`Wait-and-see' tactics for Bosnia

The Serbian killing machine in Bosnia-Herzegovina has been rightly described as originating in Serbia and directed by the Serb strongman, Slobodan Milosevic. Yet, Serbian killings in Bosnia and Herzegovina are also the tragic spin off of President Bush's flawed policy in this part of Europe. The Republican administration preached for years the "unity and integrity" of Yugoslavia, even when it became clear that Yugoslavia could survive only as a Serb-supported communist state. Sen. Al Gore was among the f irst who supported self-determination for the people wishing to leave the moribund Yugoslav state.

For years the Republican administration and its chief expert on Yugoslavia, Lawrence Eagleburger, steadfastly held on to the survival of Yugoslavia, as if Yugoslavia could survive by some Republican decree or Mr. Bush's foreign-policy ukase. The years-long insistence by State Department apparatchiks on keeping Yugoslavia together was always welcomed by the powerful Serb-dominated Yugoslav Army, which itched to be unleashed at the first sign of the country's breakup. The naivete of the Republican administ ration gave Mr. Milosevic a sufficient alibi to try to rescue Yugoslavia by military force.

The supreme irony of the Republican administration is that its rhetorical anti-communism often ends up prolonging the military life of many communist tyrants. Similar to his bungled policy toward China or Iraq, Bush's wait-and-see tactics regarding the former Yugoslavia must have emboldened the Serb aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is therefore wrong to think that Bush has only a poor record in domestic policy. Tomislav Sunic, Huntingdon, Pa. Assistant Professor Political Science, Juniata College

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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