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John Kasich on War & Peace

Former Republican Representative (OH-12); 2000 candidate for President


Congressional debate before sending in ground troops

[A House Bill sponsored by John Kasich] would cut off money for American ground troops unless Congress approved their deployment in advance. The bill would permit ground forces to conduct search and rescue missions. “We should avoid escalation in this conflict because the only rational and durable solution is one that is arrived at through negotiation,” said Mr. Kasich. “There are far too many unanswered questions about the use of ground troops - questions that should require full congressional debate
Source: www.k2k.org/going_on/index_rr.html “Road Reports” , May 28, 1999

Russian mediation with Milosevic instead of a ground war

Mr. Kasich argues against an escalation of the military effort in Kosovo. Instead, he wants to move to mediation with Yugoslavia, in which third parties, particularly Russia, would help work out a peaceful resolution. He wouldn’t worry about getting rid of Mr. Milosevic right now; it doesn’t make much sense to get into mediation with somebody you’re about to eliminate. “Reemphasizing our bad policy with a vigorous ratcheting up, including ground forces, is just a huge mistake,” Mr. Kasich says.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Mediate Kosovo?”, 4/21/99 , Apr 21, 1999

Should have used economic tools with rest of world

Kasich is a free-trader who supported Clinton’s bombings of terrorist sites in Afghanistan & Iraq. “You can oppose what we’ve been doing [in Kosovo] and yet not want to disengage from the world,” he says. [He argues that] Kosovo diminishes America’s ability to act in a significant number of other places where national interests are more clearly engaged. Rather than fight, he would have used “the severe economic tools” at the West’s disposal to isolate Milosevic and build up his internal opponents.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Mediate Kosovo?”, 4/21/99 , Apr 21, 1999

Russia should mediate; Congress should vote on escalation

[Kasich foresees] a future where Albanians and Serbs co-existed in Kosovo. If American officials were wise, they would consider giving Russia a role as a third party mediator, he said, a tactic that would reduce the chances for Russian alienation from the West. At the same time, though, Kasich did not go so far to say he’d vote against an escalation of US force in the region. It was most important, he said, that Congress at least be given the chance to vote on an escalation before it happened.
Source: The Concord (NH) Monitor, “Moderate pitch”, 4/18/99 , Apr 18, 1999

Maintain aggression but negotiate with Milosevic

Kasich urged a negotiated settlement to the conflict, but said the US could not pull out of the region altogether. Instead of further “ratcheting up” the fighting, he said, the US should maintain a level of aggression while making it clear it is ready to deal with Serbia, he said. To engage Serbia in talks, he said the US should even consider reducing its demands of Milosevic. For instance, the US should realize the Serbs will never accept peace if it means having NATO troops on their soil.
Source: The Concord (NH) Monitor, “Moderate pitch”, 4/18/99 , Apr 18, 1999

Ground war not in humanitarian nor international interest

[We should] examine the Kosovo crisis in light of our vital national interests, our humanitarian obligations and our enduring need for a more peaceful, stable world. [Would] military intervention resolve a centuries-old civil war in the Balkans on our terms, over the long term? If so, intervention on the ground might be worth it, assuming casualties could be minimized. I have reluctantly concluded, however, that military intervention-through air power or ground troops-is not in the national interest.
Source: NY Times, Op Ed by Kasich, April 16, 1999 , Apr 16, 1999

Goals should be: help refugees & regional development

Those who have called for ground troops have not specified the goal. Is it to take Kosovo, fortify it & occupy it for years against the Serbian threat? Is “victory” at all costs worth a bitterly hostile Russia? No one can help but be moved by the plight of the Kosovo refugees. The US has an obligation to get Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo. Just as surely, we need to help Albania and Macedonia economically. But military escalation is not the best way to achieve those goals.
Source: NY Times, Op Ed by Kasich, April 16, 1999 , Apr 16, 1999

Rambouillet goals breached sovereignty of Yugoslavia

The negotiations at Rambouillet last winter were destined to fail because both parties were expected to agree to a draft document, without substantive changes. But it was unrealistic to expect Yugoslavia to accept the presence of a NATO implementation force in Yugoslavia and the probability of independence for Kosovo after three years. A sovereign nation would probably not accept those terms. A realistic mediation needs the efforts of neutral parties.
Source: NY Times, Op Ed by Kasich, April 16, 1999 , Apr 16, 1999

Use neutral mediators; be flexible on post-war force

We need to involve the Russians, and other neutral countries, like Sweden and Ukraine. And we must actively consult with countries in the region, including Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. Should Milosevic balk at such overtures, we could still apply military pressure from the air. Once a settlement is reached, an international force may be necessary to assist the return of refugees and reconstruction. We should be more flexible about the makeup of this force than we have been in the past.
Source: NY Times, Op Ed by Kasich, April 16, 1999 , Apr 16, 1999

Make clear-cut goals and timetables, then commit

He criticized Secretary of State Madeline Albright for not articulating a clear cut goal for US involvement in Kosovo. She’s not for an independent Albanian state but also doesn’t want the Serbs to completely rule the Albanians, Kasich said. “She says she’s for stabilizing the situation and going from there,” he said. “It has to be clear, attainable.” The US must also have definitive timetables for involvement and a willingness to commit the necessary resources, he said.
Source: The Concord (NH) Monitor, “Kasich Taps In”, 3/22/99 , Mar 22, 1999

Voted YES on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

2010 Governor, House and Senate candidates on War & Peace: John Kasich on other issues:

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