ethnicity :: hate is a global issue
|NATO's role to reconstruction|
by Debbie Ball
In the aftermath of the Balkan wars, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a constant mediator in efforts to rebuild the region.
NATO formed in 1949 after the North Atlantic Treaty was signed. The treaty binds signing members to work together on maintaining peaceful international relations and working toward nonviolent resolutions to international disputes between member nations as sanctioned by the Charter of the United Nations.
NATO became involved in the Balkan conflict when Slobodan Milosevic carried out an offensive attack against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. NATO tried to bring both sides of the conflict to a ceasefire, but the Serbian delegation refused to sign a peace accord and instead, launched more brutal and heinous acts of terror against Kosovar Albanians.
On March 23, 1999, the North Atlantic Council ordered Operation Allied Force against Milosevic's army. After more than two months of continual air strikes by NATO troops, NATO Secretary General Javier Solana announced on June 10, that the air campaign would be suspended in the region after Serbian forces began to withdraw from Kosovo.
Following NATO's victory was the task of handling the large numbers of Kosovar Albanian refugees. Although the Serbs had left Kosovo, their ethnic cleansing crusade displaced more than 1.5 million people in Kosovo and claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
Balkan expert and DePaul University history professor Thomas Mockaitis said that NATO's role in Bosnia and Kosovo is very problematic.
"NATO acted without UN approval to stop a genocide in Kosovo, but at least the majority of international opinion favored the operation," Mockaitis said.
Since the end of the war, NATO still has a peacekeeping force of 50,000 troops strong in the Balkans. Their main focus has been to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of the ravaged area. NATO's global mission is to promote peace and to defend its members and other nations, ensuring that propaganda fueled by hatred or ignorance does not lead to terrorism or genocide.
Mockaitis warned that only time would tell if NATO's peacekeeping efforts
have worked in the Balkan conflicts, but added that hatred is everywhere
and is a curse in the 21st Century.