Letter: Prepared to yap but not to bite on Yugoslavia

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The Independent Online
Sir: Conor Cruise O'Brien writes:

The real need is to substitute a policy of holding the ring around the civil wars in former Yugoslavia, for the policy of progressive intervention that has prevailed up to now.

Even if the 'progressive intervention' were the reality instead of a figment of Dr O'Brien's imagination, it would not be difficult to draw the following logical inferences from his alternative of establishing 'the ring around the civil wars':

(a) Croatian and Bosnian forces are deprived of any help and their resources are progressively exhausted;

(b) 'Yugoslav' and Bosnian-Serbian armies continue to use the considerable arsenal of heavy weapons still at their disposal, thus increasing the rate of destruction;

(c) both Croatian and Serbian economies face a total collapse, Kosovo is quiet but civil unrest mounts in Serbia, civil war threatens within the rump Yugoslavia;

(d) 'Yugoslav' and Bosnian-Serbian generals decide to use the last card and subject Bosnian and Croatian cities to aerial and surface-to-surface missile bombardments, causing horrendous material destruction and loss of life.

Any other, less frightening, inferences?

Yours sincerely,


Magdalen College


26 February