Letter: Clinton did not fail Bosnia, Europe did

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The Independent Online
Sir: The column by Andrew Marr entitled 'We all share the shame of Bosnia's betrayal' (25 May) was excellently written but deficient in one respect. As a member of the political lobby, I fear he may have been infected by ministers' habit of always blaming others for their own disastrous lack of leadership. How could he claim that among Western leaders it is President Clinton that 'comes out worst' from this imbroglio? The people of former Yugoslavia are Europeans; Bosnia is part of Europe.

The nightmare of two million European refugees without hope or refuge will add dangerously to the growing instability of wider Europe, not to the US. The incoming US administration did its utmost to persuade its European allies to lift the arms embargo on the Bosnian Muslims and defend civilian enclaves with air support, but this was opposed by the obstinate, short-sighted chancelleries of Europe.

In these circumstances, how could the US go it alone? Once again, appeasement has bought a few weeks while Europe slides towards war. We will come to rue the day that we betrayed our fellow Europeans as well as the Atlantic alliance.

Yours sincerely,


London, NW3

26 May

The writer was Secretary of State for Defence during the Falklands War.