Academic journal article Brigham Young University Law Review

Preventive Peacemaking in Macedonia: An Assessment of U.N. Good Offices Diplomacy

Academic journal article Brigham Young University Law Review

Preventive Peacemaking in Macedonia: An Assessment of U.N. Good Offices Diplomacy

Article excerpt


In March of 2001, ethnic Albanian rebels launched Macedonia1 into a violent civil conflict that made the international community hold its breath at the prospect of a new Balkan war. Until the hostilities of 2001, Macedonia had managed to remain virtually unsullied by the violent ethnic conflicts of its Balkan sister states. In part, Macedonia's success was due to recognition by the United Nations ("UN"), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe ("OSCE"), and other international actors of the fragile ethnic situation in Macedonia after the dissolution of the Communist bloc. As early as 1992, the international community had established preventive peacemaking and peace-building2 operations in Macedonia to monitor the situation and support the new democracy.3 The UN's deployment of troops to Macedonia from 1992 to 1999 played a key role in preventing a spillover of violence from Macedonia's Balkan sisters,4 but the Macedonian government consistently resisted "interference by the UN in sensitive internal matters, especially interethnic relations."5 The UN struggled to stabilize internal ethnic tensions through a "good offices"6 mandate due to the Macedonian government's unwillingness to address the roots of the conflict. The Macedonian government feared that a special UN good offices "delegate would act as a 'colonial governor,' an undesirable prospect for the newly independent and sovereign state. In short, the UN was welcome to 'look out,' but its decision to 'look in' was quite another matter."7

In a large number of post-Cold War conflicts,8 and certainly in the Macedonian conflict, the inability of the international community to effectively "look in" has consistently hampered internal stabilization efforts. The basic question arises: How can the international community effectively intervene while still respecting national sovereignty? This paper presents a case study of post-Communism Macedonia and posits that the seeming paradox between intervention and sovereignty is to some extent illusory. International peacemaking within a country is most successful when guided by a respect for national sovereignty and political independence. Such respect is more likely to facilitate the necessary peacemaking precondition of host country cooperation than is paternalistic intervention. When the international community acts overly paternalistic, it signals, at least in the mind of the "adolescent" nation, its "disrespect" for the nation's sovereignty. Peacemaking facilitated by a UN good offices mandate should center first on understanding the conflicting incentives, goals, and motivations; second, on formulating diplomacy strategies that account for these factors-including perception correction and attitudinal structuring approaches; and third, on actually mediating the conflict. This paper analyzes the Macedonian civil conflict under these premises and uses simple game theory to demonstrate the importance of developing disciplined and informed good offices missions.

Part II provides background on the situation in Macedonia prior to the 2001 hostilities and delineates the UN's efforts to stabilize internal strife in the country through a good offices mandate. Part III investigates the pertinent events of the 2001 ethnic Albanian uprising and describes the events that ultimately catalyzed negotiations over ethnic Albanian grievances and led to the Ohrid peace agreement. Part IV contrasts the mediation efforts of the Ohrid envoys with the prior efforts of the UN's good offices mission by using game theory to highlight failures and successes of the mediation efforts. It particularly advances the continuing development of comprehensive good offices strategies that will make mediation efforts more effective in resolving internal disputes. Part V provides a brief conclusion.


A. Preface to Independence

A detailed examination of the Macedonian region's history of unremitting external domination impedes the timely development of this paper's thesis. …

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