In publishing so prominently the May 27 op-ed article by Viktor Chernomyrdin, former prime minister of Russia and special envoy for Kosovo, The Post reaffirmed its standing as a great newspaper. Now I hope President Clinton will read the article very carefully and grasp the significance of the points it makes.
Mr. Chernomyrdin is right on the money throughout. His writes that "just as Soviet tanks trampling on the Prague Spring in 1968 finally shattered the myth of the socialist regime's merits, so the United States lost its moral right to be regarded as a leader of the free democratic world when its bombs on Yugoslavia shattered the ideals of liberty and democracy."
Extravagant? No. Unfortunately true. No amount of sanctimonious rhetoric can hide the fact that the United States and its NATO partners attacked a sovereign country that had not committed aggression against any one of them. This was a clear violation of international law. Slobodan Milosevic is certainly guilty of pushing the Kosovo Albanians out of their homes, but one cannot help thinking that this did not reach catastrophic proportions until the international observers were withdrawn from Kosovo and the bombs began to fall.
The president should note Mr. Chernomyrdin's closing remarks: "Unless the raids stop soon, I shall advise Russia's president to suspend Russian participation in the negotiating process, put an end to all military-technological cooperation with the United States and Western Europe, put off the ratification of START II and use Russia's veto as the United Nations debates a resolution on Yugoslavia."
Is this really in the interest of the United States? It will be in our and in NATO's interest to set aside the current euphoria of arrogance and proceed with the basic terms of a fair agreement:
Suspend the bombing, provided Mr. Milosevic begins the withdrawal of the Serb army from Kosovo.
The Kosovars should return under the protection of an international peace-keeping force that does not need to have NATO forces at its core once the Serb army is out.
Solemnly recognize that an autonomous Kosovo is part of Serbia.
Stop any military assistance and encouragement to the Kosovo guerrillas, the KLA.
Pledge economic assistance for the recovery of the devastated areas.
That would be an honorable solution for all sides. And let us stop talking about prosecuting Mr. Milosevic as a war criminal. After all, attacking a sovereign state and killing innocent civilians could be viewed by some as a war crime.
D. G. KOUSOULAS