Letter: After its humiliation at Gorazde, the United Nations could still salvage a little credibility

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The Independent Online
Sir: I find it astonishing that even in the midst of the present mess in Bosnia, which has been so largely brought about by the urgings of internationalist do-gooders like yourself that the West should 'do something', you can actually propose we should now go in deeper yet ('We should not abandon Bosnia'; leading article, 18 April).

Is it not time that you and those who wring their hands in your letters column abandoned the easy option of emotional moralising and examined the realities of power and interest? If you were so to do, you would recognise that no British or Nato interest is involved in the Bosnian civil war, for Bosnia in 1994 is not Czechoslovakia in 1938 and Serbia is not Nazi Germany.

Had we kept out altogether, as I was arguing two years ago that we should, the civil war might now have fought itself to a standstill, whereupon a peace deal might have been possible. Our intervention has served to give continued hope to the otherwise defeated, and so prolonged the whole messy business.

The one comfort in all this is that Bosnia, coupled with Somalia and Rwanda, has probably torpedoed the whole concept of the UN as a global nanny, with the West (including ourselves) expected to turn out in blue berets at our own cost to stop the kiddies' quarrels.

Yours faithfully,

CORRELLI BARNETT

Churchill College

Cambridge

18 April

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