THE WEST SHOULD JOIN GERMANY IN RECOGNIZING CROATIA, SLOVENIA — NOT FIGHT IT

(Washington, D.C.): Immense
international pressure has been brought
to bear on Germany in recent days aimed
at persuading Bonn to foreswear its plan
to recognize Croatia and Slovenia by
Christmas. In an ideal world, Germany
should not do so alone; instead, it
should be joined by every other civilized
nation. In this less than ideal world, if
the United States and others continue to
decline to extend such recognition,
Germany should not hesitate to press
ahead.

President Bush has engaged in his
beloved “personal diplomacy” by
calling Chancellor Helmut Kohl to inveigh
against such a step; UN Secretary General
Javier Perez de Cuellar has written what
has been called an
“uncharacteristically forceful”
letter of protest to the German
government; and UN special envoy Cyrus
Vance has used particularly shrill
language in warning against recognition.
These and other figures have offered a
common assessment — and a common
prescription: German endorsement of the
Croat and Slovene declarations of
independence would grievously complicate
efforts to end the fighting and,
therefore, Germany must continue to be
bound by an international consensus that
denies such recognition for the
foreseeable future.

It takes considerable sang froid,
not to say indifference to human tragedy,
to tell the people of Croatia that the
prospects for peace will suffer if their
effort to exercise self-determination is
legitimized by the international
community. To the thousands who have
died, been mutilated, displaced or
otherwise forced to endure month after
month of Serbian aggression and savagery,
it may seem hard to imagine that the
false hope of repeated cease-fires will only
be shattered by the act of recognition.

Scarcely more comprehensible is the
argument that Germany must refrain from
recognizing Croatia and Slovenia simply
because other leading nations lack the
courage or perspicacity to take this
step. While Germany is probably largely
inclined to do so for the wrong
reasons (i.e., out of an ambition to
exercise economic and political influence
in Central Europe), helping to legitimize
the independence of these two democratic
and free-market-oriented states is
nonetheless the right thing to
do. In any event, it appears that Bonn
will go forward with recognition despite
the objections of some of its allies and
UN officials.

For all the foregoing considerations,
the Center for Security Policy believes
that the United States and its
allies would be well advised to join
Germany in extending recognition to
Croatia and Slovenia immediately
.
In this way they can: maintain
international solidarity — and avoid the
economic and other downside risks of
singularizing Germany; maximize pressure
on Serbia to halt the bloodletting; and
stand at long last with those determined
to obtain their freedom from communist
oppression.

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