Kosovo: Only Independence Will WorkIssue: Winter 1998-1999
If Flaubert were alive today, he would be taking a special interest in Western policy on the Balkans. He was always fascinated by a certain kind of accepted wisdom, which shades off into platitudes, clichés, and expressions of sheer stupidity--what he lovingly described as la bêtise. An updated version of his Dictionary of Received Ideas would have to include several new entries derived from Western policymakers during the Bosnian war: "Balkan people: full of ancient ethnic hatreds. Cannot stop fighting one another." "NATO air strikes: completely ineffective without the deployment of hundreds of thousands of NATO ground troops." "Arming the victims: creates a level killing field. Only prolongs the war", and so on.