The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Conflict and International Intervention

In This Review

The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Conflict and International Intervention

by Steven L. Burg and Paul S. Shoup
M. E. Sharpe, 1999
512 pp. $49.95
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Two long-time students of Yugoslavia provide a detailed history of the Bosnian war, including its background, conduct, termination, and aftermath. They focus on when and how the outside world should intervene to thwart such conflicts, but only after describing at length Bosnia's own descent into war. They strive throughout to be fair to all sides but do not shun moral judgments. Like other analysts before them, the lion's share of blame goes to nationalist Serb forces in Bosnia and the leaders in Serbia who cultivated them. For all, however, there is blame aplenty to go around. Could it all have been prevented? Maybe, the authors answer, but only if the great powers had invested themselves two years before, when the 1990 Yugoslav elections had not yet been won by nationalists committed to mutually irreconcilable objectives. The last chance came on the eve of violence in 1991, when the great powers, led by the United States, could have deemed the stakes worthy of expensive political and military commitments. Tragically, they did not.