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(E) 5 Arguments against the British Foreign Office
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  10/29/2002 | Politics | Unrated
(E) 5 Arguments against the British Foreign Office


5 Arguments against the British Foreign Office 


Mr. Gallagher`s Commentary : 5 Arguments against
British Foreign Office

Britain has suspended ratification of the Croatia - EU
SAA agreement and postponed a trip by Prince Andrew to
Croatia, demanding that Croatia hand over General
Bobetko. This is all utterly hypocritical and I am
surprised that Croatia has been so lenient on the
matter. A couple of British news reports have followed
the British Foreign Office (FO) line, talking up the
possibility of international sanctions. Fortunately
both the EU and the United States appear not to be
taking action, leaving Britain isolated on the matter.

Being British, perhaps I can give some advice on how
to ensure Britain`s position remains uninfluential. I
have assembled 5 arguments Croatian politicians,
media, institutions and its people should use:

1. Britain is being hypocritical because it is not
proposing any sanctions against Serbia, a country that
does not, unlike Croatia, bother co-operating at all
with The Hague. Hague Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte
has demanded Serbia hand over Ratko Mladic, whom she
claims is being protected by the Yugoslavia military. 
Eleven indictees roam freely in Serbia. The Hague
Tribunal President has just reported Yugoslavia for
non-co-operation to the United Nations Security
Council. Britain is effectively protecting people
such as Ratko Mladic by drawing attention away from
Serbia and onto Croatia. 

The question must be asked again and again: Why no
British sanctions against Serbia?

2. If Britain is demanding that Croatia hands people
over to The Hague, why do no t British military forces
in Bosnia-Herzegovina immediately arrest all indictees
still at large such as Radovan Karadzic? Why is
Croatia expected to arrest indictees but not Britain?

3. Britain is not impartial. The British FO supported
the Serbs throughout the war, maintaining the arms
embargo that allowed atrocities such as Vukovar and
Srebrenica to occur. It is in the FO`s interest that
the Croatia Chief of Staff ends up in The Hague so
that they can claim they were right all along. They
claimed that "all sides were equally guilty". What
better way of `proving` this than the indictment of
the former Croatian chief of staff? Britain is not
impartial and its sanctions should cease.

4. The Hague Tribunal has assembled a Council of
Appeals to hear Croatia`s case. Britain is in fact
interfering with a legal process.

5. Croatia should demand an apology from Britain for
its behaviors during the war. Croatia won`t get it,
but it should help put Britain on the back foot.

The British FO is not popular in Britain; just
recently a foreign minister has had to apologise for
British diplomat`s "lack of co-ordination" in support
to families of British victims of the terrorist
bombing in Bali. Furthermore, the British people
despise hypocrisy. If the above arguments are used
strongly and repeatedly, Britain`s position may look
untenable, and the FO may face criticism from British

All Croatian officials dealing with Britain should
immediately read the recent British book by Brendan
Simms, "Unfinest Hour: Britain and the destruction of
Bosni a". This book sold very well in Britain and had
many favourable reviews. It describes Britains
appalling pro-Serb role in the war in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. In particular, Simms describes the
shocking role of the FO in the whole business. The
book`s favourable reception attests to the decency of
many British people. 

The indictments against Bobetko and Gotovina are very
much in the FO` s interest - they can use them to say
critics like Simms and others such as Margaret
Thatcher were wrong. The FO will say that the Croat
chief of staff was a war criminal and Operation Storm
was nothing more than an `ethnic cleansing` exercise.

The whole business has served a useful purpose
however; it demonstrates that British policy is
precisely the same as in 1991 - pro-Serb. Brendan
Simms points out that many in the higher echelons of
the FO are still pro-Serb. Only the naļve and
politically motivated believe past British criticism
of Croatia has had anything to do with the quality of
Croatian democracy.

The British FO is not sparing Croatia criticism;
Croatia should respond in the same way.

Brian Gallagher

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