Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Polity on the Brink

Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Polity on the Brink

Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Polity on the Brink

Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Polity on the Brink

Synopsis

Emerging from communism in the early 1990s, the new state of Bosnia and Herzegovina was immediately embroiled in devastating ethnonationalist conflict. Now an international protectorate, the choices of its elites may well propel Bosnia either to a stable future, integrated into an expanding European entity, or to a future filled with insecurity, conflict, and adversity. This volume assesses current conditions in Bosnia, as well as the prospects for stability in a country torn between nationalistic elites on the one hand and the desires of important regional actors for control of Bosnia on the other, with a fractious international community overseeing the matter. Friedman controversially denies that the wars of Yugoslavia's dissolution are a necessary product of ancient ethnic hatreds, contending that Bosnia and Herzegovina was once the quintessentially multiethnic, multireligious community and could be again. Containing chapters on the country's history, economics, international relations and politics, this book provides social scientists with an accessible overview of contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Excerpt

The viability of Bosnia as a legitimate and sovereign state is widely questioned. Bosnia's economy and social life have been devastated by war. Differential rates of natural increase and rural-urban and inter-state migration have influenced, and not always positively, Bosnia's social structure. Its political life has been dominated by nationalistic parties held in check by external international actors. This volume assesses the current conditions in Bosnia as well as future prospects for stability in a country torn between nationalistic elites on the one hand and the desires of important regional actors (Croatia and Serbia, in particular) for control of Bosnia on the other, with a fractious international community overseeing the whole matter.

Composing this book has been difficult for many reasons, both personal and professional, not least of which is observation of the exceedingly slow progress made by Bosnia toward becoming a viable, democratic nation-state. However, the challenge did bring some pleasure, as I have been able to discuss Bosnia with many insightful and knowledgeable people, whose views and perspectives inform these pages, both overtly as well as subliminally. A number of people have been particularly generous with their time and their ideas: James Gow read and commented on early portions and versions of the manuscript. I have also benefited from discussions about various aspects of this volume with John B. Allcock, Robin Alison Remington, Mustafa Imamović, Šaćir Filandra, Jacques Paul Klein, Haris Silajdšić, Robert Donia, Dubravko Lovrenovi, Jakob Finci, John Clark, Tadej Labernik, and Boris Tihi. I alone am responsible for any errors of fact or interpretation in this book. My publisher, Routledge, has been most tolerant by granting me extensions to the deadline for finishing this volume. I am very grateful. Part of the research for this book was conducted at the Library of Congress and was facilitated by the staff of the European Reading Room.

Finally, moral support was provided during the writing and research of this book by my family, without whose encouragement and willingness to turn a blind eye to my acts of omission on the home front would have

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