that there is no need for me to belabor the point. But it hasrnhad and will continue to have a nefarious bearing on events inrnYugoslavia in fostering the illusion that this was a problem thernUnited Nations and the United Nations alone was equipped torndeal with. It was a piece of naive foolishness to believe that thernUnited Nations—an organization which (despite Chapter 7 ofrnits charter) has been unable in 48 years to form a standingrnarmy, which is chronically bankrupt and institutionally paralyzed,rnand which, as Charles Krauthammer aptly put it in arnTime essay last July, has “become the all-purpose ambulancernservice for bleeding countries”—could tackle such a majorrnEuropean problem. Only too often this fatuous idea has beenrnused by European politicians—^let us not talk of “statesmen,”rna dying species in this age of mediocrity—as a convenient excusernfor shirking their responsibilities, this time by simplyrndumping the irksome problem of the Third Balkan War intornthe “lap of the U.N.”rnBut Bush and the United States are not the only guilty parties.rnShortly after the siege of Dubrovnik had begun, BernardrnKouchner, the founder of two French medical-aid associationsrn—Medecins sans Frontieres and Medecins du Monde—rnmade a quick trip to the scene. On his return to Paris, as ministerrnresponsible for humanitarian affairs, he went to seernPresident Mitterrand and urged him to send French warships tornthe Adriatic to break the Dubrovnik siege. But Frangois Mitterrand,rnwho had already distinguished himself during thernGulf crisis by doing everything he could to avert a militaryrnshowdown—if Saddam Hussein had been cleverer and had acceptedrnone of Mitterrand’s olive branches, he might even havernbeen able to scuttle “Desert Storm” before it hit him—showedrnthat a slinking leopard does not change its spots. He rejectedrnKouchner’s “risky” proposal. Instead—and it must be addedrnthat in England Prime Minister John Major and Foreign SecretaryrnDouglas Hurd were equally obtuse—he chose the farrnriskier course of placing thousands of French troops, armed tornthe teeth but with orders not to use them (the arms, not thernteeth), at the disposal of the United Nations in various parts ofrnwartorn Yugoslavia. This was the ultimate madness—^but arnmagnificent, largely symbolic gesture intended to reassure thernworld that France was doing more than its “little bit,” that itrnwas still the generous, courageous France of Victor Hugo, or forrnthat matter—not for nothing is Monsieur Mitterrand a Socialistrn—the peace-loving France of Leon Blum (who, in Aprilrn1936, wrote an article praising his countrymen for their unilateralrninertia during the Rhineland crisis, in the name—needrnI add?—of “collective security”).rnI say the ultimate madness because soldiers are normallyrntrained to hght. This is their raison d’etre. They are not usuallyrntrained not to fight—any more than policemen are trained notrnto use their pistols, if necessary. To force them to do the oppositernof what they are supposedly trained to do is to exposernthem to endless ridicule. It is simply a perversion of the militaryrnethos, one more symptom of that Umwertung der Werte, ofrnthat “inversion of values” (as Nietzsche called it), which has becomernone of the pathetic hallmarks of our times.rnWhat do soldiers do when they find themselves placed inrnsuch an intolerable situation? The answer is that, in the namernof common sense, they ignore or exceed their crippling mandates,rnwhich is more or less what Admiral Jonathan Howe didrnin Somalia in ordering his U.N. troops to go after the chief troublemaker;rnor else, like General Philippe Morillon in Sarajevornand elsewhere, they “blow their stacks” and tear their hair inrnpermanent frustration.rnFar be it from me to claim that the French, British, and otherrntroops sent out to “keep the peace” in various parts of Yugoslaviarnhave achieved nothing. In some cases—that of Mostar,rnfor example, whose Moslem inhabitants were literally beingrnstarved as well as shot to death by their Croat oppressors—thernlocal inhabitants have clung to U.N. relief columns as a drowningrnman clings to a log. But the fact remains that only too oftenrnthe “Do not open or return fire” instructions under whichrnthey are forced to operate have made them look like impotentrnsissies, confirming the impression that the “powers” they represent,rnand by whom they were trained and armed, are simplyrnpaper tigers.rnLet me cite one example (among hundreds) that graphicallyrnillustrates this macabre truth. One day last August, Patrickrnde Saint-Exupery, who has been covering the Third BalkanrnWar for the Figaro, visited the Sarajevo suburb of Gobijta Glavarnto check on the French soldiers of the 21 st Marine InfantryrnRegiment. A sergeant major, who had been assigned the job ofrn”protecting” the suburb’s 5,000 inhabitants, told him thatrnshortly after his arrival, while he was making the rounds withrnsome of his men, several shots were fired from a few hundredrnyards away, seriously wounding two little girls who were playingrnin the street. They were promptly rushed in an armored car torna hospital in Sarajevo. The sergeant was so enraged that he hadrna message sent to the Serbian snipers (well armed with telescopicrnrifles) saying that from now on the soldiers under hisrncommand were going to walk around in the midst of the localrnpopulation and that if the sniping continued, the French wouldrnbe obliged to return the fire. The Serbs immediately protestedrnto the local U.N. headquarters, saying that they were goingrnto shell the suburbs unless the French marines were withdrawn.rnInstead, the French returned the next day with armoredrncars, and as long as they were present, there was no more sniping-rnIf, as the sergeant realized, the two little girls had been so callouslyrnshot down, it was not because the Serbian snipers werernsadists. What they wanted to find out was how the French soldiersrnon the spot were going to react. In short—and I do notrnbelieve that the comparison is too farfetched—they were behavingrnas Adolf Hitler did in March 1936.rnThere is, obviously, no easy way out of this dreadful dilemma.rnNo one knows this better than Jean-FrangoisrnDeniau, one of the few French deputies for whom I feel a genuinernrespect. (A tireless, globe-trotting supporter of oppressedrnpeoples, he once trekked his way over 12,000-foot mountainrnpasses into Afghanistan and, at the age of 54, suffered a heartrnattack as a result.) Deniau, who was one of the first Frenchrn”hawks” to urge a swift aerial take-out of the Serbian artilleryrnbatteries that were pounding Sarajevo, was also one of thernfirst French politicians to realize into what a fatal trap hisrngovernment had inadvertently walked, in the name of “internationalrnsolidarity” and “humanitarian good will,” by dispatchingrnso many French troops to “keep the peace” in Yugoslavia.rnSince they are not supposed to shoot back unlessrndirectly fired upon, and since they are outgunned on thernground, they have in fact become “hostages” on whom thernSerbs, or for that matter the Croats, can open fire any time theyrnchoose to deter the government in Paris from taking a toughrnline or advocating the use of force. This might be called “deterrencernin reverse”—the punishment meted out to those whorn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn