Letter: The morality of military intervention in Bosnia

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The Independent Online
Sir: Rebecca Tinsley (letter, 3 August) bases her arguments on the false, but widespread, assumption that there must be such a thing as a 'nation' in Bosnia. She also fails to appreciate that the 'aggressor' she refers to is no less 'Bosnian' than the rest of the population in the former Yugoslav republic.

Like many who voice their views on the topic, Ms Tinsley seems ignorant of the fact that one-third of 'Bosnians' (an undefined ethnic category within Yugoslavia) are Serbs and a further fifth Croats. It is difficult to see why these two ethnic groups should provide their loyalties to a Muslim-led geographical region, when they have real nations to turn to on their doorsteps.

What many had warned about has turned into a reality - multi- ethnic Bosnia needs multi-ethnic Yugoslavia to survive. Only within the federation did the three main ethnic groups have their cultural and ethnic centres (Belgrade and Zagreb for Serbs and Croats, respectively) within the same state. An 'independent' Bosnia can now manifestly survive only as an internationally policed protectorate, hardly a desirable prospect for her sponsors to contemplate.

Instead of castigating the Foreign Office for not helping 'Bosnians' defend themselves against the 'aggression' of other 'Bosnians', Ms Tinsley might reflect upon the unstated assumption of EC and US foreign policy, supported by much of the British media - namely that it must be desirable and natural to transform 'quickly and peaceably' one state (Yugoslavia) into four, five, or maybe six 'independent' mini-

statelets with as many Mickey Mouse currencies and economics to match. The past 200 years of history anywhere in the world, including, of course, 70-odd years following the creation of an additional state on the British Isles, points to the utterly unrealistic and incredibly facile nature of such a policy.

Yours faithfully,

M. GAVRILOVIC

Serbian Information Centre

London, W11

3 August

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