NOW THERE are at least 45 more bodies to be buried in a Balkan graveyard - victims of what appears to be a massacre of ethnic Albanians by Serb security forces near the village of Racak outside the provincial capital of Pristina. If the brutality continues in Kosovo, international public opinion will eventually demand outside intervention, whatever the risks or unresolved consequences. The Racak massacre may not mark the decisive turning-point but it does bring it that much closer. Western diplomats would be well advised to ponder the "What then?" question - and come up with some answers quickly.
THE IMPORTANT question is: why the Western alliance is so loath to act against the continued killings virtually on the doorstep of some member states, while some of the more belligerent members of Nato are ever ready to blow Saddam Hussein to another world? While the West cannot make up its mind to act against mass murderers with the same alacrity it is willing to show elsewhere, massacres will continue, innocents will die and war criminals will continue to sit in power.
SINCE LAST summer, when the Kosovo Liberation Army suffered a serious defeat, Kosovo has been reduced to a refugee problem. The Albanians have realised that they are on their own as long as the West regards Milosevic as the guarantor of stability. Unlike the Gulf, Kosovo is a tiny piece of land, far from the thoroughfares of the global economy. No one is interested in its plight. Is keeping it quiet the most that is wanted, so as not to be pestered by further waves of refugees?
The Washington Post
THE MASSACRE in the village of Racak shows how far from ideal the October agreement really was. Children and old people were killed, some with their eyes gouged out, some shot at close range. The people of Kosovo cannot stand much more "grave concern" or unquestionable "resolve" from the United States and its allies.
THE INTERNATIONALISATION of the Kosovo problem was a chance for the Serbs. The Observers deployed should have enabled the suspension of combat and a climate essential to the construction of a solution to the Kosovo problem. That chance has now been compromised. Will we ever be able to save the Serbian nation from its own demons?
Los Angeles Times
EUROPEAN MEMBERS of Nato have made clear that if US forces decline to join offensive action, they will too. This leaves little chance of resolving the Kosovo crisis any time soon. But to diminish it by diplomacy always will be worth an effort. It's a hard road to President Milosevic's house, and one that should not be taken without prospects for an enduring compromise. Nato should holster its guns - for the moment - and continue to press for a deal.
The truce that was negotiated in October after Nato threatened to attack Serbian military targets is now not worth very much. Condemnation, goodwill and demands that Saturday's outrage be investigated don't count for anything. Power must be placed behind the words. Only Nato has that power.Reuse content