Letter: Fiddling while Kosovo burns

Related Topics
RUPERT CORNWELL asks whether the Rambouillet conference on Kosovo will witness Europe getting its military and diplomatic act together ("Make or break for Pax Europa", 7 February). But what if the diplomacy is flawed?

Take the first intervention in the unfolding Yugoslav tragedy. Europe decreed the demise of Yugoslavia and the abrogation of its federal constitution, contravening the Helsinki Accords and international law. The manner of the country's break-up was also decreed: it was to be all give by the Serbs and all take by the others. The irony is that Germany played the leading role in formulating the diktat and yet its constitution forbade foreign military involvement. Either the French and British military enforced the diktat, in which case they would have acted as mercenaries of German foreign policy or, as it turned out, there was no enforcement which had the effect of further fuelling ethnic flames.

Europe's subsequent "premature" recognition of Croatia not only prompted an ill-fated recognition of a non-existent Bosnian state but also did away with any diplomatic leverage over Franjo Tudjman with regard to safeguards for the Krajina Serbs. Europe went on to turn a blind eye to the murderous clearance of the

Krajina Serb nation from its "UN

protected" ancestral lands.

Even Kosovo has been bungled. Common sense and international law dictated that Albania's lawless border with Kosovo be sealed. Instead, Europe and America's "bomb

the Serbs" reflex cry emboldened

the KLA who proceeded to control a large swathe of Kosovo. Washington quaked at the prospect of negotiating with insurrectionists who were gunning for an all-out solution. The nod was given to Belgrade, and Nato's threats magically subsided for the time being. The KLA was pushed back, with the rural population suffering. Then Nato amassed an air armada to threaten Belgrade. Yes, there was a need to avert a humanitarian disaster but that was, in large part, a problem of Nato's making. The only consolation for European diplomacy is that America's actions have also been flawed.


Twickenham, Middlesex

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Election catch-up: I’m not saying the Ed stone is bad – it is so terrible I am lost for words

John Rentoul

Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living