A year ago the seven leading industrial nations used their annual economic summit to call for the use of force if that's what it took to end the terrible bloodshed in Bosnia.
This week those same seven nations backed off from that tough stand, offering beleaguered Bosnia only moral and verbal support.Though this switch is deeply disappointing, it's hard to blame the seven leaders meeting this week in Tokyo when the entire United Nations can't or won't come to grips with the continuing tragedy in the former Yugoslavia.
But just because the international community shrinks from using military muscle in Bosnia, that's no excuse for its failure to exercise sufficient moral muscle there.
We're referring to the recent cutback in food and other assistance to Bosnia for no better reason than that contributing countries are starting to suffer from "donor fatigue."
That's the word this week from the London Observer News Service, which reports that the U.N. High Commission for Refugees is cutting food for the 380,000 residents of besieged Sarajevo by 20 per cent and food for more than 1.4 million people in Bosnia-Herzegovina by half.
As a result, Bosnia faces a shortfall of 158,000 tons of food for July and August. Unless donor nations - particularly the foot-dragging Europeans - act soon, Bosnia is in for another devastating winter. Last winter some 5,000 people died of hunger and cold in northern and eastern Bosnia.
That tragedy must not be repeated.
Yes, Bosnian Serbs often choke off relief shipments to a mere trickle. But such obstacles have been overcome before with persistence and can be surmounted again.
If various governments can't or won't do the job, private relief organizations should try to take up the slack. Individuals wanting to help can always contribute funds to the American Red Cross, which has long been helping to provide food, clothing and medical supplies to a variety of trouble spots around the world.
Meanwhile, by failing to stem the bloodshed in Bosnia, the United Nations and the seven leading industrial nations have forfeited much of their moral authority. They must not forfeit even more credibility by failing to stem starvation there, too.