October 1, 1998




Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of Defense William Cohen and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger are scheduled to meet today with Senators to discuss the crisis in Kosovo.
What should be done?

First, the U.S. and its NATO allies should take immediate military action to drive Serb forces from Kosovo. The goal should not be limited to putting a stop to the Serb offensive. If Serb forces are left in place, hundreds of thousands of Kosovars will be displaced from their homes; they will face a winter of untold hardship and starvation; neighboring states will be further destabilized by the massive influx of refugees from Kosovo; and Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic will still be in a position to finish the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo at a time of his own choosing.

Second, U.S.-NATO military operations should also seek to destroy Serbia’s military machine -- thus, destroying Serbia’s ability to repeat its aggression against Kosovo or to threaten its neighbors, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Third, U.S. policy should seek to remove Slobodan Milosevic from power. In order to force him from power, sanctions should be tightened on Serbia and increased funding should be provided to the democratic opposition within Serbia. Above all, the administration should cease treating the Serb dictator as part of the solution to the crisis in Kosovo, instead of its cause. As the recent open letter to president (co-sponsored by the Project) warned, “there can be no peace and stability in the Balkans so long as Slobodan Milosevic remains in power.”*

The Clinton Administration has repeatedly warned Milosevic and Serbia that it would not stand by and watch Serb authorities do in Kosovo what they sponsored in Bosnia. But that is precisely what the administration has done. Talking tough but taking no action is the worst of all worlds. Now is the time for the U.S. and NATO to act.

* “Letter to the President,” Sept. 11, 1998. Reprinted in the New York Times, Sept. 20, 1998 (“Week in Review,” p.15).