The scene inside Belgrade's White Palace, home of Serbian kings, had a distinct quality of irrationality.
The special American envoy, Richard Holbrooke, had flown to Belgrade to deliver an ultimatum to Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic. But Milosevic was in no mood to compromise. He would defy the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the mightiest military alliance in the world. He would not sign a proposed NATO peace treaty for the war-torn Serb province of Kosovo that would mean accepting foreign soldiers on Serbian soil.
"Look, are you absolutely clear in your own mind what will happen when I get up and walk out...