Letter: Where next for the Nato 'police'?

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Sir: The threatened air strikes by Nato on Serbian artillery positions in Sarajevo add yet more complexity to a world grown increasingly dangerous since the end of the Cold War. Nato is a defensive organisation. By poising it for an offensive action against the Bosnian Serbs, the West is effectively taking upon itself the role of an international policeman. However, having played such a credible role in Bosnia, it would then be impossible for the West to extricate itself from enacting a similar role in countries ravaged by internal strifes and ethnic cleansing.

At present, civil wars are being fought in many countries, including Afghanistan, Sudan, Algeria and northern Iraq. According to a recent report by the UN, more civilians are being killed by aerial bombardment and mortar fires in Kabul than in Bosnia. After having rescued the Bosnian Muslims through military action in Sarajevo, would the West undertake a similar mission in Afghanistan, where Islamic fundamentalists are engaged in a war of attrition and genocide?

The West has every right to intervene in erstwhile Yugoslavia in order to save innocent civilians from being slaughtered by the Serbian army. But why should the killings of Muslims by Christians in Bosnia be considered more sinister than the killings of Muslims by Muslims in Afghanistan?

Yours faithfully,

RANDHIR SINGH BAINS

Gants Hill, Essex

12 February

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