Bosnia & Herzegovina

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Patrice C. McMahon and Jon Western

In an update to their 2009 Foreign Affairs article, "The Death of Dayton," McMahon and Western write that Mladic's recent arrest is an opportunity for the international community to renew its commitment to the Balkans.

Essay, Sep/Oct 2009
Patrice C. McMahon and Jon Western

Bosnia was once a poster child for successful postwar reconstruction; today, it is on the verge of collapse. The 1995 Dayton accord ended a war, but it also created a fractured polity ripe for exploitation by ethnic chauvinists. 

Essay, May/Jun 2003
Gary J. Bass

Yugoslavia's former tyrant now sits in the dock facing charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Serving as his own counsel, Slobodan Milosevic rages against NATO conspiracies and victor's justice. But these courtroom antics cannot detract from the trial's great achievements: revealing the truth about Milosevic's role in the Balkan wars and removing him from Serbian politics once and for all.

Review Essay, Jul/Aug 2001
Richard K. Betts

In Waging Modern War, General Wesley Clark describes how NATO bested Serbia -- just barely -- in the organization's first-ever shooting war. With confused priorities, a reluctant military, and overweening lawyers, the alliance was scarcely up to the task.

Essay, Nov/Dec 1999
Benn Steil and Susan L. Woodward

Peace in the Balkans depends on economic stability and prosperity for all. To overcome the legacies of failed economic reforms and ethnic strife, southeastern Europe needs nothing short of a European "New Deal." Sound money and free trade can take root in the Balkans only if the EU expands the euro and its trade arrangements to the region promptly, with no strings attached. But the EU's current approach, which attaches conditions to membership in its elite clubs, falls far short.

Essay, Nov/Dec 1999
Ivo H. Daalder and Michael B.G. Froman

War-ravaged Bosnia has come a long way since the 1995 Dayton Accord. But Bosnia's stability rests on the West's large-scale involvement. Integration remains an unfulfilled hope. When foreign aid tapers off, as it soon will, Bosnia's economy will grind to a halt without major reforms. The world should safeguard Dayton's biggest success -- ending Europe's bloodiest war since World War II -- but hand Bosnia's political and economic future back to Bosnians.

Essay, Sep/Oct 1998
Warren Bass

Somehow the Americans went from claiming they did not have a dog in the Bosnia fight to redrawing the map of the Balkans over Scotch with the ruthless Slobodan Milosevi,c. But the Dayton Accord that ended Bosnia's war has been oversold. It is the product not of Wilsonian idealism but of a reluctant realpolitik. Had Washington intervened in 1993, as Bill Clinton promised to, 100,000 lives could have been saved. Dayton has strengthened the two nastiest dictators in the region, Serbia's Milosevi,c and Croatia's Franjo Tudjman, and edged toward accepting the de facto partition of Bosnia. The violence in Kosovo today is a reminder of the costs of appeasing aggressors.

Review Essay, May/Jun 1998
Roger Cohen

Richard Holbrooke's gripping memoir shows how he improvised a makeshift peace in what was left of Bosnia despite a timorous Pentagon, a reluctant president, waweirding allies, and brutal ethnic cleansers. But the Dayton Accord came too late.

Essay, Jan/Feb 1998
Charles G. Boyd

The Dayton Accord is a bold attempt to create a nation in the face of ethnic hatred and fear, and it just may succeed-but only if U.S. troops stay and the coalition overseeing the peace puts the security of Muslims, Serbs, and Croats before their integration. For now, each group feels safe only with their own kind, and their self-created partition should be allowed to stand while the trauma of war fades. Material need and the desire for profit may bring the three peoples together in time. Meanwhile, the international community must rectify the gross disparity between the reconstruction aid and military supplies flowing to the Muslims and the crumbs and punitive attitude that are the Serbs' lot.

Essay, Jan/Feb 1998
Gideon Rose

Despite disagreements over troops in Bosnia, all sides want an exit strategy. That concept, however, dating back only to the ignominious U.S. withdrawal from Somalia, has nothing to do with military requirements and everything to do with post-Cold War politics. Exit strategies harm a mission's chances of success, and had they been required the United States would not have defended the armistice after the Korean War, kept the peace on the Sinai Peninsula after Camp David, or undertaken NATO. The real question is not when American troops will be out, but why they are going in.

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