Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'm not sure I buy this theory as a long-term one.

How would you explain then the United States' deep reticence to recognizing Croatia and Slovenia? The US was at diplomatic loggerheads with the EU and especially Germany on these issues back in 1991. If they wanted disintegration, why wouldn't they have supported recognition back then?

I'm not saying I disagree with your theory, precisely, but I do feel as though the US acted more out of opportunism than long-standing policy.

Why was Baker so adamantly opposed to German recognition in the first place? I would encourage you to look at US military ties with the Yugoslavian Army in the 1980s, and US defense industry ties with Yugoslavia. Milosevic may be a neat parallel for the Saddam Hussein of the 80s. Both intricately linked with American military-industrial base. Ronald Reagan's Dep. Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, had his hand in many Serbian affairs.

I'm still of the opinion that the US scuttled both Vance-Owen and Rambouillet for other reasons. Humpty-dumpty fell off the wall, and the US recognized it and inserted themselves into the fray. You also have to remember that many EU and US liberals had absolutely no love for the Vance-Owen plan. Samantha Powers, a lead voice against the Bosnian genocide, called the plan a treachery, one that rewarded the Serbs and bought them time (of course, she doesn't analyze the plan's remarkable similarity to the Dayton Plan).

Madeleine Albright's behavior can be easily explained as well. She clearly had revenge on her mind, and she was shocked when the Serbs initially agreed to the harsh demands of Rambouillet. Yes, I know that Bondsteel was already in the works, but it would have been actualized even if there had been an agreement a Rambouillet. This is the same woman whose infamous utterances ("Yes, sanctions are worth the death of 500,000 Iraqi children," and then to Colin Powell, "What good is your army if you're afraid to use it?" and finally, "Winter will come early to Kosovo," a few days BEFORE the Racak massacre) prove that she has very little tact and even worse diplomatic skills. Isn't it easily explainable that she was just a fuck-up?

by Upstate NY on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 10:20:42 AM EST
Yes, cockup fits the evidence far better than conspiracy. the US wasn't really interested in the balkan countries, I got the feeling that they felt that as they were ex-Yugoslavian, ie fairly firendly anyway, having them sign up was a shoo-in. They were fixated on wooing Poland, Czechoslovakia (as then) and th Baltic states. This was a distraction they didn't want or need.

The US had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the "peacekeeping" efforts, there was a lot of cross-pond diplomatic effort to bring the US onside at the time.

Also I well remember the dismay at the Vance-Owen plan within W europe; if the US take the blame for de-railing it, then such a move received widespread support. I'm just not convinced they did it deliberately.

As for NATO having free reign, I think that was mere opportunism to see if they could wean newly freed countries into the US sphere of influence. It wasn't intended to force NATO on anyone, simply remove an impediment if the countries wanted to - naively or not that was my reading of it.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 11:20:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Having read some of your other posts on ET, I didn't really expect you wold buy the theory, even though it is clearly presented.

First, I've noticed you take advantage of every opportunity to mention Serb "genocide" in Bosnia. Given your knowledge of ex-Yugoslav events, to the point of providing details of Madeleine Albright's emotinal reactions to specific events at Rambouillet, how is it possible that you are not aware that the International Court of Justice ruled in February 2007 that Serbia did not commit genocide in Bosnia. If you are aware of this ruling, why do you personally persist in calling it genocide ? Are you in posession of some evidence that the the ICJ did not have at the time it made its verdict ?

Regarding your affirmation that war was the result of blunder and not design, I can only repeat what I said in my article. If the world's most powerful state commits blunders of this nature, we all have reason to be gravely concerned. Given the US administration's track record of blunders in the Balkans, I can only urge the Europeans to thank Ms Rice for her efforts in Kosovo and show her the way back to Washington. I am certain that the EU would have much better chances of finding acceptable, peaceful solutions in its own back yard without US "support".

by vladimir on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 11:28:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
75,000 Bosnian Muslims killed. Do you think all of them were involved in fighting?

I do have an expansive definition for genocide. I admit. But I see no harm in that. Just don't slaughter a lot of people and you can avoid the genocide label.

That being said, I don't think Kosovo was a genocide. You see the difference?

I presented my case about the US's interests in the Balkans. You haven't refuted it. So, I guess I can't agree with your final comments. I seriously want to know why the US was not in lockstep with EU countries at the beginning of the Balkan wars.

by Upstate NY on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 11:42:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A number of reasons could explain why the US was not in phase with the EU (Germany) on this one in the 1980s and 90s
> because Germany was charting its own course at the time without prior US "approval"
> because of disagreements about the new perimeters of influence in the region (namely between US and Germany)
> because of disagreement about who would get which ex Yugoslav asset (mines, industry, real estate)

... culminated in public maneuvering which exposed rifts between the US and its European (German) ally.

by vladimir on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:11:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So now Germany and the US have colonized the ex-Yugoslavia? Is this what the EU is about as well? A division of spoils?
by Upstate NY on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:54:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I really wouldn't rule it out. We need a revolution.
by vladimir on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 05:47:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it appears that the ICJ ruled that Serbia had failed to prevent genocide in Bosnia, and that Serb forces had committed "acts of genocide".
Because the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a consequence of instability in the wider region of the former Yugoslavia, and due to the involvement of neighboring countries Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro, there was long-standing debate as to whether the conflict was a civil war or a war of aggression. Most Bosniaks and many Croats claimed that the war was a war of Serbian and Croatian aggression, while Serbs often considered it a civil war. A trial took place before the International Court of Justice, following a 1993 suit by Bosnia and Herzegovina against Serbia and Montenegro alleging genocide (see Bosnian genocide case at the International Court of Justice). The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling of 26 February 2007 effectively determined the war's nature to be international, thus exonerating Serbia of responsibility for the genocide committed by Serb forces of Republika Srpska. The ICJ concluded, however, that Serbia failed to prevent genocide committed by Serb forces and failed to punish those who carried out the genocide, especially general Ratko Mladić, and bring them to justice.

Despite the evidence of widespread killings, the siege of Sarajevo, mass rapes, ethnic cleansing and torture conducted by different Serb forces which also included JNA (VJ), elsewhere in Bosnia, especially in Prijedor, Banja Luka and Foča, as well as camps and detention centers, the judges ruled that the criteria for genocide with the specific intent (dolus specialis) to destroy Bosnian Muslims were met only in Srebrenica or Eastern Bosnia.[4] The court concluded that the crimes, including mass killings, rapes, detentions, destruction and deportation, committed during the 1992-1995 war, were "acts of genocide" according to the Genocide Convention, but that these acts did not, in themselves, constitute genocide per se.[5] The Court further decided that, following Montenegro's declaration of independence in May 2006, Serbia was the only respondent party in the case, but that "any responsibility for past events involved at the relevant time the composite State of Serbia and Montenegro".[6]

Source: Wikipedia - War in Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Gag Halfrunt on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 03:22:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone can only decide these questions for themselves. The ICJ is a political body just like any other. I would not take their word as gospel.
by Upstate NY on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 03:44:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are aware of course that the idea you offer of the ICJ being a political body like any other casts doubt on any "official" figure produced; Red Cross estimates for Srebrenica,  UN figures for killings in Fallujah, OECD figures for election results in Ukraine... you name it.

Which suits me just fine 'coz in general, I extremely skeptical of what they have to say. :)

by vladimir on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 06:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bad idea to take Wikipedia as a sourc for debate on this one... really.
by vladimir on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the world's most powerful state commits blunders of this nature, we all have reason to be gravely concerned.

Yes, we do.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2007 at 01:30:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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