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The world after Kosovo


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 12:27:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gunder Frank <agfrank@chass.utoronto.ca>
To: agf <agfrank@chass.utoronto.ca>
Subject: The world after Kosovo

Stratfor "global intelligence" may 3
Whether in a week or a month, the Kosovo crisis is drawing to a
close. The basic outlines of the settlement are already visible.
The question now is what the world will look like afterwards.  We
expect a much more sober, cautious, and even mildly isolationist
U.S., facing the fact that tremendous power is not the same as
omnipotence.  We see a dramatic decline in European confidence in
American leadership.  Germany was particularly concerned about
Russia's reactions and is likely to concentrate on maintaining
its relations with Moscow independent of NATO's decisions.  The
big winner was Russia, a country that got money, respect, and the
position of honest broker.  The most extraordinary outcome of
Bill Clinton's Kosovo adventure was that it turned Boris Yeltsin
into a statesman, with his representative, Chernomyrdin, taken
more seriously in Bonn and Rome than Clinton's Strobe Talbott.
That was no small feat for the Clinton foreign policy team.

 Now, finding that NATO refuses to launch a ground war against Serbia, 
and finding that it lacks sufficient air power to crush Serb resistance,
the United States will eventually be forced to accept a compromise
and call it victory.

This will end an era that began with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
in August 1990.  The United States, under President Bush,
determined that the Iraqi invasion was unacceptable.  His precise
reasoning was not as clear as one might think.   Part of the
reasoning was strategic.  Part of it was his repugnance at one
nation seizing another.  But the core of the intervention was
that in a global, strategic sense, it was risk free. 
Clinton administration faced the intervention in Kosovo as a
question of whether the United States would intervene and whether
we would permit Serbia to retain sovereignty over Kosovo.  It
failed to ask the more important question of whether the United
States and its allies had the military power in place to achieve
its political ends, and whether the amount of military power
required should be spent in a place like Kosovo.  The United
States simply assumed, without the meticulous analysis required,
that it had the needed power.  It did not.

Thus, the decade begun in Kuwait ends in the skies over Serbia.
No American government will, in the near future at least, simply
assume that it has the military power needed to impose its will.
This is, obviously, a healthy lesson to learn.  There is a vast
difference between being the greatest military power in the world
and omnipotence.  The United States rules the seas and can,
wherever it chooses, rule the skies.  This is not the same as
being able to compel other nations to capitulate on matters of
fundamental national importance.  

We expect two parallel processes to emerge after Kosovo. We will
see a much more passive, indeed, isolationist United States.  The
hair-trigger assumption of responsibility for Eurasian problems
will be replaced by a much more cautious calculation not only of
moral considerations, but also of costs and the national
interest.  The second process, paradoxically, will be a
substantial increase in American defense spending.  The Kosovo
exercise has clearly demonstrated that the draw-down in U.S.
military forces has limited American military effectiveness.
We believe that the Kosovo conflict will become a definitive
event in European history. The failure in Kosovo will cause the
United States to recoil from casual interventions.  More
important, U.S. clumsiness in Kosovo will cause the Europeans to
shy away from American leadership, particularly concerning
European matters.  The likelihood of an American administration
herding NATO into another military adventure in Europe is
minimal.  This is a crucial change.  
 We expect two results from Kosovo.  First, a strengthening
of purely European institutions at the expense of NATO.  Second,
a greater caution by individual nations toward multinational
commitments, including purely European ones.

Kosovo will undoubtedly bring to a close what we might call the
era of casual intervention for the United States.  There is
nothing like failure to increase sobriety.  We suspect that this
is the last major foreign policy adventure for the Clinton
Administration and would not be surprised to see Albright, Berger
and Holbrooke accepting private sector positions in the near
future.  Most importantly, Kosovo closes what we regard as the
interregnum between eras.  The Cold War was not replaced by a
unipolar world.  That was a temporary anomaly.  The new era of
one superpower and several great powers, loosely united to limit
U.S. power, is now beginning.

                   ANDRE GUNDER FRANK
250 Kensington Ave - Apt 608     Tel: 1-514-933 2539    
Westmount/Montreal PQ/QC         Fax: 1-514-933 6445 
Canada H3Z 2G8              e-mail:agfrank@chass.utoronto.ca 

My Personal/Professional Home Page> http://www.whc.neu.edu/gunder.html
My NATO/Kosovo Page> http://csf.colorado.edu/archive/agfrank/nato_kosovo/       
My professional/personal conclusion is the same as Pogo's - 
            We have met the enemy, and it is US 

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