The Magazine


Apr 26, 1999, Vol. 4, No. 30 • By JAMES W. CEASER
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Whatever his initial motives may have been in starting the bombing in Serbia, President Clinton has come to engage not just the credibility of the United States and of NATO, but also the standing of a philosophical position about the role that universal norms may play in the conduct of world affairs. At the moment it is far from clear how all this will turn out. No one can have great confidence in an administration that has shown so little judgment; an administration that, even for the sake of a legitimate moral cause, engages in shameful manipulation by upping the ante of moral rectitude to distract attention from mistakes of prudence. It is no wonder, under the circumstances, that European intellectuals would want to hedge their bets.



In my April 26 article "French Resistance," I mistakenly identified Jean-Francois Kahn as an intellectual of the far right. I should have said center or center left, and I very much regret the error.

James W. Ceaser is professor of government and foreign affairs at the University of Virginia and author of Reconstructing America (Yale).