War In The Balkans: Backing for ground troops grows

American Opinion

IN FOLLOWING the new White House policy of almost daily appearances by the President to defend the Nato operation in Kosovo, Bill Clinton used the start of an address on China yesterday to repeat what has become the official mantra on Kosovo: no concessions; not now and not later.

Amid speculation about a US request to Russia to mediate and the imminent release of the captured US servicemen, Mr Clinton said: "We are determined to stay united and to persist until we prevail."

The truce proposed by the Yugoslav President was unacceptable: "It is not enough for Mr Milosevic to say his forces will cease fire in a Kosovo denied its freedom and devoid of its people ... He must withdraw his forces, let the refugees return, permit the deployment of an international security force."

As members of his immediate team are criticised for their handling of the crisis - not a day goes by without some disclosure about errors by the Departments of State or Defense, or the military - Mr Clinton ploughs on and his efforts seem to be paying off. His ratings for handling the operation have improved and opinion has hardened substantially: against Slobodan Milosevic, for the military action and for deployment of ground troops.

A Wall Street Journal poll showed 64 per cent approving "US and Nato air strikes". Asked if they would "favour or oppose sending US and Nato soldiers into Serbia if the Serbs continue to drive people out of Kosovo", 53 per cent said they would approve.

When the question was put more starkly - would they approve sending US and Nato soldiers into Serbia if that was "the only way to stop the fighting" - the proportion rises to 73 per cent in favour. This is an almost 30 per cent increase in Americans who would support deployment of US ground troops since air strikes began. It brings the US much more into line with European - at least north European - opinion.

A similar shift has been seen among opinion-formers - policy advisers, academics, military experts and politicians. Determination to "finish the job", if necessary with ground troops, has changed from hesitant acceptance that this might be the only option into a crescendo of support.

The upshot is that Mr Clinton, who yesterday continued to insist through cabinet members that there were no plans to use grounds troops, could find himself contemplating a policy U-turn by popular - and congressional - acclaim.

If this happens, he will have to thank the disarray on the right. Aside from a small group of conservatives, led by Pat Buchanan, who have said from the outset that no US interests are at stake in Kosovo, the majority have twisted and turned through a series of misjudgements to the point where they are lined up, more or less, behind the toughest possible line on Mr Milosevic.

Senator Don Nickles, a senior Republican who had reportedly said he would not support military action until "the Serbs started massacring people", was embarrassed into saying he was quoted out of context. It is said he would now vote for ground troops and take the vast majority of Republicans into the lobby behind him.

Even a recent call by William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency and respected military strategist, to "Take Belgrade" does not faze them.

Much may have gone wrong in the Nato operation for Kosovo, but for Mr Clinton almost everything has gone right.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe
art
Sport
Robin van Persie leaves the field at the King Power Stadium last Sunday
football
Arts and Entertainment
tvPresenter back after daughter's Halloween accident
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch as John Watson and Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock
tv

Co-creator Mark Gatiss dropped some very intriguing hints ahead of the BBC drama's return next year

News
people

London 'needs affordable housing'

News
In this photo illustration, the Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Twitter went public on the NYSE opening at USD 26 per share, valuing the company's worth at an estimated USD 18 billion.
news

Arts and Entertainment
Timeshift: The Ladybird Books Story (9pm BBC4 Sun 22 Dec)
BooksLadybird drops branding books for boys and girls
Arts and Entertainment
music Band accidentally drops four-letter description at concert
Life and Style
tech
News
peopleIan Thorpe addresses Ricky Martin rumours
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Female Support Workers / Carers - From £8.00 per hour

£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines