paralysis of the political system, which required unanimityrnamong the republics on virtually all questions. The authorsrnsaw that under the system Tito bequeathed to his heirs, Serbiarnhad fallen behind in many ways. They also realized thatrnthe 1974 constitution effectively denied Serbia the power torndo anything about the advantages that had been conferred onrnother republics. It was obvious to them that the two most advancedrnrepublics, Slovenia and Croatia, would not agree to anyrnchanges that would adversely affect them. Consequently, thernauthors argued in favor of democratization of the politicalrnsystem. It was understandable, therefore, that Milosevic’srncritics could, after the fact, point to things in the memorandumrnthat seemed to have guided him, ignoring the fact thatrnhe had joined the party press in condemning the memorandum.rnMilosevic’s critics in Slovenia and Croatia avowed that hisrnassertion of control in Kosovo signaled that Serbia was out torndominate Yugoslavia. His critics in the West have attemptedrnto explain the secessions of Slovenia and Croatia on therngrounds that they did not want to live in a Serb-dominatedrnYugoslavia. This constitutes a grave failure to understandrnTitoist Yugoslavia, because at no time prior to the secessionsrncould it be said that Yugoslavia was Serb-dominated. In fact,rnthe most that can be said is that the Slovenes and Croatsrnfeared that at some time in the future Yugoslavia might berndominated by Serbs.rnWhile many Slovenes and Croats saw Milosevic’s assertionrnof control as an internal Serbian matter, their communistrnleaders, fully aware that Serbia would seek the redress of otherrngrievances, viewed it as the beginning of a process thatrnwould be detrimental to the achievements of their republics.rnTherefore, proceeding on the well-known principle that thernbest defense is a good offense, they charged that Serbia’s actionrnin Kosovo was proof that Serbia wanted to control Yugoslavia.rnThey did not even want to hear Serb arguments inrndefense of their action in Kosovo. For example, when a grouprnof Serbs living in Slovenia attempted a peaceful demonstration,rnSlovene authorities used force to disband it.rnWhile the international community’s concern about Kosovornis understandable, failure to grasp the essence of the issuesrncan lead to disastrous policies. The media have not helped.rnCommentators often speak of historical animosities. Historicalrnperspective requires a reminder: prior to the Ottoman conquestrnof Kosovo, relations between Serbs and Albanians wererngood. That was when most of the Albanians were Christians.rnIt was only after they became Turkish surrogates, and especiallyrnwhen large numbers of them accepted Islam, that hostilitiesrndeveloped. This was mainly in the 18th century, but largescalernpersecutions of Serbs came in the 19th century. Thesernpersecutions are well documented in the reports of British,rnFrench, and Russian consuls who were stationed in the Kosovornarea. After Kosovo was liberated by the Serbs in the Balkanrnwars (I9I2), Serbian policy was clearly stated: there would bernno retribution against Kosovo Albanians for past actions. Andrnthe most that can be said about the policies of interwar Yugoslaviarnis that Kosovo was treated with benign neglect, whichrnwas more detrimental to its Serb inhabitants than to the Albanianrnones.rnIt seems to me that Milosevic was transformed not by a desirernto establish or solidify a dictatorship—even if that couldrnhave been a motive—but by the compelling nature of events.rnAs pointed out above, he was slow in taking up the cause ofrnthe Kosovo Serbs. Although he presumably recognized the seriousnessrnof their plight after his visit to Kosovo in April 1987,rnhe waited a full two years before taking concrete steps tornchange the situation. One thing is absolutely clear: prior tornhis action, Yugoslav communist authorities had utterly failedrnto solve the Kosovo problem.rnSome columnists, in their blazing hatred for Milosevic,rnhave proclaimed in shrill tones that, as an extreme nationalist,rnhe is the main threat to peace and security in thernBalkans. An apt response might be to say of nationalists whatrnAldous Huxley once said of propagandists: “A propagandistrncanalizes an already existing stream; in a land where there isrnno water he digs in vain.” One does not have to be a defenderrnof Milosevic to observe that he does not function in arnvacuum.rnWhen in 1981 I asked Milovan Djilas, onetime Titorncomrade and at that time Yugoslavia’s best-knownrndissident, what the solution was to the Kosovo question, hernsaid: “There is no solution.” Just a few months prior to ourrnconversation the Kosovo Albanians had staged demonstrationsrndemanding the status of a republic and even the rightrnto be annexed to Albania. From that year until Milosevic tookrnaction in 1989, the government of Yugoslavia (not that of Serbia)rnhad tried unsuccessfully to deal with the Kosovo problem.rnSince Milosevic’s action, the attitude of the two sides canrnbest be summarized in one sentence: the Serbian governmentrnhas said that it is willing to discuss any and all questions withrnthe Kosovo Albanians except secession, while the latter hasrnsaid that it wants to discuss nothing short of secession. Thisrnwould suggest an unqualified deadlock. However, two possiblernsolutions have been advanced. One is a partition of Kosovo,rnletting one part join Albania. The Serbs would want tornretain as many of their historic religious monuments as possible,rnas well as the mining complex of Trepce. By and large,rnthis solution would not be acceptable to most Serbs, who lookrnupon Kosovo as a holy place. But some Serbian intellectuals,rnincluding a former president of Yugoslavia, Dobrica Cosic,rnsupport the idea. Albanian hard-liners would accept such anrnoutcome only if they could get most of the territory. The onernaspect of this proposal that would have some appeal in Serbiarnis an agreement that all Albanians on the Serbian side of thernboundary line would have to leave. The principal reason whyrnthis would be popular with many Serbs is that the large numberrnof Albanians who have settled in Serbia proper, wellrnbeyond Kosovo, are seen as a critical future problem, especiallyrngiven the Albanians’ extraordinarily high birthrate. Movingrnthem as part of a settlement would be far easier now thanrnlater.rnThe second suggestion is for the Kosovo Albanians tornaccept autonomy without the attributes of statehood. ThernSerbs have indicated that is what they wanted all along. ‘lbrnthe Albanian hard-liners, this would constitute capitulation.rnRecently, however, there has been some movement in thisrndirection among the more moderate elements. At least twornformer Kosovo Albanian leaders have spoken out in favor ofrnparticipating in elections and working in other ways towardrnviable arrangements that would let Kosovo Albanians managerntheir own affairs while remaining loyal citizens of the countryrnin which they live. The second alternative seems to hold thernbest prospect for a peaceful resolution of this critical problem.rnAPRIL 1995/17rnrnrn