"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously."Thomas Sowell

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy 10th Birthday, Dayton Accords

Yes, as of this week, it's been 10 years since President Bill Clinton assured peace in our time by settling the Yugoslavian question with diplomacy and sealing it with a treaty signed in the Versailles of Ohio, Dayton. Sure, war and a bunch of death followed, but making peace stick is a bitch, ain't it? The original Treaty of Versailles wasn't realized all that smoothly, either.

Ah, we remember it all so clearly, n'est-ce pas? Clinton lied (exaggerated? misled? made an honest mistake?) about 100,000 "missing" victims of Milosevic, et al. But it was a good war, because Milo was unmistakably bad. The actual bodies were never actually found, although I'm sure we looked hard. Where were the Women & Men Deceased (WMDs) we were promised?

Now, although he lacked UN authorization (or even an act of his own Congress), Bill Clinton did what he thought was right, and I'm cool with that because the bad guys had it coming and no innocent dictators were framed. Even though by reliable accounts the NATO bombing got a bit too indiscriminate, some felt the price, to quote Madeleine Albright, was "worth it."

What's done was done. As Stan from South Park might say, what have we learned from all this?

"Julian Lindley-French of the Geneva Center for Security Policy in Switzerland says
that Dayton offered a two-phased approach to resolving the Bosnia conflict."

"It recognizes that conflicts of this variety have a short-term and a longer-term component," Lindley-French says. "The short-term is simply to end the hostilities and to end the threat with the threat of credible external coercion. But in the longer term, what it said was, 'Look, we are here, we are here to stay, and we are going to invest in you, and we are going to invest in you to help you reach a regional political settlement in which all parties who have influence or interest in this conflict feel that there is something to invest in.' That was the very strong message of Dayton 10 years ago."

Yah, that's about it, and we should trust anybody with "French" in his name, especially if he's in Switzerland. One does not create peace from whole cloth. One invests in it and holds on, even when its stock price goes up and down.


Steve Sailer said...

I think you are getting Clinton's short war over Bosnia confused with his slightly longer war over Kosovo. Serb Bosnians really did kill 7000 Muslims in one massacre in Bosnia, but reports of Serb atrocities in Kosovo were exaggerated.

Of course, doing nice things for Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo didn't make Muslims like us, just as helping Muslims in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Somalia didn't make Muslims like you. Doing people favors just makes them resent your strength, as Ben Franklin pointed out.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Nice to hear from you, Mr. Sailer. I've run across you and your pieces often and have found them original and provocative.

Yes, I have conflated Dayton (1995)and the Kosovo incursion, some four years later (1999). Intentionally.

That's because the Clinton administration did so, as in "tens of thousands dead," pointing at putative 7-8000 dead in the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, four years before our Kosovo incursion of 1999. The common denominator was the Serbs.

"Indeed, in its May 1999 report on ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, the State Department conceded that "in late March 1999 [after the NATO bombing began], Serbian forces dramatically increased the scope and pace of their efforts, moving away from selective targeting of towns and regions suspected of KLA sympathies toward a sustained and systematic effort to ethnically cleanse the entire province of Kosovo."

Not only did the forced removal of civilians result from the NATO bombing, but administration claims of mass killings--made to rally popular support for the war--turn out to have been exaggerated. Clinton defended the intervention on the grounds that the Yugoslavs had slaughtered "tens of thousands." Secretary of Defense William Cohen termed it a "horrific slaughter."

The numbers we now have tend to disprove those claims. To date, according to U.N. reports, forensic specialists working under U.N. auspices have exhumed 2,108 bodies. It is far from certain that all of these victims perished as a result of Yugoslav atrocities; some may have been combatants, others may have been civilians caught in the cross-fire between the Yugoslav army and the KLA. Still others may have been civilians killed by NATO bombs. In the end, the number of civilians believed killed by the Yugoslav army in Kosovo is certain to have been far less than the Clinton administration and NATO claimed.

St. Bill Clinton's "humanitarian" Yugoslavia adventure has vanished down the memory sinkhole (I have to look it all up myself), but the parallel criticisms and condemnations of Clinton and Bush are just too striking for me to not find them remarkable, as in worthy of remark.

It appears that arguing there was no current Yugoslavian genocide in 1999 would be as fair and accurate as criticizing Bush that Saddam wasn't killing too many people of late, just a manageable number in the low thousands.

The threat of his returning to killing at his previous clip (300,000 in his mass graves) is waved away, although I do not understand why. Neither do I discount Clinton's (and once again Tony Blair's) conviction that Milosevic had not indeed mutated into something other than his monstrous self.

If I'm scrambling the facts, Steve, please help me set it right. The sinkhole is deep, and I admit I've fallen into it.

You're quite right that our humanitarian overtures to the Muslim world had zero effect, much like President Carter's handing our canal over to Panama's dictator did nothing to forward his stated objective of using the transfer to improve our relations with Latin America.

Symbols are overrated.