Peace at Any Price: How the World Failed Kosovo

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Peace at Any Price: How the World Failed Kosovo

By Iain King and Whit Mason
Cornell University Press, 2006
303 pp. $27.95
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The aim in winning the peace following the 1999 Kosovo war was stated early and often: "to transform Kosovo into a society in which all its members could live in security and dignity." But that is not what has happened. Why not? Because it was a wrong war? No, say the authors. Because the mission was too much for the international community? No again. Because the wrong people were in charge? Once more, no. Rather, because too little was understood about the obstacles, too little was provided for the mission early on, too little was done to overcome the inevitable disunity among multiple agencies, too unrealistic was the timeframe. The authors end with ten lessons, among them: security before democracy, focus less on ending wars than establishing a just and sustainable peace, the "overall vision is more important than detailed objectives," and "a mission must be prepared to assert its authority from day one."

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