Croatian Viewpoint
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They say, "Peace, Peace: When there is No Peace"

(Jeremiah 6:14)

When the United Nations Secretary-General was recently asked whether the United Nations could cope with the increasing number of conflicts on the world horizon, he answered that it could if member states offered financial, military and political support. What the Secretary General failed to mention was that the permanent five Security Council members are also the world's largest suppliers of arms. Surely this state of affairs does not lend itself to peace.
This contradiction within the United Nations serves to widen the gap between the UN Charters and their enforcement. What the world ends up with is not a bipartisan approach but an impasse. To make matters worse, sanctions imposed by the UN prohibiting arms sales to certain states are regularly broken by some or all of the nations on the Security Council, especially by the permanent five members. And, seen on the ground where Blue Helmets operate, there are inherent restrictions to objectivity. As the number of conflicts grow and the number of donor nations for peacekeepers fail to keep pace, it becomes inevitable that there is a loss of impartiality as conflicts spread closer to 'home'.
The result is then predictable violations by the peacekeepers themselves such as has occurred in the former Yugoslavia or the Belgian Congo . Such impotency on behalf of the United Nations may not be intentional but that does not excuse the injustices.
The impotency of the United Nations Peacekeepers unfortunately occurs at a time when the arms race is escalating, in spite of the current recession. One study estimates that the world spends up to $600 billion per year on weapons. The United States is the undisputed highest spender on military technology. Half the scientists of the major world powers are engaged in military research. It is not only Russia , or China and France which break sanctions. Recently Great Britain 's former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry admitted that there are many ways to 'bust' sanctions and governments cannot afford to worry about 'armchair morality'. It is fact that on average, around the globe, 41,000 people per month (two thirds are civilians) have died in military conflict since WWII. The question needs to be asked, therefore, whether the arms race precipitates the escalation of conflicts, or is it just the consequence of conflict.
Certainly the role of Security Council member states needs to be reassessed, in regard to peacekeeping and the arms race, now that the Cold War is over. Until then, the New World Order is flawed.
The case of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina is full of examples of peacekeeping failures which have caused the exacerbation of conflict rather than containment. The only peace ensuing has been the peace of the grave. For example many of the Blue Helmets stationed in the former Yugoslavia could be considered 'biased' observers. Men or women brought up in the former Soviet Union or the Commonwealth countries have rarely heard a word spoken against Yugoslavia or Serbia during their formative years-the legacy of Versailles and the Churchill-Stalin 50-50 Percentages agreement.
In Canada or Great Britain etc. the Encyclopaedia Britannica is the 'last word' or authority on the Balkans and its pro-Serbian and pro-Yugoslav bias is evident. This position should be expected when one remembers that the first Yugoslavia and the second Yugoslavia were both created without a mandate from the people.
Thus today in the modern media, Croats are stereotyped and a lot of this may not be deliberate but the result of decades of pro-Yugoslav education. Of course the United Nations Blue Helmets read the papers and watch the news on television before they are stationed overseas. They would possibly be indoctrinated with inaccurate slander against Croats who have monotonously been portrayed as right-wing nationalist clero/fascist reactionaries. Unfortunately such atrocities in print are done without consideration of any alternative research.
The current propagandists hope that readers have short memories whilst they continue to allege that it was Croatia who started the conflict in Yugoslavia . Such a position is absurd when the fact is that Croatia itself did not have any weapons. The democratically elected President of Croatia was in fact a martyr to reconciliation . Indeed, it was a Slovenian delegate who first walked out of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia in January 1990. Then in March 1991 it was the Serbian and Montenegrin representatives to the Collective State Presidency of Yugoslavia who walked out, leaving four members of the Rotating Presidency to twiddle their thumbs and stare at international television cameras in vain. The last President of Yugoslavia was a Croat until the government of Yugoslavia ceased to function. Multiparty elections in republics of the former Yugoslavia led to military aggression from Serbia with an army which had 90 per cent of its officers from Serbia .
Whilst the rest of Eastern Europe welcomed democracy, Serbia bombed it. Still today I read accounts of how Croatia 's constitution precipitated the Serbian aggression. Yet the facts speak otherwise. The Croatian constitution is a model of liberalism and multiculturalism to rival even the constitution of Australia . The third largest military army in Europe was aimed not only against its so-called external Cold War enemies, but against its 'targeted' internal 'enemies of the state' . Serbia 's unconstitutional nationalist activities in Kosovo , Montenegro or Vojvodina over the past decade were ignored, but against Slovenia or Croatia or Bosnia-Hercegovina the 1974 Yugoslav constitution was followed to the letter:
"Anybody not prepared for considerable bloodshed and a long and arduous war in which their forces would be gradually and ultimately destroyed would be well advised not to start a fight".
History clearly shows that the only republic to start a fight since the death of Tito has been Serbia .
In conclusion, the war in the former Yugoslavia has been allowed to escalate and become increasingly complex as former republics slowly gained the means to defend themselves, because the EC blamed the US , or the US and the CIS blamed the EC, and so on. Perhaps Dr Boutros Boutros-Gahli got it right when he said that the United Nations now suffers from a crisis of too much credibility which means that everyone expects the United Nations to be successful where others have failed.
The best analogy is between the United Nations and computers. Have you ever been told by a company or bank that a mistake was not 'theirs' but rather the 'computer's error'? We all should remember however that computers are only as reliable as the programmers. The UN can only be as effective at peacekeeping collectively as its veto-empowered members are individually.
Jean Lunt Marinovic
June, 1993
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