Sir: The fall of Srebrenica could have been averted had the West's strategic thinkers taken a few lessons in psychology. The Serb obsession with "ethnic cleansing" has its origin in what can best be described as a purification compulsion. Hitler was driven by the same compulsion. So was Khomeni.
The salient point about the purification compulsion is that, like compulsions in general, it can be sated or it can be controlled. But it can never be appeased. That's why Karadzic has consistently mocked UN negotiators' pleas for restraint.
The compulsive purifier is the most dangerous kind of political and religious extremist. The middle ground is anathema to him. He lives in a black-and- white world. He invariably divides the human race into two extreme categories: the ideally good and the abominably evil.
Hitler had his idealised Herrenvolk and his despised Untermencen. Nazi propaganda saw to it that the extermination of the latter was the sacred duty of the former. We don't need to be reminded how assiduously Hitler's most ardent disciples went about their sanitising work.
Khomeni's ambition: to build a sanitised Islamic empire by purging Western influences and exterminating all Muslims who dared frustrate his ambition, thus laying the foundation for eventual jihad against the "Great Satan" - Western civilisation personified as abominably evil.
The capture of Srebrenica puts Karadzic's sanitising crusade within sight of the primary strategic objective: the expulsion of the UN from Bosnia. The point is this: the purification compulsion - once institutionalised and out of control - is not amenable to appeasement.
Appeasement didn't work with Hitler in the 1930; it isn't working with Karadzic now and it won't work with so-called fundamentalists in the future.
Cult Research International