Special Report: The Worldwide Consequences of American Indecision in Bosnia

By Fleischer, Cornell H.; Korkut, Edib | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 3, 1992 | Go to article overview

Special Report: The Worldwide Consequences of American Indecision in Bosnia


Fleischer, Cornell H., Korkut, Edib, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Special Report: The Worldwide Consequences of American Indecision in Bosnia

The genocidal horrors of Serbian nationalism in Bosnia-Hercegovina have begun to stimulate the public conscience in the United States. But the Bosnian disaster has provoked little genuine soul-searching in the world's last superpower. Our anguish over humanitarian issues, while morally laudable, diverts us from attending to the deeper question of what sorts of social structures we will promote, tolerate or legitimize in the 21st century, and for whom. The United States and its Western European allies shrug helplessly in the face of a conflict represented as an ethnic one that can be solved only by containment or by acquiescence to Serbian-created facts.

The American decision on what to do about Bosnia and Hercegovina, however, is really a decision about the sort of world we wish to live in. It is a decision that requires us to examine our commitment to what we call our democratic ideals.

Are these ideals parochial ones, just for us, or are we prepared to commit ourselves to effect the universality we, and others, impute to them? Bosnians--Slavic Muslims, Catholic Croatians, and Christian Orthodox Serbs--have rejected the ethnic nationalism of Serbian extremists who insist that Serbs cannot live in a state that is not ethnically homogeneous. Americans, by and large, have rejected the same notion. It is the Bosnian vision of a democratic society in which citizenship, not religion or ethnicity, is the guarantor of social and political rights that is the modern one.

The Soviet collapse revealed to Americans a new world of ethnic and national rivalries, daily described as venerable, immemorial, and insoluble. They are far from being so. What we see in the former Soviet Union, and in Eastern Europe, is the horrifying product of a recent invention, the nationalism of the 19th and early 20th century that tied newly constructed ethnicities to territories and made the monopolization of land and coercion the first goal of the nation state. This formulation of the nation, exemplified by current Serbian demands and excesses, is at once historically shallow and antiquated.

The Serbian desire to divide Bosnia into ethnic enclaves is the same logic that dictates segregation and apartheid. The version of democracy the U.S. seems prepared to tolerate in Bosnia, if applied to Los Angeles, would say that there will always be tension between African, Asian, Hispanic and Caucasian Americans and that the only response to rioting is to let them fight it out-until the television images cross the line from expected and acceptable levels of violence to unacceptable savagery. At that point, the population of the metropolis would be shifted and resettled into ethnically homogeneous enclaves with configurations determined by which ethnicity had the most firepower and most intimidating tactics.

For Us, But Not Others?

This is not the democracy we accept for our own society.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Special Report: The Worldwide Consequences of American Indecision in Bosnia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.