February 11, 1993
To the Editor:
The Vance-Owen Plan, Mr. Rosenthal naively places so much faith in "The Crime of Vance and Owen" (Feb. 5, 1993), is nothing less than asking the legitimate Bosnian government to liquidate itself. The Boston President Izetbegovic, acutely aware of Cyrus Vance's recent and past performances, is rightly skeptical not to trust him.
In Croatia, the only effect the Vance Accord and UNPROFOR's deployment had during the past year was to consolidate Serb positions. Not one stipulation of the Accord has been realized.
Perpetuating a mythology Rebecca West helped create in "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon", Rosenthal misconceptions should be corrected. Although true for the rest of the Balkans, the Croats and the Serbs never engaged in tribal war and did not have a "mutual hate" nor have been "Killing each other for centuries".
To be sure, there had been many battles in the region, but they were between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Invariably the Croats always fought with the Europeans, whereas the Serbs frequently fought on the side of the Ottomans. Prior to 1918, there had been a remarkable symbiosis between the two groups. Their first armed conflict occurred during World War II.
In the last days of the Bush administration "honorable" Vance secured a promise from Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, not to let Izetbegovic meet with the administration to present his case. Only after their "General Agreement" became known publicly, Eagleburger allowed the meeting to take place. Recently, Vance commented about Milosevic- a man who broke over 40 peace agreements in Croatia-"A man to keep his word."
Perhaps Mr. Rosenthal has inside information but no one has advocated defeating or smashing Serbia as he stated.