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Pros and Cons of Balkan Intervention

Exercises 3 & 4

3.Read Case 8.1 (Pros and Cons of Balkan Intervention), which is drawn from an editorial in the Los Angeles Times. Use the argument-mapping procedures presented in this chapter to analyze the pros and cons (or strengths and weaknesses) of the recommendation that the United States should not intervene in the Balkans. In doing this exercise, either display the elements of argument with Microsoft Draw or use Rationale, the special computer program for mapping the structure of policy arguments.

4.Write a one-page analysis in which you assess the overall plausibility of the claim “The conflict in Bosnia is somebody else’s trouble. The United States should not intervene militarily.” Prepare an argument map and hand it in with your one-page analysis.

Must the agony of Bosnia-Herzegovina be regarded, with whatever regrets, as somebody else’s trouble? We don’t think so, but the arguments on behalf of that view deserve an answer. Among them are the following:


CASE 8.1

■The Balkan conflict is a civil war and unlikely to spread beyond the borders of the former Yugoslavia. Wrong. Belgrade has missiles trained on Vienna. Tito’s Yugoslavia claimed, by way of Macedonia, that northern Greece as far south as Thessaloniki belonged under its sovereignty. Those claims may return. “Civil” war pitting non-Slavic Albanians against Serbs could spread to Albania, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece.

■The United States has no strategic interest in the Balkans. Wrong. No peace, no peace dividend. Unless the West can impose the view that ethnic puriy can no longer be the basis for national sovereignty, then endless national wars will replace the Cold War. This threat has appeared in genocidal form in Bosnia. If it cannot be contained here, it will erupt elsewhere, and the Clinton administration’s domestic agenda will be an early casualty.

■If the West intervenes on behalf of the Bosnians, the Russians will do so on behalf of the Serbs, and the Cold War will be reborn. Wrong. The Russians have more to fear from “ethnic cleansing” than any people on Earth. Nothing would reassure them better than a new, post-Cold War Western policy of massive, early response against the persecution of national minorities, including the Russian minorities found in every post-Soviet republic. The Russian right may favor the Serbs, but Russian self-interest lies elsewhere.

■The Serbs also have their grievances. Wrong. They do, but their way of responding to these grievances, according to the State Department’s annual human rights report, issued this past week, “dwarfs anything seen in Europe since Nazi times.” Via the Genocide Convention, armed intervention is legal as well as justified.

■The UN peace plan is the only alternative. Wrong. Incredibly, the plan proposes the reorganization of Bosnia-Herzegovina followed by a cease-fire. A better first step would be a UN declaration that any nation or ethnic group proceeding to statehood on the principle of ethnic puriy is an outlaw state and will be treated as such. As now drafted, the UN peace plan, with a map of provinces that not one party to the conflict accepts, is really a plan for continued ‘ethnic cleansing.’”


 8.Return to Figure 5.2 and consider the following criteria for prescription:

a.Maximize effectiveness at least cost [Note: Be careful—this is a tricky question].

b.Maximize effectiveness at a fixed cost of $10,000.

c.Minimize costs at a fixed-effectiveness level of 4,000 units of service.

d.Achieve a fixed-effectiveness level of 6,000 units of service at a fixed cost of $20,000.

e.Assuming that each unit of service has a market price of $10, maximize net benefits.

f.Again assuming that each unit of service has a market price of $10, maximize the ratio of benefits to costs.

Indicate which of the two main programs (program I and program II) should be selected under each of these criteria, and describe the conditions under which each criterion may be an adequate measure of the achievement of objectives.



Return to Chapter 1 and reread Case 1.1 (Saving Lives and Saving Time). Then read Case 5.1 (Opportunity Costs of Saving Lives—The 55 mph Speed Limit) below. Prepare a short analysis in which you answer these questions:

■What assumptions govern estimates of the value of time lost driving? Are some assumptions more tenable than others? Why?

■What is the best way to estimate the value of time? Justify your answer.

■What is the best way to estimate the cost of a gallon of gasoline? Justify your answer.

■Driving speeds and miles per gallon estimates may be based on official statistics on highway traffic from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy or on engineering studies of the efficiency of gasoline engines. Which is the more reliable? Why? What are the consequences of using one source rather than another?

■What is the value of a life saved? Explain.

■Which policy is preferable, the 55 mph speed limit or the 65 mph limit that was abandoned in 1994?

CASE 1.1

When advanced technologies are used to achieve policy goals, sociotechnical systems of considerable complexity is created. Although it is analytically tempting to prepare a comprehensive economic analysis of the costs and benefits of such policies, most practicing analysts do not have the time or the resources to do so. Given the time constraints of policy making, many analyses are completed in a period of several days to a month, and in most cases policy analyses do not involve the collection and analysis of new data. Early on in a project, policy makers and their staffs typically want an overview of the problem situation and the potential impacts of alternative policies. Under these circumstances, the scorecard is appropriate.

The Goeller scorecard, named after Bruce Goeller of the RAN D Corporation, is appropriate for this purpose. Table C1.1 shows the impacts of alternative transportation systems. Some of the impacts involve transportation services used by members of the community, whereas others involve impacts on low-income groups. In this case, as Quade observes, the large number of diverse impacts are difficult to value in dollar terms, making a benefit-cost analysis impractical and even impossible.50 Other impacts involve financial and economic questions such as investments, jobs created, sales, and tax revenues. Other impacts are distributional because they involve the differential effects of transportation. ■



Passengers (million miles)749
Per trip time (hours)21.52.5
Per trip cost ($)$17$28$20
Reduced congestion (%)0%5%10%
Investment ($ millions)$150$200$200
Annual subsidy ($ millions)0090
Added jobs (thousands)2025100
Added sales ($millions)5088500
Noise (households)10120
Added air pollution (%)3%9%1%
Petroleum savings (%)0%−20%30%
Displaced households020500
Taxes lost ($millions)00.22
Landmarks destroyedNoneNoneFort X
Low-income trips (%)7%1%20%
Low-income household
Noise annoyance (%)2%16%40%

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