James Blunt Literally Prevented the 3rd World War from Breaking Out in Kosovo in 1999
The Kosovo War ended on June 11, 1999, and a joint NATO-Russian peacekeeping force was to be installed in Kosovo. Russia had expected to receive a peacekeeping sector independent of NATO, and were angered when this was refused.
Upon hearing of the deployment, American NATO commander Wesley Clark called NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, and was told “you have to transfer authority” in the area. Clark then ordered a contingent of 500 British and French paratroopers to seize the airport by force, an order that is still debated.
Enter the man who wrote and sang “You’re Beautiful”:
British officer (later singer-songwriter) James Blunt who commanded the contingent, questioned and did not carry out this order. His delay was sanctioned by British General Mike Jackson. Jackson refused to enforce Clark’s orders, reportedly telling him “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you”.Jackson instructed the paratroopers to encircle the airport instead.
And because I’m so interested in FACT CHECKING, here’s the excerpt from James Blunt’s Wiki page:
In 1999, he served as an armoured reconnaissance officer in the NATO deployment in Kosovo. Initially assigned to reconnaissance of the Macedonia-Yugoslavia border, Blunt and his unit worked ahead of the front lines directing forces and targeting Serb positions for the NATO bombing campaign. His unit was given the assignment of securing the Pristina International Airport in advance of the 30,000-strong peacekeeping force; the Russian army had moved in and taken control of the airport before his unit’s arrival. According to Blunt’s own account of the incident he refused to follow orders from NATO command to attack the Russians.