Grbavica after war

Remember Bosnia?

When was the last time you heard a European leader speak about Bosnia-Herzogovina?

Well, today, the state that was created in 1995 on Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio held elections at a time that is as close to becoming failed-state as it has been since the brutal wars of the early 1990s.

The 1995 Dayton Accords created a federalized state divided into two major parts: the Republika Srpska (as the name indicates made up predominately ethnic Serbs) and the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (made up of mostly Croats and Bosnian Muslims). In doing so, the West gave each of the regions significant autonomy, and (
(surprise!), they are now not so willing to give up some of that autonomy — in fact they want more.

The main roadblock for Bosnia to become a functioning nation-state are reforms to the constitution that would actually give the capital, Sarajevo, full control over all its territory. Is that likely to happen?

Well, not if you ask Milorad Dodik, the leader of the Union of Independent Social Democrats (SSND), the main Serb party — whose campaign motto is “Srpska for ever.”

“It means exactly what it says: the Serb Republic is a permanent thing,” he told the Financial Times. “Bosnia-Herzegovina has proved to be an impossible state. And if it can’t function under the terms of the Dayton peace treaty, then we [Serbs] will pursue our own strategy.”

It seems Bosnia’s Serbs may eventually achieve their original objective from the early 1990s (albeit through peaceful means). Wasn’t it their goal to create their own state which could eventually become allied with, or a physical part of, Serbia-proper? Wouldn’t that mean that despite 15 years and tons of European Union (and American ) money and effort, that result is that the Bosnian-Serbs (NATO’s opponent in the war) ended up achieving their objective?

So it seems a place where Europe was slow to intervene is also a place Europeans lost interest. Czech troops (and others) are being pulled out of Kosovo, does a similar, divided this nascent state face a similarly divided future? And what will become of Afghanistan when Europe and the United States lose interest there?

What does this say (in particular when referring to the former Yugoslavia) about the long-term prospects for the 1990s and early-21st Century philosophy of liberal interventionism?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*