Students discuss NATO policies

by Dawn Throener

With the possibility of the United States sending ground troops to Kosovo in support of NATO, the crisis in the former Yugoslavia is hitting closer to home.
And although thousands of miles away from the conflict, University students are beginning to realize and address the issues surrounding the bombing of Kosovo, which is now in its fourth week.
A nonpolitical panel discussion on Wednesday in Coffman Union allowed about 50 students to voice their concerns and speculate on the implications of diplomacy, rather than violence.
“Bombing is not the answer to the crisis in Kosovo,” said Ani Backa, a political science major and organizer of the event, which was sponsored by the St. Paul Student Center.
The discussion, “Kosovo: A Controversy and Call for Humanitarian Aid,” also incorporated a fund-raising event. For every dollar donated, 93 cents will go to the American Refugee Committee to aid refugees in the war-torn nation.
Attendees agreed that NATO involvement and the ensuing violence in Kosovo should never have taken place.
“NATO is acting in violation of United Nations policy,” said Karen Clydsdale, a member of the United Nations Student Association. “The U.N. does not condone acts of aggression.”
Hari Sree, a graduate student in electrical engineering, said he believed that the United Nations “was sidelined in the whole process” of NATO’s intervention.
As well as imposing on the United Nations, the United States is breaking international law, said Roman Kaiegsky, an audience member.
The main duties of the United States are internal — in protecting its citizens, said Brett Rowlett, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts. The United States cannot complete these duties while trying to solve situations elsewhere, he added.
And when trying to make educated decisions regarding external situations, the government needs to look at each event separately, whether it be bombing or ethnic cleansing, Rowlett said.
The decision makers need to be contacted, Kaiegsky said. “They may not agree with you, but they’ll listen.”