Peacekeeping in Bosnia
WILLIAM C. BANKS AND JEFFREY D. STRAUSSMAN
In December 1995 hearings before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense regarding the U.S. commitment to Bosnia, Chairman Ted Stevens stated: “I oppose this deployment, but…it is [not] our prerogative here to debate…with the President…the President has ordered the deployment…we have no way to prevent that.”1 Senator Stevens had come to the view that Congress was powerless to prevent the U.S. commitment of military force to Bosnia, so much so that he seemed to conclude that it was fruitless to debate the wisdom of an operation he opposed. His lament reflects the ongoing evolution of executive/legislative relations in determining and implementing the nation’s national security policy. This relationship faces new challenges in the less familiar terrain of the post-Cold War security environment. As regional conflicts, ethnic strife, and humanitarian emergencies have mushroomed in the 1990s, the United States has provided leadership and resources in these emergent conflict situations. The U.S. commitment to a major peace operation in Bosnia serves to illustrate the evolving complexities of the executive/legislative relationship in national security. This case study attempts to assess the critical aspects of this relationship.
There are two parts of the Peackeeping in Bosnia case study. Part A, through the example of the commitment of U.S. military force to Bosnia, considers the application of the Constitution’s war powers to many contemporary military operations. In particular, Part A provides some of the domestic historical context to Senator Stevens’ opening statement. Part B considers the multilateral aspects of the Bosnia operation, and the effects of the multilateral operation on U.S. involvement.