Today's date:
Spring 1999

From Vietnam to Kosovo: Is the Diet-Coke Generation for the Real Thing?

If Vietnam was a proxy war with Soviet communism, Kosovo is a proxy war with the Holocaust. Kosovo tests all the hallowed rhetoric of the West about self-determination, multiethnic pluralism, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rule of law. Failure in Kosovo would therefore be a failure of the very idea of the West. More than any other single event, the battle over Kosovo will thus define the West and particularly Europe, at the turn of the century. That this is a war in Europe for Europe sets it apart from all the other tragedies globally from Rwanda to Kashmir.

NATO's shift from 50 years of planning the strategic defense of Europe to making war for humanitarian reasons is what philosophers would call "epistemic"; it marks a complete break with the settled assumptions of a worldview that reigned during the decades since the end of World War II.

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