Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column

March 29, 1999

Burning bridges
Attacks on Kosovo unjustified, shameful

This is not a proud moment for America, as the United States military has been used to invade a sovereign nation that threatened neither our security, nor even the borders of our allies or friends.
Yet, for an Administration enthralled with the notion of a paternalistic government that cares for everyone, everywhere, all the time, President Clinton's actions in Serbia should not be surprising. Just as this president believes he and his government can best order the lives of each American citizen (he recently said that Americans shouldn't be given a tax cut because they would not spend the money as wisely as he and his administration would), he is confident that he can solve the problems of the world. His track record suggests otherwise; despite the fanfare and speeches, there is still violence raging from the Middle East to Ireland -- all great "successes" for this president.
For as bad as the violence is toward the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, our ability to police and stop all ethnic fighting around the world is quite limited, and the efforts are quite simply not permitted under constitutional law. We do not even pretend to solve the problems of sub-Saharan Africa, Tibet, East Timor, Kurdistan, and many other places around the world where the violence is endless and just as tragic.
Most importantly, though is the simple fact that meddling in the internal affairs of a nation involved in civil war is quite dangerous. Both sides believe themselves to be correct, and neither side will appreciate the other side receiving assistance.
If anything, our involvement threatens to escalate the situation. No successful military action has ever -- or likely will ever -- involve only air power; ground troops must be involved. While a stealth jet will likely always escape the "primitive" weapons of the Serbs, a bullet aimed at a soldier can be very primitive, yet just as effective as the most modern of firearms.
Some argue the US is needed to stop the spread of war. Our presence will do the opposite. Peaceful and cooperative relations with Russia, a long-desired goal, are now greatly threatened. Our bombings are likely to provoke the Russians into now becoming a much more active ally of Serbia.
Our determination to be involved in the dangerous civil war may well prompt a stronger Greek alliance with their friends in Serbia, further splitting NATO and offending the Turks, who are naturally inclined to be sympathetic to the Albanian Muslims.
Contrary to his campaign slogan, President Clinton's actions are burning bridges to the 21st Century. The tragedy is that it will be our soldiers -- our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters -- who are trapped by these senseless actions, and it will be the innocent women and children of Serbia who will bear the brunt of the bombings.
Sympathy and compassion for the suffering and voluntary support for the oppressed is commendable, even honorable. But as history shows, ethnic peace is not achieved by outside forces committing acts of war to pick and choose sides in fighting that dates back hundreds of years.
The use of force and acts of war can only spread the misery and suffering, weaken our defenses, and undermine our national sovereignty.
This is not a proud time for the United States.