U.S. and Bosnia – This is Europe’s Quagmire

by Patrick J. Buchanan – October 22, 1005

USA Today

The American people do not want their young people dying on Bosnia’s bloody ground…

President Clinton’s rash decision two years ago to contribute 20,000 U.S. troops to any NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia may prove the undoing of his presidency. Congress should intervene to rescue him, and us, from the consequences of his folly.
There is no vital U.S. interest in whose flag flies over Sarajevo or Banja Luka or in who prevails in that civil war. Before 1992, Bosnia did not even exist. No U.S. lives are at risk there, and the American people manifestly do not want their sons sent onto that dark and bloody ground.

Why, then, is Clinton doing this?

We must guarantee the negotiated peace, we are told; we must defend the truce lines. But what we have in Bosnia today is neither permanent peace nor a lasting truce. It is the first partition of Bosnia; and the stage is being set even now for a second Bosnian war, and a second partition.

Given the mass rapes, Katyn Forest-style massacres and ethnic cleansing that produced the present truce lines, can anyone believe the Croats, Serbs or Muslims are reconciled to what they have?

When those 20,000 U.S. troops arrive, each of the warring parties will have an incentive to see some of them sent home in body bags. The Serbs, to exact vengeance for U.S. air strikes. The Muslims, to provoke a U.S.-Serb clash to bring America’s might in on their side. The Croats, to give themselves the cover of a U.S.-Serb clash to recapture the lost lands of Vukovar and Eastern Slavonia.

The German statesman Bismarck once predicted that when the Great War came to Europe, it would be because of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.” In June 1914 the Austrian archduke was assassinated in Sarajevo; Europe was plunged into the greatest blood bath in its history. To watch U.S. leaders craft plans to introduce into the bloodstained Balkan peninsula not only U.S. but German, Russian and Islamic troops as well is to view, from front-row center, the march of folly in history.

But if we do not go in, we are warned, Europe will lose confidence in our leadership and NATO will collapse. Nonsense. The essence of NATO is a U.S. guarantee to go to war, if necessary, to defend all Western Europe, from Norway to Turkey. That security blanket has kept our rich European friends secure and toasty for 50 years. They are not about to throw it away.

Congress should keep U.S. fighting men out of Bosnia. It is Europe’s war and Europe’s quagmire. Europe, 50 years after the end of World War II, should assume responsibility for policing its own back yard.

USA Today