The Magazine


Apr 26, 1999, Vol. 4, No. 30 • By TOD LINDBERG
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There is something wrong with this picture, is there not? True, in the event things turn out well, Clinton will deserve more credit than conservatives will be willing to give him. But there will be many other places to look for the origins of the victory. Start with NATO, where a capable general, Wesley Clark, whose record of commitment to a decent outcome in the Balkans is second to none, has so far been hobbled by hesitant political leadership. But credit will be due the collective NATO political leadership as well, for hanging together through a difficult time and demonstrating the alliance's commitment to civilized conduct in Europe. Foremost, of course, will be the credit due the sheer fact of U.S. power: Without the United States, the nations of Europe would have been unable to stop the horror on their doorstep.

Bill Clinton plays a role in all of this, of course. And he has made plenty of mistakes that are clearly his own. But come what may, it's important to frame the issue correctly. The proposition being tested in Kosovo comes down to this: Is U.S. power and prestige in the world today so overwhelming, that even Bill Clinton can wield it relatively effectively?

Tod Lindberg is editor of Policy Review.