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U.S. Warns of Security Threat in Yugoslav War : Balkans: Scowcroft signals that the Administration is inching toward possible military intervention.

June 23, 1992|DOYLE McMANUS and MICHAEL ROSS | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Lugar, an influential voice in foreign affairs, has urged the Administration to begin contingency planning for the dispatch of U.S. forces to Bosnia under a United Nations and NATO umbrella.

Lugar, however, admitted that many senators still share the Administration's caution about intervention in Bosnia, where the military situation is liable to be far more complex than it was in Kuwait.

"The senators I talk to are all agonizing over the humanitarian problems there, over the number of people who are starving, but the majority are, to say the least, cautious about authorizing the use of force and the follow-up U.S. role," Lugar said in an interview Monday.

"A lot of people are telling me that they admire my leadership on this issue but that they are not sure they are ready to follow me over the hill," he added.

The Senate has already passed a non-binding resolution, sponsored by Levin, urging the United Nations to consider military intervention in Yugoslavia. But a use-of-force resolution similar to the one that Congress passed on the eve of the Persian Gulf War would have a tough time passing unless it became clear that the Europeans, through NATO, were willing to take the lead in any military intervention that might ensue, a senior Foreign Relations Committee aide said.

"This is going to be a real test for NATO and whether it is going to be anything more than a chowder and marching society in years to come," the source added. "If NATO cannot respond to this crisis, then the people around here who appropriate the money are going to start asking themselves why we are spending so much on the organization."

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