News / USA

    Former NATO Commander Wesley Clark: Crimea Is Not Kosovo

    Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who was in charge during the 1999 Kosovo air war, rejects any parallels between Kosovo and Crimea.
    Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who was in charge during the 1999 Kosovo air war, rejects any parallels between Kosovo and Crimea.
    Arben XhixhoMike Eckel
    When NATO jets attacked Serbian military targets in Kosovo in 1999, relations between the West and Russia plummeted to lows not seen since before the Soviet collapse eight years earlier.
     
    Russia, under the presidency then of Boris Yeltsin, complained that NATO was attacking a sovereign nation, unprompted, and was setting a dangerous precedent. NATO, Washington included, said atrocities allegedly being committed against the Kosovars justified the intervention.
     
    Since then, Russia has thrown the West’s reasoning back in its face, most recently in Ukraine’s Crimea, when the Kremlin used allegations — spurious, at best — that ethnic Russians were in danger as justification for intervening.
     
    Wesley Clark was Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO when Kosovo crisis happened, and he’s regularly questioned on the justification for, and the fallout from, the attack.
     
    In a recent interview in Washington with VOA’s Albanian Service, Clark distinguished between what happened in Kosovo and what’s happening today in Ukraine.

    Watch video interview with Clark:
     
    Crimea Is Not Kosovo, Says Former NATO Commander Wesley Clarki
    X
    VOA News
    June 13, 2014 9:12 PM
    Wesley Clark, the former U.S. general who was NATO commander in 1999 when NATO air strikes in Kosovo, denies any parallel between Kosovo and the Russian intervention in Crimea earlier this year. In a recent interview in Washington with VOA’s Albanian Service, he said the situation in Crimea was 'a manufactured crisis by Mr. Putin.'

    VOA: “Do you see any parallel between Kosovo and Crimea?”
     
    CLARK:
    What Russia is doing in Ukraine is not in any way parallel to what NATO did in Kosovo because in Kosovo you had a group of people who were fighting to preserve their own culture against the Serb repression. What is happening in Ukraine has nothing to do with this. The Russian population is not under any repression in Ukraine whatsoever. Instead, what we got is a manufactured crisis by Mr. Putin who is trying to draw similarities but there are no similarities whatsoever. The only real similarity is that when people get a taste of democracy, they want more of it; they want a chance to select their own leaders, they want a government that is free of corruption, they want a chance to be treated with dignity and they want to be part of the movement of western civilization. That does have a similarity between what happened in Kosovo 15 years ago and the progress made since and the aspirations of the people in Ukraine.
     
    VOA: How has the West reacted towards the crisis in Ukraine?
     
    CLARK:
    I think that what the West has to do is we have to help the government of Ukraine. It has to clean the remains of the aggression in its eastern areas, it has to develop economically, it has to follow through on the promised reforms and bring democracy and economic growth to the people of Ukraine. Ukraine is a big country. It is 45-46 million people. It has got a lot of modern industry; it also has a lot of very key resources. There is no reason for it not to be one of the leading countries of Europe. It should be, and hopefully now it will be.
     
    VOA: How can you square that with the economic interests that the EU is having in Russia?
     
    CLARK:
    I think that the EU has to sort through this. The purpose of the European Union expansion is to bring stability to the East and ultimately that stability will come to Russia. There is no long term reason that Russia can’t be part of the same peaceful community of nations.  But they can’t military forces and take military action and change boundaries like this. That’s wrong!

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: dave
    June 15, 2014 4:12 AM
    The Serbs in Kosovo were the ones who got oppressed by the Albanians before, during and after the war.

    by: Luke Buyenovich from: Dayton,Ohio USA
    June 14, 2014 7:54 PM
    "Crimea is not Kosovo"Very true indeed.Attack on Serbia by the West,executed by Mr.Clark was risk free.Any western military participations in conflict in Ukraine would bring the West to humiliating defeat.Ukrainian people are suffering needlessly.Economic competition West vs East could be peaceful and beneficial to the people of Uraine.

    by: Pippo from: NYC
    June 14, 2014 5:31 PM
    Of course Crimea is not Kosovo little wesley. You don't have a no compete mining contract with crimea and thus have no reason to bomb there. http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/wesley-clark-puts-name-behind-kosovo-coal-project
    Nor are there any al qaeda trained militants to support like there were in kosovo you joker. good luck at the gates, you'll need it.

    by: Jacob KIpp from: Lawrence, Kansas USA
    June 14, 2014 4:39 PM
    It would have been very valuable if the VOA correspondent would have asked General Clark to clarify this sentence: "I think that what the West has to do is we have to help the government of Ukraine. It has to clean the remains of the aggression in its eastern areas, . . . Does the General Means that the "West" should "help the Government if Ukraine . . . to clean the remains of the aggression in its eastern areas?" And does this area include Crimea, or has the West simply given up Crimea to Russia. With regard to the "eastern areas" of Ukraine is the general sure that the only problem in that region is "aggression?" Could there be a domestic insurgency, which will demand more effort to win the heart and minds of people than just killing "terrorists? How we conceptualize a problem often limits the policy choices that we see.

    by: kristin anders from: U.S.A.
    June 14, 2014 10:25 AM
    According to an Eastern Ukrainian friend of mine, the people there have always felt suppressed, and now, especially, since they were not permitted to vote in the election and the man who was elected is waging war against them. Atrocities are being committed against the citizens at this moment which western governments are not only allowing to happen but are supporting.
    In Response

    by: Andrey Petrov
    June 15, 2014 5:39 AM
    Huge number of russians like me has got relatives in Eastern Ukraine. The same thing is in Crimea. My ukrainian relatives and friends hate current nazi ukrainian government supported by US and EU politicians. Not because of Russian mass media. At first ukrainian government resisted freedom of choise at referendum. And now Ukrainian military forces bombs sities and kills peaceful civilians. That's why Russia has defeated Crimea from nazis. Putin was foreseeing such situation in Crimea.
    In Response

    by: Patrick Sullivan from: United States
    June 14, 2014 6:11 PM
    The only atrocities in Ukraine are commited by foreigners, from Chechnya & RF
    In Response

    by: Per from: Norway
    June 14, 2014 5:04 PM
    Suppressed by Janukovitsj? Who prevented them to vote? The same bandits Petrosjenko has to wipe out. Good riddance. They are a menace to all Ukrainians and a threat to peace in Europe. Help Ukraine in their fight against Vlads local and not so local thugs.
    In Response

    by: Dimitri Visser
    June 14, 2014 4:40 PM
    You should know that the opinions and knowledge of people in eastern Ukraine is influenced very heavily by the Russian news. They watch mainly Russian channels (because Russian is their native language), and listen to this news also. Russian news is telling lies to Russian people, and to the people in Ukraine watching Russian tv channels. There were even stories about the USA making camps in Eastern Ukraine, to kill Russian people with gas, just like the nazis did with the jews.

    All people in Ukraine were allowed to vote! Unfortunately some people in Eastern Ukraine could not, because the pro Russian terrorists did not allow the voting to take place there. That is the real storie...

    by: micheal from: nigeria
    June 14, 2014 6:40 AM
    Russia is showing the world that she is someone to reckon with but at the long run it may turns to doom to mother russia see what Russia behaviors is causing in south china sea

    by: Giovanni from: Milano
    June 14, 2014 3:22 AM
    We keep silence,Putin destabilizes, destroys and kills Ukrainians who organized revolutions in 2004 and 2014 in order to be closer with us,the West,but we betrayed them. We left them alone to face fascism-like Russia to kill them.

    by: jjs from: las vegas
    June 14, 2014 1:03 AM
    Gen Clark isn't 100% correct stating of atrocities against Kosovo population. Atrocities were committed by both sides. Muslims are not known of being soft against christians either. And again the war between Serbia and Kosovo started when Kosovo decided to separate. Serbia naturally objected because Kosovo territory historically belong to Serbia. So, Kosovo people started the war killing Serbian people in Kosovo, who objected separation. Clark is twisting the truth.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora