Tuesday, April 27, 1999

The deputy prime minister of either Serbia or Yugoslavia (tch tch to the London Times for that ambiguity) goes on to tv to tell the government to stop lying to the people. The tv station is shortly afterwards taken over by the army. I take it that would be a “no.”

So NATO’s blockade will not take the form of actually stopping any tankers that don’t want to be stopped from going to Yugoslavia. But they will stop and search them. A typical Clinton compromise: it’s still offensive to principle, illegal under international law, and an act of war, but totally ineffective. Incidentally, while the EU made it illegal to sell oil to Yugoslavia, but the US hasn’t and doesn’t plan to, and may still be doing so. At any rate, Texaco was still delivering oil two weeks into the air war.

For the NATO meeting, Clinton evidently took Tony Blair aside and told him to stop pushing for a ground war in public (according to the Washington Post and denied by Blair, who would, wouldn’t he?). The official line is that they’ve learned from the mistake of Clinton’s promising no ground troops and will no longer discuss tactics in public. So if a ground war is started, it will be with no advanced discussion. What would a democracy do?

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