“All the NewsrnUnfit to Print” ignsi of tlje ^imt^rnVol. 3 No. 2 February 2001rnThe world is breathing a sigh of rehefrnnow that the American electorate hasrnfound the cure for the mad-cow diseasernthat has afflicted U.S. foreign pohcy for sornmany years. Still, her memory hngers inrnworld capitals, where they continue to tellrnMadeleine Albright stories—for example,rnof her repeated unsuccessful attempts tornprocure an invitation to visit Belgradernfrom the new Yugoslav leadership. “Nornmember of the Clinton team was more enthusiasticallyrndetermined to bomb Serbiarnin March 1999 than Albright,” accordingrnto a source,rnand i t was therefore remarkablernto observe the zeal with whichrnshe t r i ed to get herself invitedrnto Serbia by the new governmentrn. . . She f i r s t t r i e d throughrn[the U.S. diplomat William] Montgomery,rnwho came to Belgrade torncongratulate . . . Vojislav Kostunica,rna week after Milosevic’srndownfall. But when Kostunica polrni t e l y declined Montgomery’s requestrn. . . formally on therngrounds of his busy schedule, shernsent him a hand-written l e t t e r inrnSerbian expressing her earnestrnwish to “congratulate him and hisrnpeople” in person, and expressingrnher warm personal feelings forrnthe Serbian people.rnSuch professions evoked a wry smilernfrom the new Serbian leaders. They wererndetermined not to grant this wish to thernwoman who had contributed, more thanrnanyone else, to the tone and shape ofrnAmerica’s pohcy in the Balkans throughoutrnBill Clinton’s tenure. They were alsornfully aware that Albright’s and Clinton’srnintention was to co-opt the fall of Milosevicrninto their shrinking “legacy,” thus indirectlyrnjustifying the bombing campaign itself.rnAmerican diplomats returned fromrnBelgrade with the message that high-levelrnmeetings would have to wait until therernwas a new administration in Washington.rnOur source continues:rnNever the one to take “no” for anrnanswer . . . Albright tried tornentrap Kostunica into meeting herrnat the OSCE meeting in Viennarn. . . in the l a s t week of November.rnA week before the meetingrnher aides told reporters, on therncondition of anonymity, that arnmeeting had been finally scheduled.rnOn November 15 a l l wirernservices—and national dailies onrnthe following day—duly carriedrnthe news attributed to “U.S. governmentrnsources” that the meetingrnwas definitely on. They did notrnknow that this was Albright’s delrni b e r a t e attempt to present thernSerbs with [a] fait accompli. Inrnfact Belgrade was not even informed,rnlet alone consulted, beforernthe story was presented tornthe media as [a] done deal. Shernexpected that Kostunica wouldrnplay along, imwilling to jeopardizernthe proposed U.S. assistancernpackage. Well, he didn’t-and shernended up eating humble pie . . .rnWith such brains in charge of U.S.rndiplomacy, it is hardly remarkable that Mr.rnClinton’s Middle East “peace process”rnresulted in a drastic escalation of violencernin the region and the loss of U.S. credibilityrn—this time not only among thernArabs but among many Israelis. As thernJerusalem Post wrote (November 27):rnIsrael is in urgent need of anrnobjective and honest broker whornshares the confidence of a l lrnsides to bring [them] to the negotiatingrntable, while reducingrntension and violence. Americarncannot do i t ; Russia has no s e r i ­ousrnclout. The solution must bernfound elsewhere, perhaps in onernof the European Union countries.rnThree days earUer, Dore Gold, a formerrnIsraeh ambassador to the United Nations,rnwrote that American “evenhandedness is arnrecipe for disaster.” On November 23, thernJerusalem Post’s editorialist bewailedrnClinton’s “pallid tolerance of Palestinianrnaggression” that necessitated Israeh militaryrnescalation:rnI t would be some, however minor,rncomfort if the U.S. refusal tornsupport even minimal and largelyrnsymbolic Israeli efforts at selfdefensernwere a function of StaternDepartment evenhandedness runrnamuck, not the will of the president.rnUnfortunately . . . it isrnClinton himself who has been unwaveringlyrnevenhanded since thernPalestinian attack against Israelrnbegan.rnWhile such accusations are greetedrnwith wide-eyed astonishment in the Arabrnworld, both Arabs and Jews can agree onrnthe issue of American credibility. ThernPalestinian dmly Al-Ayyam, which is closernto Arafat’s administration, echoed thernview from Jerusalem in an editorial onrnNovember 27:rnWashington i s watching communicationsrnamong various mediators inrnMoscow, Ankara and some Arab capirnt a l s [which] does not mean thatrnthe White House has abandoned thernidea of preventing anyone elsernfrom participating effectively inrnthe p o l i t i c a l process. The reasonrnfor this is that Washingtonrnhas lost i t s c r e d i b i l i t y and balancernas a semi-neutral mediator.rnIn addition, i t s dominance hasrnbeen challenged because Israelrncontinues to commit stupiditiesrnthat embarrass Washington andrnmake the task of defending i t srna l l y very difficult.rnIn Lebanon, As-Safir pointed out (Novemberrn25) that, following a completernbreakdown in Israeh-Palestinian communications,rna telephone call was arrangedrnbetween Israeli Prime Minister EhudrnBarak and Yassir Arafat under the auspicesrnof the Russian president:rnThe intifada did not change thernsituation of the Palestinian ne-rnFEBRUARY 2001/23rnrnrn