Letter:Does Europe understand?

IF THE writing about a new Holocaust in the Balkans is the language of madness, as Geoffrey Wheatcroft suggests ("Does America understand?", 11 December), what could be said about comparing the number of Americans killed in road accidents with rec ent European wars, where in Bosnia, for example, 10 civilians are killed for every soldier?

It's a civil war, he writes. Are civil wars not fought over the internal adjustments of a state? In Bosnia some warring parties do not want that state to survive at all. Mr Wheatcroft says: "It doesn't mean it threatens the peace of Europe." Surely the war in the former Yugoslavia represents the collapse of civilisation?

If we continue to think in the way Mr Wheatcroft does, the horror is inescapable for Europe - not only the horror of war, but the apocalypse. At the same time, I do not think that the Americans understand these things better than the Europeans; some suffering Bosnians think that they are only passing through an ugly dream, too.

We are confronted with a genuine post-communist problem, and the approaches of Lord Owen, Senator Robert Dole or Boutros Boutros Ghali (not to mention Mr Wheatcroft) or the goodwill of the world, lulled by the fall of the Berlin Wall, will not help to overcome it.

This does not mean that the world as a whole and any country in particular should leave Bosnia alone - they would only endanger their existential interest.

Miroslav Jancic London W12