Bosnia and Herzegovina Publications
November 1997 - An external military presence will be required in Bosnia after June 1998. This will remain the case for perhaps 15 years to come. However, over those years ahead, to make progress and to achieve eventual success, a more creative and proactive approach is required. This entails understanding WhatFOR? and recasting the nature of outside military involvement. Although Bosnia will need international military engagement, over time partnership should replace external implementation.
October 2008 - Inside the UN-run airport in besieged Sarajevo hung a makeshift sign: Maybe Airlines. Along the edges of the sign, aid workers, journalists, and diplomats had posted stickers—CNN, ITN, CBS, RTL, MSF, VOX, UNICEF, the French flag, the Canadian flag, the Swedish flag and so on. Above the sign was a piece of plywood with the word destinations hand-written at the top, with a changeable placard below (the placard choices included New York, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Zagreb, Paris and Heaven). Maybe Airlines was the nickname given to the unreliable UN flights in and out of wartime Sarajevo—the longest airlift ever attempted and the centerpiece of the international humanitarian response to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Meanwhile, underneath the airport tarmac ran a narrow and damp 800-meter-long tunnel that bypassed both UN controls and the siege lines. Protected from Serb shelling and sniper fire, thousands of people and tons of food, arms and other supplies moved through the underground passageway every day (which the UN pretended did not exist), providing both a vital lifeline for the city and an enormous opportunity for black market profiteering. While the UN airlift was part of the highly visible front-stage of the siege, the tunnel was part of the much less visible but equally important backstage action. Together, they helped Sarajevo survive for more than three-and-a-half years, setting a siege longevity record.
November 2005 - Mostar was the most heavily damaged city of the 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia. Ninety percent of its center was damaged and a third of its buildings were completely destroyed. Thousands were killed and tens of thousands were displaced from their homes and from the city, while tens of thousands of others moved to Mostar. This physical and demographic change clearly affected the city's postwar climate. However, the war's most notorious legacy in Mostar is the city's political and psychological division into Croat and Muslim sides.
June 2000 - Shortly after the referendum on independence in the spring of 1992, war exploded in Bosnia- Herzegovina (BiH) and ended only when the Dayton Peace Accords were agreed to in November 1995 and formally signed in December 1995. Expected to bring peace and stability to the area, many critics today are declaring Dayton a failure. Yet, to conclude that the Dayton Peace Accords are a failure after less than five years of implementation is premature.
March 17, 2003 Debate and confusion have emerged over the possible duration and costs in terms of manpower, military expenditure and development of the impending war in Iraq and the subsequent nation-building exercise envisaged by the administration. A look at the U.S. and allied experience in the ongoing nation-building efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo would help to put the costs and challenges of Iraq into realistic and sobering perspective.
January 2007 - When Serbian artillery began pounding Sarajevo in spring 1992, Bosnian Muslims struck back by destroying a potent symbol of Serb nationalism: the footprints marking the exact spot Gavrilo Princip stood when he shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The infamous June 28, 1914 assassination aimed to remove Austria-Hungary from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and thus clear the way for a unified Yugoslav (South Slav) state. Yet the consequences were far more than Princip and his co-conspirators had bargained for: this event became the euphemistic "spark that lit the fuse," igniting the First World War. Yugoslavia, with the help of the Great Powers, was indeed born out of that war, and so too was the short, but troubled twentieth century.
Jorge Santayana would be pleased. Nearly every policy proposal on Iraq these days mentions lessons learned from past interventions, such as postwar Germany and Japan, East Timor, Bosnia and Kosovo. In the spirit of Santayana's famous dictum—"those who forget the past are destined to relive it"—analysts have been doggedly culling US state-building experience for lessons learned.
January 1998 - Critics of continued US involvement in Bosnia have described the Dayton peace process as a real-life "mission impossible" that is doomed to fail. More than one of these skeptics has likened plans for reconstructing Bosnia's prewar multiethnic society to putting "Humpty-Dumpty back together again." My own guarded optimism stems largely from a quarter century studying the former Habsburg monarchy, a state which provides numerous models for multiethnic coexistence when there is a reasonably democratic society based on the rule of law. It is also informed by four trips to post-Dayton Bosnia, during which I've seen that Bosnia has more than all the king's horses and all the king's men at work piecing together this shell of a country. Even the seemingly limitless resources of the industrial world may not be enough to make Bosnia whole, but there is little question that the cumulative efforts of the international community and more than 200 governmental and private organizations can accomplish a great deal.
February 2009 - This is an interesting time in Bosnia and Herzegovina; interesting in the sense of the old Chinese curse—may you live in interesting times. Another High Representative has just resigned. The future of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) itself hangs in the balance. Will it close this summer, as many want? Or will it stick around even longer than everyone thought a few years back? I do not have the answers to these questions, but I would like to offer few thoughts on why we are still having this debate 13 years after the war in former Yugoslavia came to an end and why we should perhaps not slam the door on OHR quite so fast.
May 2006 - Ten years after the adoption of the Dayton Accords, the awkward, redundant, expensive and often ineffective institutional structure that resulted from that process is largely still in place today. Careful not to give too much power at the federal level to any one ethnic group, the Dayton Accords divested power from the center to local governing bodies. Among other problems, the nearly powerless central government was not granted authority over crucial state interests—such as defense, taxation and the environment—which are necessary for Bosnia and Herzegovina to accede to the European Union.