Crisis In Kosovo Essay, Research Paper
Steve ClintonApril 5, 1999English 20Crisis in Kosovo: Should America Be There? Throughout American history this country has gone from a small set of colonies living in fear of the British government up to our present status as the only superpower remaining on earth. Our success in becoming this superpower has come at the cost of many other people, innocents. We took the land away from the Indians who were in what is now the United States of America and never have done anything, and never can do anything, to fully make such a thing up to them. We killed their families, destroyed their way of living, and forced them into undertaking our language, politics, and religious beliefs. Our past has included other atrocities as well. For much of our past, slavery was the way of the land in much of our country, mainly in the south. We flourished by making others suffer, and the fact that the issue has been “resolved” so to speak means only that no longer will we use that means to increase our nation’s prosperity. America still benefits from the spoils of slavery; we built our success early on by making the blacks suffer. After becoming what we see as the most democratic nation in the world, we began assuming that everyone should be subject to the moral laws that we have placed upon ourselves. What we don’t pay attention to are the people we are effecting while doing this. It seems to me that America doesn’t even pay attention to the people that are effected most by some of our ways (e.g. slaves and Indians). We try looking at the “big picture”, but are we really only looking at what is best for America? In more recent times, America has involved itself in wars that the average American wanted nothing to do with. Vietnam was hardly an American affair, but Linden B. Johnson made it one. John F. Kennedy had approximately 16,000 American troops in Vietnam upon his assassination. Johnson sent over 500,000 troops over during his time as president and made it into a major war with America, but not for America. (Froeliger) Should America have been there? This is a debate that has plagued the nations in the decades since the war, and general consensus is that no, in fact, America should not have been in Vietnam giving up the lives of the young men of this nation. It was simply America trying to extend its reach across the world in its egocentrical opinion that the American way should be the world way. In current times America finds itself once again involved in a war that does not effect us in any way other than to impress our presence on others. The crisis in Kosovo is very much a real threat to the Ethnic Albanians; they are being run from their homes and going from decent life to a life of poverty. It is noble for the United States to help these people in some ways. For example, giving them shelter such as NATO is doing in places like Tetovo and Brazde, Macedonia, is very acceptable as it helps innocents survive in a time of turmoil while their nation is at war. (Sacramento Bee, April 7, 1999 A1). The Kosovo incident is very real to almost every American. There are of course people in high places that are for and others that are against striking Kosovo with American forces. Our own president supports the strike with comments such as “Ending this tragedy is a moral imperative.” (cnn.com). Others see NATO as overstepping it’s boundaries with action in Kosovo. Russian President Boris Yelstin says “Russia is deeply upset by NATO’s military action against sovereign Yugoslavia, which is nothing more than open aggression.” Is it nothing more than open aggression, or is America truly capable of doing good in Kosovo? Looking at Kosovo’s history gives us a glimpse at why the Ethnic Albanians and Serbs are fighting each other so vehemently. The Serbs view Kosovo as “the cradle of their civilization”. However, Kosovo is populated by ethnic Albanians much more than Serbs are; 90% of Kosovo’s 2 million inhabitants are ethnic Albanians (Time, April 5, 1999). America has its stated reason for involvement. According to US officials, this involvement stems from the potential for this conflict to destabilize Europe. President Clinton wants to stop the fighting before it spirals out of control and spreads out as far as Greece and Russia. NATO powers are afraid that if they don’t subdue the fighting it will spread to Albania and Macedonia, sending hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding into Europe. The President also stresses the United States’ ethical responsibility to prevent crimes against humanity. (Time.com). These are the general reasons as to why American men and women are fighting in Yugoslavia, and while they seem to be just reasons, the way the preventive measures are being carried out are not necessarily quite as just. Bombings by the NATO have killed many and destroyed much, something that is not very humane in the eyes of some, such as those opposed to any form of warfare.
It is also important to look at the other side of the issue. Viewing the background of the issue can help people decide for themselves who is in the right and what actions should be taken to resolve the conflict. Long simmering tensions between both independence-seeking ethnics Albanians and the Serbian authorities led into outright fighting in February of 1998. The Serbs began a major crackdown against guerillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army and their alleged supporters. This included many civilians. With hundreds dead and nearly 300,000 displaced in the fighting, the issue is becoming very grandiose. There are also reports of tens of thousands of refugees hiding in the surrounding woods of their old homes, causing fears of a humanitarian disaster when food runs too short to survive. (www.cnn.com) In looking at all of the evidence obtained in this project, it seems evident that yes; America should be in Kosovo to some extent. Indeed, giving help to the refugees is very important and very humanitarian. The way NATO is handling the fighting, however, does not seem as noble. Other venues should be explored before an all out offensive is launched against the Serbs. Perhaps America could exercise it’s claim of democracy and try being a moderator for the ethnic Albanians and the Serbs to talk out their issues and come to some sort of mutual compromise that would minimize losses on both sides of the issue. America could remove itself from taking sides in an overseas problem and try aiding them in resolving their own conflicts. With that kind of effort put into international affairs, America would truly be showing its concern for all nations and humanity as well. By taking the quick and easy way out, e.g. bombing, America shuns responsibility and simply flashes its power. There is no way the Serbs have a chance of preserving what they believe is theirs if America, the world’s only remaining superpower, steps in and forces them to leave. It’s much like Patricia Limerick claimed in her essay entitled “Empire of Innocence” in that America is both innocent and guilty at the same time. America is innocent and noble in trying to aid the ethnic Albanians in their time of great need, and at the same time guilty in oppressing the Serbian government with its overwhelming force of war. In conclusion, the answer to the question in the title may very well be yes and no. Yes, America should be there to ensure that all sides are being treated equally. No, America should not bring a war fleet with guns blazing with them. America should be in Kosovo as a moderator, not as a solution.
“Allies pound targets, press Milosevic” Sacramento Bee 8 April 1999 A1″Ask Time Daily: Kosovo” http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/daily/special/kosovo/ask.htmlFroeliger, Dr. “America in Vietnam” CSUS, Sacramento. 5 April, 1999″Milsovic’s cease-fire is Rejected” Sacramento Bee 7 April 1999 A1Strike on Yugoslaia 9 April 1999 Entire coverage on Yugoslavia crisis. www.cnn.com