The Trouble With Kosovo

I wonder if the other reporters who returned to Washington from our yearlong assignment on planet Monica had the same uneasy question that I had last week: just where is Kosovo and what is the problem there?

I ask because suddenly we were being told what was happening there was so vital to U.S. interests that U.S. warplanes were poised to bomb and U.S. soldiers were being promised for a peacekeeping force.

Yugoslavia's government is controlled by Serbs, but most of the people in Kosovo are secession-minded Albanians and there has been a lot of bloody fighting.

In short, the West is worried that the fighting could spread into nearby Albania, and Macedonia, and then set off a war between Greece and Turkey.

America and her allies are trying to get the two sides to back off, hence the threat of airstrikes against the Serbs if they don't and the promise of peacekeepers if they do. Good intentions, but will it work?

I suspect that most of us haven't been paying enough attention to really know. But I hope we start to pay attention because I keep thinking back to when we sent American troops into the middle of another civil war in a little country most of us couldn't have found on the map. We had good intentions then, but nearly 50,000 Americans died before we really understood what it was all about.

Reported by Bob Schieffer
©1999, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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