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For Ottawa Citizen, April 17, 1999.
I believe that Canada and the other NATO countries are following an imbecilic policy in Yugoslavia. If there's anything we should have learned in this century it's that you don't settle international disputes by brute force and by bombing. It didn't work in the Battle of Britain. It didn't work when Allied bombers pulverized German cities. It didn't work in Iraq. lt won't work this time. We should have negotiated seriously with (Yugoslavian President Slobodan) Milosevic, but we did not.
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The Rambouillet agreement wasn't really an agreement. It was an ultimatum put to the Serbs and to the Albanians. They were put in a room, they were given a document, and they were told: "Sign it."
As it turned out, both parties walked away. Clearly, people went back to the Albanians and said, "Don't be foolish if you sign it, we can bomb the Serbs." Negotiations should have been accompanied by incentives - a little more financial assistance, more economic aid. But there was no carrot used, just a stick, and that's a bad policy to use when dealing with the Serbs.

Remember, Milosevic has no reason to look favourably upon NATO. Prior to Kosovo, the biggest ethnic cleansing took place in Croatia. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs who had lived there for hundreds of years were cleansed out of Croatia with the help of NATO air strikes.
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Of course, there are people being killed in Kosovo by the Serbs. And the ethnic cleansing is terrible. But the bombs they're dropping on Kosovo are 2000 pounds apiece. And there are now 1000 aircraft, some of them carrying up to 16 bombs. They're going to completely pulverize the country, killing as many Albanians as Serbs. Any sensible person recognizes that things for both sides will be much worse after the bombing than before. The bombing was a stupid move, with no long-term objective. It's a macho thing, as much based on domestic American politics as what was actually going on in Kosovo. And with NATO's credibility now at stake, there's no way out.
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This intervention has destroyed NATO. It's proven itself to be an aggressive, destructive force. And the idea that western democracies have respect for law and human rights and United Nations has withered greatly in Eastern Europe. We've lost the moral high ground.
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There is old Balkan saying: "Never threaten a Serb." They're tough people. You won't find them surrendering CNN television crews as the Iraqis did. Not all the Serbs supported Milosevic, but now virtually all have no choice but to do so. If there were democrats in Serbia, they've gone now. I often met with Milosevic. I found him tough, astute, a very good politician . He's no worse than the others. The attempt by the western press to demonize him is nonsense.
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The KLA were heavily armed rebels. And you don't intervene lightly in civil war. The whole matter should have been referred to the UN Security Council, and I would have hoped that Foreign Affairs Minister (Lloyd) Aworthy would have insisted on that point. That's what the Security Council is for. Otherwise, any intervention is unlegal under the terms of the UN Chapter, which we've just tossed aside.
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A lot of people say the Russian would have vetoed an intervention force. But that's the point. Those that drafted the Charter wanted unanimity before the decision to intervene in sovereign states could be made. After all this year, NATO's got the power, but 20 years from now, somebody else might have it. Then, we will hope that every one respects the Charter. But did we? The Canadian Armed Forces are clearly in over their heads. (Former U.S. President) Theodore Roosevelt said you should walk quietly and carry a big stick. Well, we've been bragging and walking pretty noisily and carrying a twig
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CNN is playing Yugoslavia as though it were the Super Bowl, focusing on who's winning, who's not, who's got the best equipment. This warfare comes off sounding like a game. Do we still need to learn that bombs actually kill? If we send in ground troops, we may find that things are not cleaned up as quickly as we would like to hope. The Serbs won't simply surrender. They may retreat into the mountains and continue this for a hell of a long time. During the Second World War, the Germans shot or hanged 100 Serbs for every German soldier killed. And the Serbs continued to shoot German soldiers throughout the war. This thing will end with negotiations - real negotiations, of the sort that might have prevented such a mess. And from those negotiations will come, in all likelihood, the partition of Kosovo. I don't see the prospects of Albanian and Serbs living together.

Not for a very long time.