Letter: Nato on trial

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The Independent Culture

Sir: Robert Fisk suggests that the UN is "the only institution the poor and the sick and the raped and the dispossessed can rely on".

Doubtless he remembers the success with which the UN and European leaders (and not the Americans) co-ordinated responses to the slaughter of innocent Bosnian civilians. Despite a clear mandate authorising the protection of "safe areas" by force if necessary (Security Council resolution 836), the UN failed spectacularly to discourage violent Serb attacks on the enclaves of Gorazde, Bihac, Zepa and (most notoriously) Srebrenica during 1994 and the first half of 1995. During this period Nato action was repeatedly vetoed by UN commanders.

While it is easy to sympathise with Fisk's frustration at Nato's unwillingness to endanger the lives of its own soldiers for the benefit of the Kosovar Albanians, his conviction that the UN, or the EU (without the interference of those nasty Americans), would be more committed rather than less sounds like pure fantasy.


Hambledon, Surrey