Advice on Kosovo

June 28 1999 / October 13 1999

Note 1
This page was developed starting in the second week of the bombings of Yugoslavia and Kosovo.
During the 70 days of bombing, this page got a prominent position on my home page.
Now that the situation is returning to normal, the page can go to a less prominent position,
and remain as a case study material for economics ethics.
Note that I originally classified the page as an 'opinion' page. I don't have any professional
experience with Yugoslavia or Kosovo, and my position is that Europe's Prime Ministers should step down,
which might seem more of an opinion and a preference (for decency) rather than a hard result of economic science.
Clearly, I now have to explain why an opinion can suddenly become 'economics ethics'.
Well, these texts are only 'data' or 'evidence' for an economics ethics discussion. Data are not science itself.
So, while the texts here are not science, economists who study economics ethics
may still use these texts to study how an economics background might have affected the opinion.
The point is that an economist has some professional training on the relation of means to ends.
Political Economy is the science of the management of the state, and, as 'war is the
continuation of policy with different means', economics has something to say on war.
This background may affect the formation of opinion differently than, say, a background in biology.


Note 2
We can rightly demand that the irresponsible NATO politicians step down.
It helps to clearly distinguish between (1) the period up to the unlegal and stupid bombing of Yugoslavia,
(2) the period before the peace, with more than a million people on the run, (3) the period with the peace settlement.
What is annoying is that this distinction between periods gets lost in the public debate,
while it is crucial for clarity in allocating the responsibilities.
Note 3
Currently the internet is a quagmire of raw data and opinions, but hardly a decision making tool.
Many people are lost, while the net should help them to make the right choices.
Others are misguided, while the net should trigger them to rethink.
This is not about changing preferences, but getting the logic right and the information sound.
One wonders why governments have not yet created such facilities on the net.
In the mean time, let's use the old fashioned method of reasoned statements by individuals.

My advice

Enable Russia to help itself, ewp-get/9604004
Summary of the solution to unemployment, 1997
Will the West repeat Versailles ?, ewp-get/9808002
Europe's prime ministers should step down on Kosovo, April 4 & 6 1999
They hold us for fools, April 17 & 20 1999
Thoughts and suggestions for a Kosovo peace settlement, April 18 & 19 1999
Getting it right (After the Kosovo peace settlement), June 13 1999


Economists Allied For Arms Reduction (ECAAR)

Statement by ECAAR board members on Kosovo May 7 1999 (see ECAAR for the PDF document, I have taken the liberty to make this html copy here)
ECAAR's page (James Galbraith, Jurgen Brauer)

Selected links to other economists

Paul Krugman's comments April 1 1999
Telegram of the Dutch association of Economists for Peace to prime minister Wim Kok
(of UN Security Council member The Netherlands)

Selected texts from the media

Eyal and Sharp in the Los Angeles Times March 25 1999
Kosovo's slippery slope, George Kenney, InTheseTimes April 11 1999
Ten reasons to stop the war against Serbia, by Thomas Mertens NRC April 16 1999
"A non-Western view gets you further", interview Rob de Wijk by Toine Heijmans, De Volkskrant April 17 1999
Milosevic's hidden agenda in the Kosovo crisis, Michael Salla, the Star Ledger April 1999

Not on the internet

Compliments to the BBC I for the documentary in the late evening of April 19.
And to BBC for good reporting in general.


Relevant for the context

A constitutional amendment for an Economic Supreme Court, ewp-get/9604003
Root of human suffering, E. Wayne Nafziger, Financial Times January 21 1998
This international economic crisis was unnecessary, William Pfaff, IHT 990301
Testimony on human rights, Harold Hongju Koh 990226

 Essential reading


Just to make sure

With Milosevic an obvious war criminal, we should not forget that Kosovar politicians haven't been playing it straight either.
See Kjell Magnusson (multiethnic studies)


Other Kosovo watch pages
Peace research
ABC news


How not to go about it

An amazingly belligerent The Economist April 17-23rd

Let us please remember the legacy of Jan Tinbergen