The Corner

Giving war a chance

Just a thought: There’s a recent precedent for an administration sitting tight while one military force knocks the hell out of another (with a not inconsiderable humanitarian cost), in the hopes that it would eventually advance the cause of a diplomatic settlement. It’s what the Clinton administration did in the summer of 1995 when the Croats launched an offensive against the Serbs that involved something like 200,000 Serbs being driven from Eastern Croatia. The smarter Clintonistas realized that in the long run this burst of war served the cause of peace. Richard Holbrooke and his negotiating team encouraged the Croats to keep going. “The map negotiations are taking place on the battlefield right now,” he explained. Similarly, the negotiations over who ultimately gets to control Southern Lebanon–Hezbollah or someone else?–are now taking place on the battlefield.

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