Fred Kaplan: Is Libya Like Kosovo?





[Fred Kaplan is Slate's "War Stories" columnist and a Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. His latest book, 1959: The Year Everything Changed, is now out in paperback. He can be reached at war_stories@hotmail.com.]

It's worth noting, four days into the air campaign against Libya, that we're just four days into the air campaign against Libya....

The hand-wringing from all sides is reminiscent of NATO's 1999 air war against Serbia, which was mounted to protect Kosovar citizens from the savagery of Slobodan Milosevic. President Bill Clinton's decision to intervene in that internal war came at a much later point in the conflict than Barack Obama's, after the dictator had inflicted far greater damage. Clinton sidestepped the U.N. Security Council knowing that Russia and China would veto a resolution, but he did go through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, whose member-states saw the campaign—the first time they'd waged war together in NATO's half-century history—as a test of the alliance's continued relevance in the post-Cold War era....



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