Former Commanding General: NATO 1999 Intervention Allowed For More Moderate Leaders on All Sides to Emerge | Beta Briefing

Former Commanding General: NATO 1999 Intervention Allowed For More Moderate Leaders on All Sides to Emerge

Source: Beta
Archive / News | 29.03.21 | access_time 12:28

On March 24, 1999, NATO launched bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia(BETAPHOTO/MILOS MISKOV/DS)

Retired U.S. Lieutenant General Frederic Ben Hodges, who commanded the U.S. land forces in Europe from 2014 to 2017, is of the opinion that the NATO intervention in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999 has helped put a stop to the ethnic cleansing of the Kosovo Albanians and created the opportunity for more moderate leaders on all sides to find a political solution.

When asked if there had been ways to avoid the intervention of one of the most powerful military alliance against a European country, Hodges told the Voice of America on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the NATO bombing that a sustainable strategy could have done it.

“I believe that the great power competition is getting in the way of a large-scale conflict. In the long run, this means the existence of a sustainable strategy for the region that would boost economic and diplomatic integration. With concrete investments and sustainable efforts of the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France, perhaps the conditions to avoid the intervention could have been created,” Hodges, who is an associate at the Washington based Center for European Policy (CEPA), explained.  

He added that he believes that “the majority of young people in Serbia look towards the future rather than the past,” and that they are aware of the fact that the best opportunities – the best economy, health care and education – come from turning to the West.

“Bonding with the Kremlin didn’t improve the lives of the majority. Luckily, a good enough number of [Serbian] leaders understand this and they are suppressing the Kremlin’s malign influence. It’s also very important that the U.S. government, including our exceptional team in the Belgrade embassy, has been patiently working over a long period of time on aiding Serbia. I believe this combination is gradually yielding promising results,” Hodges concluded.    

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