|Open Letter to President Clinton|
On the eve of the NATO Summit, the daily victimization of Bosnia puts into sharp relief the failure of the United States and Europe to resist aggressive nationalism - a core test in post-Cold War Europe. NATO's continuing refusal to act effectively in Bosnia calls into serious question its relevance to the challenges of the new Europe and the value of your proposal for a new "Partnership in Peace".
Mr President, you have the unique opportunity to address "unfinished business" on the NATO agenda, and lead NATO in fashioning a new division of responsibility between the international community and the legitimate government of Bosnia. We must end the genocidal assaults on Bosnia. The alternative is a de facto comü plicity in the sieges and shelling of Bosnian civilians, interdiction of urgently needed humanitarian assistance, and the forced transfer and elimination of populations - all in the name of ethnic cleansing.
If Bosnia is not dealt with in a forthright manner, the NATO summit will be an empty promise and a missed opportunity, making NATO's future an open question. Bosnia must be considered first - not swept under the rug.
"Bosnia First" - A new Policy based on Principles, US Interests, and Courage
"Bosnia First" is intended to replace two years of failed policies that have brought the United States and the international community to the point of permitting war criminals to carve up Bosnia and thereby reward aggression. The plan restores a meaningful division of responsibility for Bosnia and the Balkan region and is based on fundamental principles enshrined in the Atlantic Charter, the United Nations Charter, and the Helsinki Final Act. It has two fundamental parts:
This plan does not call for US troops to be deployed in Bosnia. Indeed, provided important initial steps are implemented, the plan contemplates withdrawal of international forces from Bosnia, which could help remove longü standing divisions within NATO. We believe this plan is not only workable, but can also form the basis for a new international consensus to resolve the crisis in Bosnia and promote stability in the Balkans.
We recommend the following steps for NATO, in sequence:
Serving US Interests and Working for Real Peace
We agree with Secretary Christopher, when he earlier asserted US interests in working toward a settlement in Bosnia:
"The conflict [in Bosnia] may be far from our shores but it is not distant to our concerns. . . The continuing destruction of a new UN member state challenges the principle that internationally recognized borders should not be altered by force. . . The world's response to the violence in the former Yugoslavia is an early and crucial test of how it will address the critical concerns of ethnic and religious minorities in the post-Cold War world. The quesü tion reaches throughout Eastern Europe. It reaches to the former Soviet Union, where the fall of Communism has left 25 million ethnic Russians living as minorities in other republics, and it reaches to other continents as well." (February 1993)
Notwithstanding the Secü retary's statement and your previous pledges, the United States has reflected and contributed to the West's failure in the former Yugoslavia. Our impotence in the face of brutal aggression must be replaced by forceful leadership. It is up to us to lead Europe to a reassertion of and dedication to the principle that there will be no profit or territorial gains from aggression. Since 1945 Americans and American leaders have affirmed the vow of "Never Again". You have a special opportunity to reverse the tragedy in Bosnia, and sustain America's moral leadership in the world. This leadership should begin at the NATO summit.
Written on 6 January 1994 and signed by Morton Abramowitz, Hodding Carter, Max M. Kampelman, Joseph Lieberman, Frank McCloskey and Aryeh Neier.
Action Council for Peace in the Balkans is based in Washington. Its Steering Committee includes Morton Abramowitz, William Brock, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci, Hodding Carter, Dennis DeConcini, David Dinkins, Geraldine Ferraro, Barbara Jordan, Max. M. Kampelman, Lane Kirkland, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Tom Lantos, Joseph Lieberman, Richard Lugar, Frank McCloskey, Susan Molinari, Edmund Muskie, George Schultz, Susan Sontag, George Soros, Paul Volcker and Elie Wiesel.