Monday, May 17, 1999 Published at 22:44 GMT 23:44 UK
Ground troops or no ground troops?
Pressure is growing to send in ground troops
By Paul Reynolds in Washington
The issue is back on the agenda.
At what stage should Nato be prepared to send ground troops into Kosovo to "finish the job"?
If we are, then the answer is that Nato does not intend to fight a ground war.
The United States would have to take the lead and right at the start of the air war, President Clinton said he was not going to send American troops into battle on the ground.
That remains his position.
A third way
But there is a grey area between not going in to fight and not going in at all, and this is where the debate is going on.
Could a situation arise in which the Yugoslav army in Kosovo had virtually collapsed or has even begun a withdrawal?
Could Nato not seize that opportunity and make a rapid entry even in the absence of a full peace agreement?
The British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who has emerged as one of the hawks in this conflict, seems to suggest so.
This would suggest that Britain, for one, would be keen to build up Nato forces in Macedonia and Albania now, in order to prepare for a possible move into Kosovo this summer.
This would give time for the refugees to get back and rebuild some shelter at least before the winter.
Peace force for Kosovo
Mr Cook will be meeting the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington this week.
Some in the alliance are wary that a build up of troops to keep the peace in Kosovo (a concept which has always been part of Nato thinking) could, by mission creep, turn into an invasion force. And that, they don't want.
But planning for a new KFOR - Kosovo peacekeeping force - is underway.
The Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said that work in Nato started last week.
This new force would probably be bigger than the 28,000 strong force originally foreseen (and elements of which are already in Macedonia).
He also indicated that peace would have to come before the force could be moved in.
The Powell doctrine
In the meantime, Nato relies on air power alone.
This has drawn criticism from the man who won the Gulf War, retired US General Colin Powell.
The "Powell doctrine" laid down that overwhelming force should be used in pursuit of a clearly defined political objective. This, he says, has not happened in Yugoslavia.
But it is all Nato has at the moment.