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Just a friendly dash to the airport gets some Brit thinking he's about to start WW3. Anyway, the situation was eventually resolved, mostly in favour of NATO.
He served in the NATO chain of command as a deputy to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Wesley Clark. In this capacity, he is best known for refusing, in June 1999, to block the runways of the Russian-occupied Pristina Airport, to isolate the Russian troops there. Had he complied with General Clark's order, there was a chance the British troops under his command could have come into armed conflict with the Russians; doing this without prior orders from Britain would have led to his dismissal for gross insubordination. On the other hand, defying Clark would have meant disobeying a direct order from a superior NATO officer (Clark was a four-star general; Jackson only a three-star). Jackson ultimately chose the latter course of action, reputedly saying "I won't start World War III for you", though the point became irrelevant when the American government prevailed upon the Hungarians, Romanians, and Bulgarians to prevent the Russians from using their airspace to fly reinforcements in.
Details of Russia's surprise occupation of Pristina airport at the end of the Kosovo war are revealed in a new BBC documentary on the conflict.
But to recap, there never was an order to open fire. That's four or five steps down some hypothetical scenario.
You don't start WW3 by seeking diplomatic solutions. You start it by firing on the enemy.
The occupation of the airport was an aggressive move by Russia after they felt they had been double-crossed in the negotiations. Clark wanted to prevent it. The WW3 part is a personal estimation of Jackson that the situation would get out of hand. Clark and Solana had a different view. But the troops in the area were mainly British.
The Russian move was aggressive? Interesting you don't qualify NATO's moves as being aggressive. The Russians, who were instrumental in negotiating a deal between NATO and Milosevic, had an agreement with NATO that they would "deploy" their forces in the North of Kosovo. To thank the Russians for their mediation, NATO later reneged on this agreement (surprising of such a worthy organization).
The Russian move was aggressive? Interesting you don't qualify NATO's moves as being aggressive.
The occupation of the airport was an aggressive move by Russia after they felt they had been double-crossed in the negotiations.
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