West ties its own hands
No one in Washington or London suggests that the Chechen victims of Russian bombs are less deserving of sympathy than the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo. Yet western reaction to the two crises has been entirely different, writes Julian Borger.
Observer - Saturday November 6, 1999
FONT face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size=3> There is no suggestion that Nato will send troops to the Caucasus, nor is there a chance Washington will embrace the Chechen Muslim rebels as it did the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Even in congress there is hardly any talk of economic sanctions against Moscow.

The contrast between responses to the two cases proves, quite simply, that size matters, even in this supposed new era of humanitarian intervention.

Furthermore, the orthodoxy in Washington and London is that Boris Yeltsin represents a democratic bastion against rampant Russian nationalism - while with Serbia's leaders it is the other way round.

The fighters are also seen differently. The KLA was seen as representing a moderate, secular and European form of Islam. The Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev has called for a holy war.

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