Senator Mark O. Hatfield


Domestic Policy

Foreign Policy


Bosnia Herzegovina  | Middle East | Vietnam


Foreign Policy:
Bosnia Herzegovina

July 25, 1995

Congressional Record - Senate: Pages 20,246 - 20,247




Mr. HATFIELD. Mr. President, in considering the legislation pending before the Senate today which requires the President to unilaterally lift the arms embargo against Bosnia and Herzegovina, I am struck by the following question: What is our goal?

My colleagues have stated that we can no loner stand by and watch the Bosnians continue to be slaughtered by the Serbian army. By lifting the embargo, we are giving the Bosnians the means to stand up and fight the Serbs on an even footing. In their minds, we are helping to prevent further killing of Bosnians. But are we really doing that or are we contributing to more bloodshed, more killing, and more ethnic cleansing?

As I have said several times in the past when the Senate has been faced with this issue, lifting the arms embargo will not guarantee peace. It will only widen the war and guarantee more deaths on both sides. Lifting the arms embargo contingent on the removal of United Natiosn Protective Forces do not take into consideration humanitarian concerns. It will not lead to greater protection of civilians and refugees in the safe areas. Rather it will lead to further violence against them.

While I agree that the international efforts of the United Nations have faltered in recent months, I do not believe that lifting the arms embargo is the appropriate response. To be honest, short of full scale military intervention, no one in the international community has a comprehensive solution to ending the conflict in Bosnia. Although some may see lifting the arms embargo as the only solution right now, it does not get us any closer to finding a comprehensive solution or to bringing the war to a close.

It is still my opinion that the only way to end the war in Bosnia is to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear against the Serbs and their allies. We must begin by making a greater effort to cut off Serbian access to arms - only by choking off their ability to conduct the war in Bosnia will we be able to bring them to the negotiating table.

Again, I return to my original question: what is our goal in lifting the arms embargo? What are we trying to achieve? I do not believe anyone in this body truly believes that any kind of humanitarian or peace-bringing goal is accomplished by this ill-fated action. For that reason, I will once again oppose this legislation.


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