The Daily Gazette, p.B12
23 June 1993.
The failure of the West, and especially Europe, in dealing with the former Yugoslavia has been made even more glaringly apparent this week by the European Community summit.
Germany finally broke ranks with its EC partners and supported the U.S. position that the arms embargo against the Bosnian government should be lifted. But Britain, France and the other European countries were not swayed, and the EC proceeded to put pressure on the Bosnian government to accept a partition of its country on ethnic lines.
At this stage, it would be rash to rule out any solution that might end the fighting. If the Bosnian government is prepared to consider partition, then it should be considered. But there is no sense pretending that this will be a settlement based on justice. Aggression, particularly by the Serbs, has been successful because the Bosnian government was unable to obtain weapons to defend the Bosniak population. And the West’s track record is so abysmal that it’s hard to believe its latest plan will bring peace.
Some of the statements made at the EC summit were absurdly wrong-headed. British Prime Minister John Major said arming the Bosnian government was “a recipe for chaos” — as if the current situation had not deteriorated beyond chaos. Major’s predecessor, Margaret Thatcher, has denounced the current British policy.
And French President Francois Mitterrand said that lifting the embargo could only be “a last resort.” How much longer must Bosniaks be driven from their homes and killed before their plight is deemed sufficiently desperate by the comfortable West Europeans?
It is ironic that these two countries, Britain and France, reached agreement with Adolf Hitler in 1938 to cede Czech Sudetenland to Germany — the now notorious Munich pact. That appeasement of Hitler failed to avert World War II.
The EC hopes carving up Bosnia will apease the Serbs, and prevent the war spreading to Kosovo and beyond. But it is unlikely that the outside world — including the United Nations and the United States — will escape the consequences of allowing the destruction of Bosnia.