to do."

 
 

  

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

  The “Republic of Serb Krajina” (1991-95)                                                                                      


 

 

 


 

“A CONVERSATION WITH JAMES A. BAKER III” (2001):

Television interview from by John McWethy for the “Great Decisions” series,

produced by Georgetown University and the Foreign Policy Association

(http://www.fpa.org/topics_info2414/topics_info_show.htm?doc_id=77204)

 

JM: WE'RE BACK WITH FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE JAMES BAKER. MR. SECRETARY, EASTERN EUROPE. OF ALL OF THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF EASTERN EUROPE THAT EXPLODED BEFORE YOUR EYES, THE ONE PART THAT CAUSED THE MOST DIFFICULTY FOR YOUR ADMINISTRATION WAS THE BALKANS/YUGOSLAVIA AS IT CAME APART, AND THERE ARE MANY CRITICS OF THAT PERIOD WHO LOOK AT THAT PERIOD AND SAY "WHY DIDN'T THE UNITED STATES INTERVENE?" BOSNIA WAS BEING SMASHED BY THE CROATIANS AND THE SERBS. WALK US THROUGH THE THINKING OF THAT PERIOD. I KNOW YOU WERE DEEPLY AND EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED IN THAT.

JB: SURE. ALL RIGHT. I THINK YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT IT IN THE CONTEXT OF WHAT HAD JUST TAKEN PLACE OVER THE PRECEDING YEAR OR TWO. THE UNITED STATES HAD FOUGHT TWO WARS, ONE MAJOR WAR, IN PANAMA AND ONE IN THE PERSIAN GULF. THE PERSIAN GULF WAR WAS A MAJOR WAR WHERE WE HAD 550,000 OF OUR TROOPS ENGAGED. WE HAD UNIFIED GERMANY. WE HAD PRESIDED OVER THE COLLAPSE AND THE IMPLOSION OF THE SOVIET UNION, BEFORE THE BALKANS SITUATION DEVELOPED. WE HAD CONVENED THE MADRID PEACE CONFERENCE, WHERE ARABS AND ISRAELIS SAT DOWN TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME FACE-TO-FACE, AND OUR EUROPEAN FRIENDS WERE REALLY ANXIOUS TO HAVE THE LEADERSHIP OF THE YUGOSLAV PROBLEM. IN FACT, I REMEMBER IN JUNE-- I THINK IT WAS JUNE OF '91-- I WENT TO AN O.S.C.E. MEETING IN BERLIN WHERE 32 NATIONS INSTRUCTED ME TO GO TO BELGRADE AND TELL THE YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES THAT THE POSITION OF ALL 32 NATIONS, UNITED STATES INCLUDED, WAS TO MAINTAIN AND SUPPORT THE TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF YUGOSLAVIA. AND REMEMBER THAT ALL OF THESE COUNTRIES, AND INDEED THE YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS THEMSELVES, WERE SIGNATORIES TO THE HELSINKI TREATY THAT SAID BORDERS, IF THEY'RE GOING TO BE CHANGED, SHOULD ONLY BE CHANGED PEACEFULLY. SO I WENT AND CONVEYED THAT MESSAGE, AND THE MESSAGE BASICALLY WAS "DON'T UNILATERALLY DECLARE INDEPENDENCE AND FORECLOSE A POSSIBILITY OF NEGOTIATION-- SEE IF YOU CAN NEGOTIATE IT PEACEFULLY AS YOU'VE AGREED TO DO BY TREATY." WELL, THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED. THE YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS DECLARED THEIR INDEPENDENCE. THEY SEIZED SOME BORDER POSTS. WAR BROKE OUT, AS WE SAID IT WAS GOING TO BREAK OUT. ALL OF THIS HAPPENED IN VIOLATION OF HELSINKI. THE EUROPEANS WANTED THE LEAD DIPLOMATICALLY BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES HAD BEEN SORT OF DOMINANT FOR THE PRECEDING 3 YEARS OR SO ON THE WORLD SCENE. AND THE UNITED STATES WAS MORE THAN HAPPY TO GIVE IT TO THEM, BECAUSE OF EVERYTHING WE'D BEEN DOING.

JM: AS I RECALL, YOU WERE ALMOST GLEEFUL IN GIVING THEM--

JB: WELL, THEY WANTED IT, AND WE GAVE IT TO THEM. NOW, I'M NOT AT ALL SURE EVEN SO, JOHN, HAD WE ADOPTED-- PRESIDENT BUSH WAS VERY CLEAR, TOO, THAT THIS--WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET INVOLVED IN A GROUND WAR IN THE BALKANS. WE'RE JUST NOT GOING TO DO IT, HAVING DONE EVERYTHING WE'VE DONE. I'M NOT AT ALL SURE THAT HAD WE DONE SO BACK THERE IN '91, SUMMER OF '91, FALL OF '91, THAT WE WOULD HAVE SEEN THE KIND OF BENEFICIAL RESULT WE SAW IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE DAYTON AGREEMENT. REMEMBER, IT TOOK THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION THAT SUCCEEDED US IN EARLY '93 TWO YEARS OR SO BEFORE THEY DECIDED TO GET INVOLVED. AND--AND THE REASON, THE REASON I SAY THAT I'M NOT AT ALL SURE QUICK INTERVENTION BACK IN '91 WOULD HAVE DONE THE JOB IS BECAUSE AT THAT TIME THE PARTIES WERE NOT--THEY HADN'T FOUGHT THEMSELVES TO A STANDSTILL. ONE REASON I THINK THE DAYTON AGREEMENT WAS POSSIBLE WAS BECAUSE THE CROATIANS HAD BEATEN THE BOSNIAN SERBS AND PRETTY WELL WORN THEM DOWN, AND ALL THE PARTIES WERE BY THAT TIME PRETTY TIRED OF FIGHTING.

JM: BUT YOU DEBATED GOING IN. THEY WERE SOME OF THE TOUGHEST CABINET SESSIONS THAT YOU EVER ATTENDED DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. WHAT WERE THE THOUGHT PROCESSES, AND HOW DID THE DISCUSSION--?

JB: WELL, THE DYNAMICS WERE, THE PRESIDENT REALLY WAS NOT INCLINED TO DO IT, GIVEN ALL WE HAD DONE OVER THE PRECEDING TWO OR 3 YEARS INTERNATIONALLY, AND PARTICULARLY GIVEN THE FACT THAT WE FOUGHT THAT MAJOR WAR IN THE GULF. THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT WAS NOT INTERESTED IN SEEING--AND THEY WEREN'T INTERESTED EITHER, BY THE WAY, IN THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION. IT TOOK A LOT OF--

JM: BUT THE STATE DEPARTMENT WAS.

JB: THE STATE DEPARTMENT--WELL, THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S ROLE IS TO...TO TRY AND SOLVE...IS TO ENGAGE IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION, SO SURE WE WERE, AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF DIPLOMACY IS THE ABILITY TO ENFORCE IT THROUGH THE USE OF, IF NECESSARY, MILITARY MEANS. WE DID, WE DID END UP, IF YOU READ THE SECTION OF MY BOOK, WE DID END UP GETTING PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY FOR A NAVAL TASK FORCE AND SOME OTHER THINGS--

JM: LIMITED STRIKES.

JB: YEAH, AND LIMITED STRIKES. THEY WERE NEVER CARRIED OUT. WE WENT RIGHT--SHORTLY AFTER THAT, OR MAYBE A MONTH OR SO AFTER THAT, WE WENT INTO A CAMPAIGN MODE IN THE '92 ELECTION.

JM: AND THAT WAS IT.

JB: THAT WAS IT.

JM: NOW, AS YOU WENT INTO THE CAMPAIGN MODE, AND PRESIDENT BUSH LOST THE ELECTION, YOU WERE IN A LAME-DUCK PERIOD WHERE, AS SOMEONE WHO WAS OBSERVING WHAT WAS GOING ON, IT LOOKED AS THOUGH YOU LOOKED AT BOSNIA ON THE ONE HAND--SHOULD WE INTERVENE, EVEN IN THIS LATE STAGE? AND YOU LOOKED AT SOMALIA, WHICH WAS HAVING TERRIBLE FAMINE AND DROUGHT, AND YOU MADE A DECISION: 20,000 TROOPS TO SOMALIA, NO TROOPS TO BOSNIA. AND AGAIN, SOME OF THE OBSERVERS WHO LOOK AT THIS SAY, HEY, HE'S TRYING TO SET UP A LEGACY FOR HIS ADMINISTRATION, ONE THAT'S GOING TO BE POSITIVE, AND NOT ENGAGE THE U.S. IN ONE THAT IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE A LOSE-LOSE IN BOSNIA.

JB: THEY WERE TWO DIFFERENT SITUATIONS. THE INTERVENTION IN SOMALIA WAS SPECIFICALLY RESTRICTED TO HUMANITARIAN PURPOSES: FEEDING LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE STARVING, AND THAT IS CREATING A SECURITY ENVIRONMENT TO FEED THEM, NOT NATION-BUILDING. BALKANS WAS NATION-BUILDING. THE BALKANS WAS A MUCH MORE DIFFICULT PROBLEM, WOULD HAVE RESULTED, HAD WE GONE IN MILITARILY ON THE GROUND AT THAT TIME, IN MY VIEW AND THE VIEW OF THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT, IN MANY, MANY MORE CASUALTIES. IT WAS ONLY AFTER WE LOST THE ELECTION, AND THE ADMINISTRATION CHANGED IN '93, THAT THE MISSION IN SOMALIA WAS CHANGED TO ONE OF NATION-BUILDING AND WARLORD-CATCHING, AND THAT'S WHEN WE LOST OUR 18 SOLDIERS AND PULLED OUT. PULLED OUT AFTER THE LOSS OF JUST 18. AND SO, THE TWO SITUATIONS WERE REALLY, WERE REALLY DIFFERENT IN THAT RESPECT, AND WE HAD SOME RATHER MAJOR ARGUMENTS WITH THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, TO THE EFFECT THAT IN SOMALIA, WE WERE GOING TO GO IN THERE TO SAVE LIVES, BUT WE WEREN'T GOING TO NATION-BUILD.

JM: THE PERSIAN GULF WAR. YOU PUT TOGETHER A REMARKABLE COALITION THAT, AS SOMEONE WHO WAS WATCHING YOU ON THE AIRPLANE, NEARLY KILLED YOU...

JB: YEAH, IT WAS TOUGH.

JM: JUST FROM THE SHEER PHYSICAL EXERTION. THE WAR WAS FOUGHT, AND THEN THE QUESTION THAT'S BEEN ASKED A THOUSAND TIMES TO YOU AND TO THE PRESIDENT IS "SHOULDN'T WE HAVE “GONE TO BAGHDAD?" MY QUESTION IS, WERE THERE OTHER WAYS THAT THE UNITED STATES COULD HAVE CRIPPLED SADDAM HUSSEIN, OR DIMINISHED HIS ABILITY TO SURVIVE AND BOUNCE BACK, BEYOND JUST GOING TO BAGHDAD?

JB: THERE WERE ONLY--IN MY VIEW, THE ONLY WAY...THE 20-20 HINDSIGHT OR ARMCHAIR GENERAL WOULD SAY "WHY DIDN'T YOU TAKE OUT SADDAM?" WELL, THE ONLY WAY TO TAKE OUT SADDAM WOULD HAVE BEEN TO OCCUPY IRAQ, GO TO BAGHDAD, VIOLATE OUR PROMISES TO THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT WE MADE IN BUILDING THE COALITION. OUR MILITARY WANTED NO PART OF THAT. I THINK PRESIDENT BUSH DID ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT THING TO STOP THE WAR WHEN HE DID. TWO OTHER WAYS YOU MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN--OF COURSE, IT'S AGAINST OUR LAW TO ASSASSINATE FOREIGN LEADERS, SO THAT WAS OUT. YOU MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN SADDAM AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE IRAQI ARMED FORCES, PERFECTLY LEGAL. HE WAS THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF. I CAN'T SAY THAT WE DIDN'T TRY. WE WEREN'T SUCCESSFUL. AND THE ONLY OTHER WAY, PERHAPS, WOULD HAVE BEEN TO GIVE MORE SUPPORT TO THE INDIGENOUS GROUPS THAT WERE UPRISING, THAT WERE REVOLTING RIGHT AFTER THE END OF THE WAR AGAINST HIS RULE: THE SHI'ITES IN THE SOUTH, AND THE KURDS IN THE NORTH, AND WE MIGHT HAVE DONE A BETTER JOB THERE, IN MY VIEW, OF GIVING THEM MORE SUPPORT.

JM: BUT AT THAT POINT, EVERYONE WAS SO RELIEVED THE WAR WAS OVER. YOU REALLY WANTED TO WASH YOUR HANDS OF IT AND SAY "WHEW."

JB: WELL, BUT WE LOOKED AT THE POSSIBILITY OF GIVING SUPPORT, AND IT WAS RAISED WITH US. OUR ARAB ALLIES RAISED THAT. AND WE HAD IT EXAMINED, AND WE HAD IT LOOKED AT, BUT WE DIDN'T HAVE MANY ASSETS IN THE REGION THAT WOULD PERMIT US TO DO THAT.

JM: BUT YOU COULD HAVE GIVEN THEM MONEY, YOU COULD HAVE GIVEN THEM ARMS.

JB: WE COULD HAVE DONE SOME THINGS THAT WE DIDN'T DO. THAT'S WHAT I SAID, I THINK WE COULD HAVE.

JM: AND YOU FEEL THAT THAT MIGHT HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE? IS IT TOO LATE TO HELP THEM?

JB: YOU CAN'T TELL. YOU CAN'T TELL WHETHER IT WOULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE OR NOT, ALTHOUGH AT THAT TIME, THE DEFEAT WAS A PRETTY BIG DEFEAT BY IRAQ. SADDAM WAS--I'M SURE THAT GOVERNMENT WAS PROBABLY FEARFUL OF ITS ABILITY TO CONTINUE, AND YOU DID HAVE MAJOR UPRISINGS GOING ON. SO HAD WE JUMPED IN, FULL FORCE, WITH MAYBE AID AND ASSISTANCE AND THAT SORT OF THING, MAYBE WE COULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE. YOU CAN'T SAY WE WOULD HAVE. BUT WE REALLY DIDN'T HAVE ANY ASSETS IN THE REGION THAT WOULD PERMIT US TO DO THAT AS EFFECTIVELY AS WE WANTED.

 


 

PRESIDENT CLINTON EXPLAINS HIS INTERVENTION IN KOSOVO

TO THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS, 13 May 1999

(www.usia.gov/kosovo/)

 

                      With just seven months left in the 20th century, Kosovo is a crucial test: Can we strengthen a global community grounded in cooperation and tolerance, rooted in common humanity?  Or will repression and brutality, rooted in ethnic, racial and religious hatreds dominate the agenda for the new century and the new millennium?

                      The World War II veterans here fought in Europe and in the Pacific to prevent the world from begin dominated by tyrants who use racial and religious hatred to strengthen their grip and to justify mass killing.  President Roosevelt said in his final Inaugural Address:

“We have learned that we cannot live alone.  We cannot live alone at peace.  We have learned that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away.  We have learned to be citizens of the world. members of the human community.”

                      ...The promise of a Europe undivided, democratic and at peace, is at long last within reach....  Unfortunately, for more than ten years now, President Milosevic has pursued a different course for Serbia, and for much of the rest of the former Yugoslavia.  Since the late 1980s, he has acquired, retained, and sought to expand his power, by inciting religious and ethnic hatred in the cause of greater Serbia....  Though his ethnic cleansing is not the same as the ethnic extermination of the Holocaust, the two are related—both vicious, premeditated, systematic oppression fueled by religious and ethnic hatred.  This campaign to drive the Kosovars from their land and to, indeed, erase their very identity is an affront to humanity and an attack not only on a people, but on the dignity of all people....  I think the only thing we have seen that really rivals that, rooted in ethnic or religious destruction, in this decade is what happened in Rwanda.  and I regret very much that the world community was not organized and able to act quickly there as well.

                      Bringing the Kosovars home is a moral issue, but it is a very practical, strategic issue as well....  Though we are working hard with the international community to sustain them, a million or more permanent Kosovar refugees could destabilize Albania, Macedonia, the wider region, become a fertile ground for radicalism and vengeance that would consume Southeastern Europe.  And if Europe were overwhelmed with that, you know we would have to then come in and help them.  Far better for us all to work together, to be fir, to be resolute, to be determined to resolve this now.

                      ...As long as people have existed there have been problems among people who are different from one another, and there probably always will be.  But you do not have systematic slaughter and an effort to eradicate the religion, the culture, the heritage, the very record of presence of the people in any area unless some politician thinks it is in his interest to foment that sort of hatred.  That’s how these things happen—people with organized political and military power decide it is in their interest, that they get something out of convincing the people they control or they influence to go kill other people and uproot them and dehumanize them....  Political leaders do this kind of thing.  You think the Germans would have perpetrated the Holocaust on their own without Hitler?  Was there something in the history of the German race that made them do this?  No.

                      We’ve got to get straight about this.  This is something political leaders do.  And if people make decisions to do these kinds of things, other people can make decisions to stop them.  And if the resources are properly arrayed it can be done.

                      And that is exactly what we intend to do.