Friday, April 3, 2009

Breaking Out of Bosnia's Stalemate

I have a new piece up at The American Prospect website today about the seemingly interminable political stalemate in Bosnia and how to resolve it.

The Dayton Peace Agreements that ended Bosnia's vicious three-sided war have always had their critics -- and those critics have not always been wrong. Agreements whose sole aim is to end killing aren't always the best foundation for building a nation. And even 10 plus years have not knit the warring parties back into a cohesive nation. So the impulse to rewrite or tear up the agreements is getting stronger.

The Dayton Agreements have also been tested sorely by external factors -- including the grant of independence to Kosovo last year. Bosnia Serbs are asking why they don't have a right to self-determination and secession. There are a lot of good reasons why -- including a moral revulsion at cementing territorial gains made by ethnic cleansing. But the grant of independence to Kosovo has renewed the question in Republika Srpska.

The United States has so much on its plate right now that it is likely not seeking to re-involve itself in Bosnia's politics. But if there is going to be a rewrite or renegotiation of Dayton, the U.S. will need to play a major role in knocking heads to get it done.

No comments: