If you ever get to Belgrade Zoo, don’t miss the snake house. There, in nicely heated tanks, you will see two rather fearsome-looking pythons, one named Warren and the other Madeleine. The names of Bill Clinton’s secretaries of state – Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright – will not be forgotten quickly in the capital of the former Yugoslavia. Seeing the two pythons slithering in their tanks reminded me of the murderous foreign policy of the Clinton administration and the enthusiastic support it received from New Labour.
For amid the present furore over the no-show of Iraqi WMDs, let us remember that in Kosovo our humanitarian Prime Minister dragged this country into an illegal, US-sponsored war on grounds which later proved to be fraudulent. In 2003 Tony’s Big Whopper was that Saddam’s WMDs ‘could be activated within 45 minutes’. In 1999 it was that Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia was ‘set on a Hitler-style genocide equivalent to the extermination of the Jews during World War Two’.
Clare Short now complains that the Prime Minister ‘duped’ the public over the non-existent Iraqi threat. But four years ago, Short and her fellow Cabinet resigner Robin Cook were enthusiastic collaborators in Blair’s equally squalid campaign to ‘dupe’ the British public over Kosovo. Cook’s role in the war on Yugoslavia was described by the late Auberon Waugh as a ‘national disgrace’. A closer examination of the part played by the former foreign secretary in the military conflict makes you wonder why he too did not end up commemorated in a Belgrade snake house.
Consider his role in the farcical ‘peace negotiations’ at Rambouillet – the successful conclusion of which Washington and London desired as much as they wanted Hans Blix’s weapons inspectors to be able to complete their mission in Iraq.