In the miasma of violence that followed the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the Bosnian war (1992–95) offered the most sharply outlined instance of its excesses, because it was, in its purpose and effect, ethnic cleansing. Radovan Karadzic, then the leader of the Bosnian Serbs and the president of the Republika Srpska, made that clear in 1992, when he articulated six “strategic goals” in the unfolding Bosnian tragedy. Although the forces under the Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic and their auxiliary elements were not the only guilty parties (the Croatian military and the Bosnian government forces share in the blame), they were more responsible than any other group for driving two million Bosnians from their homes, an effort that was intended to shatter Bosnia’s basic form and redraw it along ethnoterritorial lines. They largely succeeded. As the authors of Bosnia Remade demonstrate in their painstaking assessment of the 1995 Dayton accord, which was designed to reverse this success, although sizable numbers of the displaced have recovered their homes or been compensated, the more fundamental imprint of the war persists in the attitudes prevalent in the country’s now-partitioned parts. What gives perspective to the authors’ analysis is the long haul of history in which they situate it.
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