Letter: Kosovo criminals

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I am increasingly concerned by the current policy of what can only be called "gunslinger" diplomacy in the Balkans. This policy, while giving the impression of strength and a willingness to act, only shows up Mr Blair and Mr Clinton (and their advisers) as ignorant of the political, cultural and historical forces in the region and lays them open to charges of gross hypocrisy and foolhardiness. They seem only capable of seeing the Balkans strictly in black and white, while in reality the region has always been tinted with shades of grey, with good and bad (mostly bad) on all sides.

Serbian actions in Kosovo, while being cruel, are no worse than those carried out by countries such as Turkey, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and China (a nation whose undemocratic, despotic and often vicious leaders Mr Blair was happy to sup with on his recent trip). Will Turkey, Indonesia, Sri Lanka or China be threatened with remote-controlled destruction for their behaviour? Somehow I doubt it.

STEPHEN MENDES

Riga, Latvia

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