In This Review

Europe and the Recognition of New States in Yugoslavia
Europe and the Recognition of New States in Yugoslavia
By Richard Caplan
Cambridge University Press, 2005, 240 pp

Germany's precipitous recognition of Croatian independence in December 1991 is commonly assumed to have worsened matters. Caplan steps back from this narrow formulation to assess recognition as a tool used by the Europeans, individually and collectively, to stem the violence under way in Croatia and head it off elsewhere. He carefully reconstructs the manner in which recognition was conditioned and then differentially applied in the cases of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Kosovo. Along the way, in very thoughtful fashion, he considers how the strategic use of recognition fits with standard practice, broadly with international law, and still more broadly with theories of international relations. As for recognition's effect in the Yugoslav case, the verdict seems to be that it did less harm than supposed but far less good than hoped -- largely because the Europeans were lax in insisting on the realization of the conditions they had set and unwilling to complement the strategy with steps that might have given it teeth.