Mitch Polman on Wed, 21 Apr 1999 02:25:54 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Arguments You Can Use


A strange sort of Balkan War has broken-out on David Johnson's Russia List.
For those of you who don't know, this list issort of the Russian relations
version of JustWatch.  Some readers have been complaining that there seems to
be an anti-NATO tilt with regards to the postings on the Yugoslav conflict.
Dave admitted recently that he is completely against the NATOaction and wants
to use hislist to counter what he calles the "pro-NATO propaganda" of the
news media.  This in-turn led me to give him a fussilade off-line.  He
in-turn suggested that I may want toleave the lsit.  Any rate... a certain
Mr.Eric Krause wrote a posting that Dave put on the list that I think
contains valuable arguments that we can all use.

Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 06:44:51 -0400

From: "Kraus, Eric" <>
Subject: A word of protest.
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999

A word of protest.

A reader of the JRL would easily fall into the misconception that the
community of Russia specialists has allowed its passion for all things
Russian to interfere with basic human decency. Either those of us whom
regretfully but whole-heartedly agree with the NATO action in the Balkans
fail to write, or the submissions are censored in favour of the puerile
rantings of the likes of Ames. In brief:

1. The constant references to Mr. Clinton's sex-life simply demonstrate
the intellectual bankruptcy of the authors. Clinton is neither the first
the last President to have an interesting love-life; the increasingly
irrelevant American press simply turned it into a matter of world
concern-remember Kennedy, (or Mitterand, who kept an official mistress
2. The statement that Kosovo is of vital historic importance to the
Serb people is laughable. Large tracts of Russia are of historic
to the Swedes and Lithuanians; no one suggests giving them back.
was once 100% Amerindian. Kosovo is (or was) 90% Albanian. They were an
independent Republic under Tito, and had the constitutional right to
3. When, as in Kosovo,  an entire people is being slaughtered, then
indignant appeals to international law are irrelevant. Obviously, UN
intervention is impossible with veto power of Security Council members.
Nuremberg Tribunal has set sufficient international precedent for Mr.
4. This is not solely an "American" war. France has held back from NATO
for many years, and yet they are active participants. Holland is
proverbially neutral and pacifist, and yet, the first MIG shot down was
by a
Dutch Pilot. My French and Italian leftist friends are utterly
to find themselves enthusiastically siding with NATO for the first (and
hopefully last) time in their lives.
5. The fact that other oppressed peoples, from the Tibetans to the
Kurds, do not receive the same degree of protection is tragic, but does
in any way reduce the right of the Kosovars to have their basic human
defended. No one claims that NATO will be able to (or will choose to)
every suffering person, anywhere-but they certainly deserve support
they do so.
6. In view of the ghastly record of the Yugoslav Serbs under Milosevic:
Bosnia, Croatia, etc., it is a matter of some puzzlement how anyone who
claims to be civilized can feel any sympathy for them.
7. Milosevic has already succeeded in irremediably breaking up
Yugoslavia. Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia have no sympathy for their Serb
neighbor. Kosovo has been irretrievably lost;  Montenegro will be the
to leave.
8. NATO is not suffering a defeat. As in Bosnia and Croatia, they have
the time, the resources, and the commitment to win Kosovo its
whether from the air or on the ground. It is the profound personal hope
many of us that the individuals responsible for the atrocities in Kosovo
will be brought to judgment.

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