Crises in the Balkans: Views from the Participants

By Kostas G. Messas; Constantine P. Danopoulos | Go to book overview

Finally, by initially accommodating the Bosnian Serbs and later by punishing them as the sole aggressor, the EU, with the UN and NATO, failed to recognize that taking sides would prolong the civil war, and that the participants in the Bosnian conflict -- namely Croats, Muslims, and Serbs -- share a strong fear of becoming a minority in what may be a hostile environment. Given this fear, an all Bosnian rule by any of the three parties would be unacceptable at least to one of the other two sides. The real aggressor, therefore, would be the party which sought an all Bosnia rule. By taking sides, first by deferring to one party and later by punishing only one for wrongs committed by all, the EU exacerbated the fears of the warring factions, perhaps contributing inadvertently to the civil war.

The Serbs should have been punished only if they were clearly fighting for an all Bosnia rule. Vilifying them for not wanting to be part of a Muslim ruled Bosnia is clearly inconsistent with the ideal approach of recognizing that all sides have legitimate concerns and demands and that no side should be forced to be part of a Bosnia ruled by either of the other two. Regardless of the type of involvement -- either through direct diplomacy, participation in peacekeeping efforts, or military operations through NATO -- the challenge for the EU was how best to avoid taking sides by looking more closely at the demands made by all.

Undoubtedly, the Bosnian imbroglio caught the EU unprepared and exposed its inability to deal with it. At the same time, the Bosnian crisis tested its military independence from the United States. The Union, unable to coerce the warring parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina to end the war -- a war fought in Europe -- took a back seat to a group that could and was eager to do so, the United States. 55 The Bosnian crisis confirmed the limits and strengths of political and military capacities of both the Union and the United States. It was a test between good intentions of the EU and the military muscle of the United States. Washington won and its prize was a leadership role in the searfor Europe's security identity. The Europeans must learn an important lesson: if they want to become self sufficient in defense, they must unite to make it happen. The choice, as many see it, is "between weakness and independence." 56 Independence means Europe shoulders its own defense burden, while weakness means dependence on the uncertain military commitment of the United States.

In order to avoid repetition, the terms "European Union," "EU," "Union," and "Community" will be used interchangeably.


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Crises in the Balkans: Views from the Participants
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments ix
  • 1: Ethnonationalism, Security, and Conflict in the Balkans 1
  • Notes 17
  • 2: Of Shatter Belts and Powder Kegs: A Brief Survey of Yugoslav History 19
  • Notes 41
  • 3: Defeating "Greater Serbia," Building Greater Milosevic 47
  • Notes 70
  • 4: Franjo Tudjman's Croatia and the Balkans 75
  • Notes 89
  • 5: Bosnian Muslim Views of National Security 93
  • Notes 110
  • 6: Montenegro: Beyond the Myth 113
  • Notes 131
  • 7: The Balkan Crisis and the Republic of Macedonia 135
  • Notes 150
  • 8: Greece's Policies in the Post-Cold War Balkans 153
  • Conclusions 165
  • 9: Albanian Nationalism and Prospects for Greater Albania 169
  • Notes 190
  • 10: Bulgaria and the Balkans 195
  • Notes 208
  • 11: Turkey and the Balkans: Searching for Stability1 211
  • Conclusion 220
  • Notes 221
  • 12: Romania and the Balkan Imbroglio 225
  • Notes 237
  • 13: Troubles in the Balkans: The View from Hungary 241
  • Notes 255
  • 14: Moscow and the Yugoslav Secession Crisis 257
  • Notes 271
  • 15: US Policy in the Balkans: From Containment to Strategic Reengagement 275
  • Notes 292
  • 16: France, Germany, and the Yugoslavian Wars 297
  • Notes 309
  • 17: Failure in Former Yugoslavia: Hard Lessons for the European Union 311
  • Notes 324
  • 18: NATO and the Bosnian Quagmire: Reluctant Peacemaker 331
  • Notes 347
  • 19: The United Nations and the Conflict in Former Yugoslavia 351
  • Conclusion 367
  • Notes 368
  • About the Editors and Contributors 371
  • Index 381
  • About the Book 390


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