Letter: Bosnia: obstacles to peace, high price of 'appeasement', risks in air attack

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The Independent Online
Sir: British people of my generation, born a few years after the end of the Second World War, were brought up by parents for whom that war was a recent and vivid memory. We learnt about what it meant to be an underdog, desperately short of weapons and fighting against huge odds. We learnt about the armaments supplied under 'lend-lease' that helped Britain to carry on the struggle until the US became fully involved.

No doubt if Malcolm Rifkind and his colleagues had been in power at that time they would have tried to dissuade the US from supplying arms to Britain at all. Britons would have been told to lie down and let the Nazi juggernaut roll over them in order to bring a speedy end to the war.

I don't know that those of us born since 1945 ever really tell our parents' generation how proud we are of their efforts and endurance. I don't want to have to tell my children that I belonged to the generation that impotently wrung its hands while history began to repeat itself in Eastern Europe. Have we Europeans still not learnt that there's a heavy price to pay for delay and appeasement? If the European Community can't do a bit more than this to stabilise the continent, why on earth are we bothering with it at all?

I've never been a supporter of Margaret Thatcher's politics generally, but there are a few things she can still teach her successors. Don't just dismiss her 'emotional nonsense', Mr Rifkind - learn from a politician who knows how to express herself effectively. She's more in tune with the British people than you realise.

Yours faithfully,


Barkingside, Essex

15 April